iPhone’s OS4 Features & How it’s Better than OS3
What’s New & Why It’s Better
Apple’s announcement of a new operating system for the iPhone and iPod Touch was clearly motivated by the popularity of Android phones like Motorola’s Droid and the Nexus One. There are features that consumers have complained about for years. When the Android phones fulfilled the customer’s desires, it was time that Apple stepped up too. Some of the new features announced yesterday are: A 5x digital zoom- (WooHoo!) now you can see that Otter in the river, or get a decent shot of the guitarist on stage; tap focus in video (Yay!) now you can be sure your child is in focus when you video his soccer game; and bluetooth keyboards, now you can connect wirelessly to a keyboard and not have to use that fickle touchscreen to write emails or wordpress posts. (Now, why do I need a computer?)
Steve Jobs presented 7 “tentpoles” that are improvements in iPhone’s OS 4.
Here’s the list of features and how they compare to the current iPhone experience (using OS3):
1. Multitasking- As I mentioned yesterday, multitasking lets you switch between applications. Right now, let’s say I am happily playing an action game app like Tap Tap Revenge and I get a text notification. Julie’s late and I need to text her back. I have to leave my game, go to the text app, text Julie, and then go back to my game. But when I get back to my game, I have to start the session all over again. Multitasking allows you to pause games when you go to another task. You can play music in the background while you are writing on your WordPress app. And to make it easier to switch between apps, the new multitasking feature will include an app dock at the bottom of the screen where you can quickly scroll through the icons of the apps you have open and switch to another application. Quickly pop back and forth between answering emails or texts and your game or other app. Just like your home computer’s dock bar.
Like I said, you can play music in the background. That was possible with your iTunes music in OS3 (with some applications). With OS4, you will be able to play music from Pandora. When your phone locks, you will be able to still control your Pandora music from the “lock screen,” playing, pausing or skipping to the next/previous song (currently you can do that with iTunes only).
2. Folder – Another copycat of a feature already on the Android system, you can create folders and click on them to bring up groups of apps. This one makes me happy. Right now, the iPhone has 11 screens to display apps. I’ve discovered that you can have more apps than that on your phone, but since there are only 11 pages you can’t see them on a page. You can only access the extra apps by searching for them by name. By grouping apps into folders, you can get to more apps and have less pages to search through. Right now I put all my similar apps on a page (a process that can take hours as I shuffle around the icons). I have a page for photos, a page for travel apps, a page for health & fitness, a page for movies and TV, a page for music apps, and still I have more apps in some categories than fits on a page. With folders, I can add a new app to its category folder–when I get a new app for nutrition and recipes, I can drop it into my health and fitness folder–without having to shuffle icons around. Plus, instead of having two pages of travel apps, I can click on the folder and know that’s where to find everything I need when I travel. Yay.
Enhanced Mail - your iPhone email inbox will act more like your computer inbox and you can open attachments with iPhone apps. If you have more than one email address, (like one for personal and one for business), all the incoming mail will show up in one inbox. Right now, if you have more than one email account, you have to choose which inbox you want to view, then go back to the email accounts page to switch and see emails in another account. I kind of like them separated, but others are enthusiastic about this. Opening attachments? Finally! It’s useless to have email when you can’t see the report your co-worker just sent you.
iBooks – you will be able to read the iBooks you buy for your iPad on your iPhone and vice versa. Hey, I have Kindle for iPhone. It’s too small to read with a few exceptions so while it’s nice to be able to take your books with you everywhere, it’s doubtful that I would spend much time reading a book on such a small screen.
Better data protection – That’s nice…
Online Game Center - iPhone has 50,000 games (more than Nintendo DS or Sony PSP), and now you will be able to play games online against other players like you do on an Xbox. That’s cool if you are into those kinds of things, or you are starting to feel lonely while playing a game in the waiting room.
iAds- How can the inexpensive apps stay just .99 or 1.99? There have been rumbles from app developers/designers that they can’t earn enough from an app. Apple wants to appease their developers (and earn more bucks for themselves). Typically, iPhone users haven’t been clicking on in-application ads because they have to go back and restart the app after checking out the ad online. With OS4, you click on the ad that takes you to a mobile web page or another little sub app. Apple showed a Toy Story app where you can get wallpaper pictures, buy tickets to the movie, or see a map showing the theaters where the movie is playing. Benefits for everyone. Users can get tickets easily. App developers can make money. And…Apple is offering this service at a 60/40 revenue split. Can never fault Apple for not knowing how to make money.
As an iPhone owner, I’m happy to know that I can stop listening to my Android friends brag about the features they have that make their lives easier. For those who are interested in getting an iPhone, they’ve eliminated many of the reasons for you to choose an Android phone. Still, the Droid does have a keyboard option and a camera flash.