eskapism.com - personal website of Stefan Kovachev

iPhone OS 4.0

For almost half an year I have been an iPhone user. This device is so much more than a phone – nowadays there are apps for absolutely everything. As an avid Apple fan I’m opening a new category in my blog, which will handle topics like iPhone, Apple, iPhone OS, iPad etc. This is the opening article for the apple category.

On April 8th Apple revealed the features of the latest iPhone OS installment. To the casual user they were all new, different and cool, but to a group of “hardcore” iPhone users that wanted to squeeze out everything from their phone in terms of functionality and performance they were already available. This group had already jailbroken their devices and had extended their phone with additional functionality. Here I would like to discuss whether the features provided by apple are actually better than that which was already available to jailbroken iPhones. It should be noted that I haven’t tested the new version of the OS myself – everything I know can be seen / read in the hundreds of reviews and tests.

The changes that impact me personally and to which I’m looking forward to are Birthday Calendars, App Folders, Multitasking and Improved E-Mail.

  • Birthday Calendars – I have tried to setup some rational reminder system for birthdays and the way I handled it was to export the birthdays of my Facebook connections as a Google Calendar and import them into my iPhone. This regrettably does not set the appropriate reminders and one must do that by hand. I hope the new calendar type provides that functionality along with some kind of global settings for the new calendar type.
  • App Folders – There is an alternative for jailbroken devices called Categories. It provides the same functionality. The problem with it is that it doesn’t feel native to the OS and its performance is somewhat lacking. The addition of App Folders would solve these issues and provide a perfect way to organize your apps. Thumbs up for Apple!
  • Multitasking - There are a number of solutions handling multitasking. First there is Backgrounder, then ProSwitcher and now the extension that I am using is called Circuitous. They are all pretty good tools but have (again) one major drawback – performance. Apart from that there are some smaller issues like the way they are activated. The Apple take on the subject looks really good and functions faster. The problem that I see is that it uses the Home button and that way you lose access to its quick launch function for phone favourites, ipod or any other app you might have set up.
  • Improved E-Mail – now that is something completely new and it integrates one of my most wanted features – reply threads similar to the ones in GMail. Can’t wait to test it!

Regrettably Apple didn’t add themes or a (better) Homescreen which are two major drawbacks of its device (no, the Homescreen wallpaper does not count). Hopefully they will implement these features in the next version.

The iPhone OS 4.0 did introduce some major features that were wanted by the community, but in my opinion it still lacks some things to justify not jailbraking your device. As a conclusion I would say: Come on Apple – you are almost there!

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