Apple is having a bit of a problem with the iPhone

by Volker Weber


The iPhone 4 is a beautiful device. I don't have one myself, but two of my friends bought one. So I got to play with it for a bit, and I quite like it. Antennagate is less of a problem here, since new iPhone are generally used on the T-Mobile network, which is well developed across Germany. However, Apple is making more mistakes than you would expect:

  1. Breaking the iPhone 3G. iOS 4 just does not run well on this device. Apple recommended an update. People updated. And now the Phone is no longer working as before. Apple won't install iOS4 on the original iPhone, and apart from the 3G radio the specs for this 2G device are basically the same as the 3G. Why would Apple install on the 3G and not the "2G"? This needs to be fixed, if only by a supported downgrade to 3.1.3.
  2. The tale of the white iPhone 4. Apparently it's very hard to make. New rumors on a daily basis, the latest one being that the backlight leaks out. Why not call it off? Would it be such a big deal to only make the "more popular one"?
  3. Not owning up to the antenna problem. The iPhone 4 has an antenna problem? Ah, look over there. No, there is no problem and we are going to fix it with a free case.

#1 is the big issue. Even if the original owner is going to grit his teeth and buy the new iPhone, the old one is not going to go away. It will be passed on, and the new owner will think the iPhone stinks. Up until version 3.1 Apple has done a good job at keeping their ecosystem well greased. With iOS4 and the iPhone 4 things have started to fall apart.


Hey Volker,

dunno if it's caused by 4.0.1 or by restoring via DFU mode (and skipping to restore a backup), but my 3G is *way* faster than after my first attempt (which was in fact like walking in glue/oild/add adhesive stuff of your choice here).
However, even there's no officially supported way to get back to 3.1.3 it is technically possible. Just look for "iRecovery". Worked like a charm on my (not jailbroken) iPhone 3G.


Martin Kautz, 2010-07-29

This is basically, what fragmentation is about. It will be a problem to deal with on every platform, the more mature it gets.

Nokia e.g. did a really bad job there with customizing S60 into many variants (for N, for E, for numbered and so on) and even accelerating fragmentation. They are finally trying to get that back under control with S^3 (one variant for all S^3 devices) and the long-term Qt platform strategy (Qt everywhere, Maemo, Meego, Symbian). They better get it fixed sooner than later.

It will be interesting to see, what Google and Apple will do, to keep this Hydra from showing too many heads. Android is showing massive signs of fragmentation, for Apple it just begins.

Hubert Stettner, 2010-07-29

Hubert, breaking the iPhone 3G is not a fragmentation problem. It would have been safe to leave it on 3.x as Apple did with the "2G".

Volker Weber, 2010-07-29

Martin, I have friends who want to go back to 3.1.3 with their 3GS. There should be a supported way to undo a software upgrade.

Volker Weber, 2010-07-29

I am so disappointed about the way Apple crippled my 3G. Pondering next Phone investment very carefully now.

Stefan Domanske, 2010-07-29

Volker, I think they wanted to try and avoid fragmentation (or decelerate it) and have the biggest possible (active) device base on iOS4 (they are having all of the data about that anyway). So they reached out as far as possible (profitable) into the past.

I do fully agree that they should have either saved the effort to develop and test it on the 3G or 'think different' and also support the 2G.
Personally I think they should have just left 2G/3G on OS3. As you say, 2G to 3G is (technically) closer than 3G to 3GS.

Hubert Stettner, 2010-07-29

I did the upgrade to iOS4 for my iPhone 3G and it is now really really really slow.

The new features like the All Inbox view is nice to have, but when you sometimes can't make phone calls or receive them, it is not far away from being a brick :-(

Pondering too, but kinda tied to AT&T at the moment, and their androids are very limited...

Michael Kobrowski, 2010-07-29

I did a Hard Reset/Factory Restore on my 3G (upgraded to 4.0.1) before giving it to the kids. It works much quicker than when I was using it with iOS4 as my daily phone.

Kevan Emmott, 2010-07-29

Rolling back to 3.1.3 or even 3.1.2 on the 3G is possible, the problem is that the recovery file for 4.x will not sync to the phone which then means you have to either set it up or hope you have a back up from atleast before you upgraded. for those with Timemachine this shouldn't be too much of an issue as you will often have months worth of backups.. it's a pain in the ass but it's entirely possible to downgrade..

Did it myself when I realized how painfully slow the 3G was on 4.0. 4.01 doesn't fix the problem at all.

Bryan McDade, 2010-07-30

100% agree.

Also just sold my (partly broken) 3G for that very same reason and happily returned to a 2G. iOS4x really slowed down everything, even deselecting every option on Spotlight Search as advised somewhere else didn't change anything to the better (had already done that by default because it's also the first thing I do on Nokia/S60 phones, ie stop indexing service of all content).

Anyways. It's Apple - which means they will get away with anything.

Juergen Eichholz, 2010-08-01

Good news: 4.1 fixes the slow 3G.

Martin Kautz, 2010-08-06

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