iPhone OS 4 - not for everyone

by Volker Weber

It was bound to happen. So far Apple has done a very good job of keeping its iPhone platform current on legacy hardware. There are three iPhone and three iPod touch generations out there. Within the current OS the differences are minor. Only the iPhone 3GS will encrypt the local storage or record videos, but that's about it.

With OS 4 this will change. You will have three classes of devices:

You can read all the new shiny details at Apple's site. Apple is still making a lot of fuss about multitasking, which works well on all the other platforms. I do believe it is going to work nicely, and I am looking forward to seeing Apple fanboys turning from "who needs that" to "cooooool". Happened with cut&paste before.

A unified inbox is nice for people with more than one device. Better device management is a welcome addition for business use; so is the ability to have more than one Exchange account.

I could not care less for iAd. So far I did not really miss ads on my iPhone, and I believe that most users are not looking forward to them. What else is new? iBooks. Yeah, right. Reading books on the iPhone. Looks like a necessary evil now that Apple sells books to be consumed on the iPad.

And then finally, folders for apps. I can see who needs that. :-)

Bottom line: iPhone OS is maturing nicely. Apple is developing a legacy problem with hardware that won't die. Now bring on the new hardware!


I was wondering how they could implement multitasking, because both iPhone and iPad do not really have much RAM. I read iPad has 200 MB of RAM available to apps, so Apple's way of doing "multitasking" (basically hibernate an app when another one is activated and provide some background services that are easy to handle by the hardware like VoIP, push notifications and music playback) is probably all they could do without the risk of slowing everything down or get out of memory errors.
Should work for most use cases, until they build more powerful hardware.

I had expected a print feature for the iPad. Did not find anything in the reports about that. There are some print apps in the appstore, but a standard would be good. Maybe Apple is too green to print on paper.

Karsten Lehmann, 2010-04-08

I am just glad i will have spell check, seriusly

Mark Hughes, 2010-04-09

So what are those seven background activity classes? VoIP, Music, and the other five?

Anybody has access to the developer docs? And would you be allowed to post the result?

Mariano Kamp, 2010-04-09

A couple thoughts:
-Mail improvements and other Enterprise features are a serious attack on RIM.
-iAds is a huge attack on Google - not one I really wanted as a user (iPhone -> AdPhone? yech), probably one I would love as a developer looking to make money off a free app.
-Wallpaper and Folders - always nice to have more customization and organization.
-Multitasking is Apple's version - measured, responding to all the criticisms (makes Pandora, Skype, etc. real players), but controlled. Wait for the screams from the Android crowd.

What I hoped for but is missing:
-Improved Notification UI. Seriously lacking, especially now that you get local app notifications - you touched on this in a previous piece.
-Multiuser (for iPad) - the iPhone is yours. The iPad (or, I suppose, the iPod Touch) is often the family's, or the school's, etc.

Kevan Emmott, 2010-04-09

Mariano, they are listed here: http://developer.apple.com/technologies/iphone/whats-new.html

-Background audio
-Voice over IP
-Background location
-Push notifications (already have this)
-Local notifications
-Task finishing
-Fast app switching

Kevan Emmott, 2010-04-09

Kevan, I saw those, but I thought those were not all and technically only the first three are background activity categories.

If that's all an App like a NewsReader, a mail client or twitter client still can't run in the background and check/download new content.

Mariano Kamp, 2010-04-09

There is one major bit missing: OTA synchronisation, at least via WiFi...

Sven Richert, 2010-04-09

OTA synchronisation is plagued with issues that I can imagine Apple will want to steer clear of, namely “Preference-itis”: you’d have to have so many prefs to control it (e.g. don’t synchronise movies / tv shows / apps over xx MB in size, etc., etc.) that Apple would be inundated with support calls from users. Bluetooth and wifi synchronisation are nice for a few contacts, calendar entries, all the rest. For music, movies, etc.? Urgh, no.

Ben Poole, 2010-04-09

I am so happy with my iPhone 3G that I don't see myself upgrading anytime soon.

Philipp Sury, 2010-04-10

And here is most of what is needed to answer to my question from above.

It does not seem like iphone os 4 does multitasking like a news reader would need to in order to fetch new articles in the background.

Mariano Kamp, 2010-04-12

The most important bit for many people without direct Exchange Server access:
calendar access for other programs.
This sounds like finally there is a chance to synchronize via 3rd party apps and USB cable or WLAN to Lotus Notes etc.
I hope!

Martin Klocke, 2010-04-13

I've got a beta of OS4 and cant get it working with the latest version of traveler - I'm at the stage where the profile is being installed on the iPhone but there's some daerrordomain error. The same traveler service works on OS3 Has anyone had success with this?

adam lee, 2010-04-29

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe