John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

iPhone OS 4!

When I heard about the improvements in OS 4 it made me want to go back and try the iPhone again. I’ve been on my Android 1.6 HTC G1 for the last 6 months. I’ve not gone back to the iPhone intentionally. The slickness and ease with which the iPhone works makes it addictive and a hard habit to break. The iPhone even on OS3 was and is THE best mobile device to date.

No one does phone upgrades like Apple. Any grandma that can start up iTunes can do it. With Microsoft Windows you are looking at having to reload your phone. Not Apple, it’s like nothing has changed (when everything has!). They even provide the ability to restore your previous version of the OS painlessly. This is another of those areas where Apple has and still does lead the pack! The newer versions of Android support over the air upgrades of the OS and can be even easier than the iPhone but no safety net in case it goes bad, and what if your traveling?

One of the big attractions to OS4 is the multi tasking. Finally background apps. No more of this non sense of mickey mouse (and that is an insult to mickey mouse I must add) push notification services. Ah but as is always the case in the tech world there is a catch. Aps have to be written to take advantage of this new feature. So you are waiting for the apps to catch up. Sigh. One of the first aps out of the gate to support this is Pandora internet radio. A perfect example of why background aps were needed! GPS programs too are jumping aboard. Fring and instant messengers beg for this feature and are upgrading quickly. And it makes a huge difference. But lets be honest this is catch up for Apple. They are doing what every other mobile phone OS has done for years.

Right off the bat I discovered as before that Google has not fixed the push email feature for the iPhone. It still does not work. So you are looking at pull email. Damn I really like how the push email works on my G1. It is almost as good as a blackberry! Google calendar sync works fine (I was previously using Outlook) but they are still missing Google contact sync. I miss this feature. So of course this means a trip back to iTunes to sync your contacts.

Apple still has not changed the sound notifications which is stupid. They still want you to buy or hack sounds into the OS. On my G1 I can make ANY sound file a notification. Now admittedly one error Google made is they did not allow the ability to change sounds for different notifications. A serious mistake.

My two car stereo’s and home stereo iPod docks all still work so that’s great news! But I discovered on OS4 when it is plugged into the iPod cable on my car stereo, in spite of being connected to bluetooth on the phone, it does not work right for incoming calls, they go to the handset. Damn. Additionally I have not been able to get bluetooth streaming music (A2DP) to work except on the VERY first connect. This is a HUGE inconvenience to me and given these two are enough to abandon the iPhone yet again … I’ve spent a lot of hours trying to get this working to no avail. Apple have broken this. It use to work. Even the 4.1 upgrade did not fix it. So I am stuck with no Bluetooth.

Tethering with the iPhone was reasonably well done. The only thing I don’t like is the need to have iTunes running to make it work. This particularly becomes problematic when you want to do switch user and the other use has their own iTunes on a different device. Now on the G1 tethering incldues both a wired and a wireless solution. You can tether over bluetooth as well as act as a WIFI hotspot. This is very slick and something Apple could learn from!

Profiles were invented back in the 1980s, my old Nokia had them. And you could even edit the profiles. Imagine 🙂 Still here we are with iPhone OS4 and STILL no profiles for the phone. Oh you have a sound off button that is quite convenient but what if you want to silence everything but still take calls just in case of an emergency? Come on Apple …

You know sometimes it’s little things that you miss. My G1 has a little LED on it. I can tell by one look at the phone without touching anything if it has a new email, I missed a call or any such thing. On the iPhone … no LED. I missed this.

The onscreen keyboard on the iPhone has always been one of the best. I don’t see much if anything new. I still prefer the beauty of a physical keyboard though I must say.

I am on an iPhone 3Gs and version 4 of the OS runs just fine on it. Fortunately I was on my G1 for a while so if it slowed down I didn’t notice it. There were VERY occasional pregnant pauses with the phone but overall performance was zippy as always.

The browser for the iPhone has always been best in class and continues to be. Apple continue to squabble with Adobe so no flash support. Of course Google snuggled up so on version 2.2 of the OS Flash 10.1 is built in. Blackberry have recently announced there version 6 of the OS now uses webkits browser the same on as in the iPhone and Android. So it’s now across the board. Somehow though, Apple customizations of webkits make it a slicker, smoother experience. Especially on Zoom and pan.

Aps on the iPhone just continue to grow. Not a whole lot to say here. Apple lead the pact in empowering attracting and keeping developers. They have apparently included a try before you buy section which I have not seen. Still no easy way to return an ap after you have bought it, but given most aps (not all) are inexpensive so I guess somehow we have to live with it.

The home screen now includes folders for apps (a welcome improvement for some, a wash for me) and allows you to change the background. Gee thanks Apple, how nice of you. I still miss the ability to add widgets to the home screen. The one I miss the most is the ability to have your calendar on the home screen. This is a HUGE miss. Especially for business users. I wish Apple would wake up.

In summary the iPhone OS4 update is a nice move forward for Apple. Not as far as I would like. Apple still has best in class on screen keyboard, browser, apps, and multimedia experience. They miss the boat for me on not introducing any new form factors, lack of Google push email or calendar sync, no calendar on the desktop and broken bliuetooth. So as of today I am back to my G1.

Apple’s page on the software update

August 8, 2010 - Posted by | iPhone Stuff, Uncategorized


  1. wrt the sounds on the iphone… Apple has an easy way to create custom ringtones from anything in your itunes library (of course!)

    But like everything with Apple there’s a catch: You need GarageBand – which only runs (legally) on an Apple computer.

    I’ve created tons of custom ring tones from music and clips in my iTunes library – it really only takes seconds and they are easy to push back into iTunes.

    I haven’t found a way to easily do this on a PC, but if you have a friend with a Mac, shoot them the MP3 you want to sample for your ringtone, and get them to make you up a RingTone.



    Comment by Don | August 27, 2010 | Reply

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