I’ve been sporting iPhone OS 4 iOS4 several weeks now. And, as I said when first announced, the addition of folders and background tasks pretty much makes the iPhone experience feature complete. Oh, I still demand an improved alerts system and home screen widgets (as seen on Android) would be nice, but there’s no more gaping hole that need to be filled. Supposedly the update brings 1500 new features… but your number is dependent upon hardware platform. For example, it turns out iPhone 3G owners won’t be treated to custom wallpaper. And, of course, only iPhone 4 hardware is capable of FaceTime video conferencing.
The top new feature of iOS 4 has to be background tasks. The iPhone doesn’t mutlitask in the traditional sense, but Apple’s SDK hooks allow specific, supported background functions. And the one I care most about is the ability to stream music while checking email, browsing the web, or jogging with RunKeeper. While the general populace will have to wait a bit longer, I’ve been jamming to a pre-release Slacker build (v2.1.4) while doing all of the above. Priceless!
There’s not much to say here (other than “about frickin’ time”). I went from over a dozen screens of apps to just two. Creating and managing folders is a snap. Although those miniaturized icons are near useless visual representations. Then again, perhaps a retina display and glasses would allow me to appreciate them.
Not only does iOS 4 bring Bluetooth keyboard capabilities to the iPhone platform, it does so in a silky smooth fashion. In my brief testing, I was astonished by how flawlessly wireless keyboarding responds. No lag, no missed keystrokes, immediate entry. And I’ve started to imagine an iPad-less iOS blogging platform. At the very least, I should be able to efficiently crank out drafts just about anywhere without having my laptop present. (Which makes the EVO, with humongo screen, all the more maddening. Where are the native BT HID drivers?)
While many have mentioned the iPhone camera’s new digital zoom (of dubious value), I’ve got a possibly more significant observation. That I’m willing to acknowledge may merely be psychological. Having said that, it sure feels like the camera snaps pictures much quicker. And I’m anxiously awaiting related reviews of the new 5 megapixel shooter found in the iPhone 4 – as its performance is among my primary purchasing criteria.
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