Apple iOS 4

iPhone 4 launch day came and went and Number Four has taken over. Today, as the dust settles, we hope to move away from the hype and take a clear-headed look at what’s new in the iOS4. No, this isn’t a full-featured iPhone 4 review, nor is it intended to introduce you to the OS basics.

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Apple iOS 4

Instead we’ll stick to the new stuff. And Apple promised lots of that: multitasking, homescreen wallpapers, a revamped email app, and more. Here is our brief scoop on all the new stuff and all that’s still missing.

What’s new:

  • Homescreen wallpapers
  • Folder organization of the homescreen icons
  • Multitasking and fast app switching
  • Google/Wikipedia search in Spotlight
  • Bluetooth keyboard pairing support
  • SMS character counter
  • SMS search
  • Email threading
  • Unified Email inbox
  • Email archiving is now available when you setup Gmail
  • Spell checker
  • iPod music player can now create, edit and delete playlists
  • 5x digital zoom in still camera
  • Touch-focus in video capture (for video enabled iPhones)
  • Keyboard layouts span over QWERTY, QWERTZ, and AZERTY
  • Minor icon design facelifts
  • Video call support (only in iPhone 4 and only over Wi-Fi)
  • iBooks e-book and PDF reader

What’s still missing:

  • No Flash support in the web browser
  • No true multitasking for all applications
  • iOS4 for iPhone 3G has limited new feature set
  • Poor performance on iPhone 3G
  • No quick toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 3G
  • No social networking integration
  • No info widgets on lockscreen or homescreen
  • SMS tones are still not customizable
  • No mass mark emails as read
  • No proper file browser or access to the file system
  • No USB mass storage mode
  • No vibration feedback when touching the screen
  • No Bluetooth file transfers to other mobile phones
  • Contacts lack a swipe-to-delete or mass delete feature
  • No SMS/MMS delivery notifications
  • No smart dialing (but Spotlight is a somewhat of a substitute)
  • No DivX or XviD video support and no official third-party application to play that
  • The whole iPhone is too dependent on iTunes – you cannot add the same type of content (video, photos, apps) to the phone from two computers, a regular file management interface would have been much better

With the iPhone it’s never about what the phone can or cannot do. The iOS 4 however seems finally determined to catch up with most of the today’s smartphones. You’re not to expect miracles though – such as a file browser, USB mass storage mode, web Flash support, and other stuff that seems irrelevant to Apple.

Anyway, we’ve tested iOS 4 on both an iPhone 3GS and a 3G. It’s worth noting that a lot of the new features aren’t available on the now discontinued iPhone 3G. Worse yet, the iOS 4 is heartbreakingly slow on the 3G. We somehow feel though that the average iPhone user is way more likely to go straight to Number Four than bother install the latest OS on an older device. Or at least that’s what Apple would prefer.