Apple iOS 4
Issue: 8.5 (July/August 2010)
Author: Dave Mancuso
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Article Length (in bytes): 3,910
Starting Page Number: 17
RBD Number: 8504
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IN BRIEF Product Apple iOS 4 Manufacturer Apple, Inc. Price Free upgrade to iPhone and iPod Touch owners (some older models excluded) Contact Info http://www.apple.com/iphone Pros Free to iPod owners; speed; well designed interface and transitions Cons No documentation or support site; slightly non-intuitive method to form initial folders; not all features compatible with all models Rating (1.0-5.0): 4.3
In all the hoopla about the iPhone 4, the new iPhone OS has been given short shrift. The OS will also run on the iPad, iPod Touch, and possibly other future Apple devices, so it's been dubbed iOS 4. It's an upgrade for most iPhone and iPod Touch users, and it ostensibly gives speed improvements as well as interface improvements. Most importantly, it's free. A few days after it was released, I downloaded it for testing.
The download and upgrade went smoothly. Being fearless (or foolhardy), I just upgraded my iPhone 3GS in place instead of restoring from my backup. Everything was still there and seemed to work after iOS 4 was installed. Some applications required me to re-enter my usernames and/or passwords, a minor annoyance, but certainly understandable.
The first thing I noticed was the wallpaper. Not to be superficial, but it was nice to set the home screen background to my choice of wallpaper. The right choice gives the phone's screen more or a three dimensional depth, which can make it easier on the eyes to use the phone in low (or bright) light conditions.
Some artwork and interface elements are new, like the new Calculator icon or buttons and screens in some applications. It's reminiscent of the change from Mac OS 10.2 (Leopard) to 10.3 (Panther), where the 3D "lickable" interface gave way to a flatter, more refined look. It's subtle though (I still can't quite figure out what changed in the End button on a phone call, although I'm sure it'll be obvious to some).
Mail sports the most obvious changes. I don't use Exchange servers right now, but having multiple Exchange accounts is a huge deal for my enterprise friends. For myself, the multiple mail Inbox and Account listings seemed redundant. It took some time to get used to. I was also sure that I'd never use the universal "All Inboxes" feature. I was wrong. Several days later, I use it all the time (albeit mostly to clear out unwanted sales and other email). Threaded email works well, although it's a feature that should have been included long ago in mobile Mail.
Folders is the other major welcome addition. I couldn't remember how to create a folder at first. Once I remembered to drag an application icon on top of another one to create a folder, it was easy. It still seems non-intuitive, though. It's nice the way that your new folder is named for the category of application, which helped in getting apps organized. Of course, now I have a screen of folders instead of apps. Regardless, it's a very welcome addition, and a very well done feature.
There are a number of other features in iOS 4 that are worth exploring, but the features discussed above are the main reasons to upgrade. It's also worth noting that Apple now offers the upgrade to iPod Touch users for free. There's no reason to wait; upgrading to iOS 4 is well worth it.
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