Update on the iOS4 for my iPhone 3G .. update ..

Well I’ve been using the new iOS (iPhone OS) 4.0 non-beta for a bit now on my iPhone 3G so thought I’d ramble on in my usual way about how it’s going on.

FIrst thing noticed about iOS4, for me at least, is that it often complains about my SIM being removed from the phone, even on the lock screen. So there must be something under the hood that makes it so:

Fine, fine, I won’t put my AT&T 3G sim back in there since I am in Canada, and perhaps I will get myself one of those pay-as-you-go cards from one of the fine networks up here. Surely most people don’t use their iPhone as a glorified iPod Touch, so it’s prolly harmless, a misnomer. Anyway, conspiracy theories aside 😉 .. haha .. no time for that now though, on to using the Phone!

Notably, the interface changed a bit to look more, well, leopard like:

See the bottom icon dock? yeah its different. See the black background? Yeah, that’s right, it’s black. I did select the same “your iPhone is wet” wallpaper as the lock screen, but for whatever reason, I am just not seeing any background here. I resprung into Winterboard and tried some wallpapers and lock screens, yeah they work fine.. but back to defaults with iOS4, huh? no wallpaper? Strange.. Steve Jobs demonstrated the wallpapers on the iPhone 4 but for whatever reason, if you have a 3G like me, you don’t get wallpapers. Humph.

Shrug, ok, that’s fine. I guess I don’t REALLY need wallpaper all the time, though I do like to set my own wallpapers, and geez, even my old Motorola Razr did that.

Enough ranting though, the feature I really enjoy with the new iOS4 update is Categories (oops, uh, or is it called Folders?) Well, whatever they are called, it is a nice and welcome addition. I have organized my apps into different groups, and then put these groups in my icon dock (standard phone fits 4 of them, while a Winterboard dock will hold 5 icons). Here’s screenshots showing what they look like on the icon dock as well when you open one of the groups:
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It’s neat to have them all in folders like that, and you can rename it to whatever you want (once you get used to how it works) — you drag an icon on top of another one and it creates a group. It’s rather counter intuitive to set your own name with the field and (x) checkbox and all there in front of you, but you’ll soon realize how it’s done, and either from the phone or even in iTunes you can organize apps into groups.

Great job, Apple, you did something right here and off to a good start. Categories, that’s the Winterboard app that does essentially the same thing, of course, we’re talking multitasking and making sub-apps and such under the hood with that, but I won’t go into any details over Cydia apps since, well, that 3rd-party app seems depreciated now with iOS4.

Caveats with this? Well you can only put so many icons into each folder. 12 to be exact. So, since I have a LOT of games on my iPhone, I had to make two groups of games to fit them all.. into two groups..

But, ok that’s cool. Also multitasking apps, hmm, I don’t think I can do that with iPhone 3G either, maybe 3G(s) and iPhone 4 users can only do this, though, with Cydia and other 3rd party apps you can multitask with push notifications and the whole works, so I am scratching my head on this one, why again Apple didn’t enable this feature for the iPhone 3G, unless perhaps the reason is to sell more iPhone 4 … LOL … kidding aside, maybe its a CPU or performance or memory thing of some sort, though, I have a 16Gb iPhone so surely there’s enough swap space there to do some virtual RAMdisking or what-not, but I digress..

Speaking of performance, yeah some things I noticed, well, battery life may be down a bit, though I don’t know for sure, somedays it just seems like the battery doesn’t last as long as it used to, while other days it seems to be better. Just my imagination I guess!

Granted if I put Android OS on my phone the battery will supposedly die within 1-3 hours until I figure out how to turn off WiFi and the usual culprits that kill battery life (my iPhone is almost always in Airplane mode, seriously..) and I am not going to pay $199 and a 2 year contract agreement with some telco just so I can get a iPhone 4 and longer battery life.

Also, the apps seems to crash way more often than they used to, I’ve had to reboot the device even a few times. Either the app won’t load and it will pop back into the main screen, or mid-way through playing a good game of Spite & Malice or Solebon, poof it crashes. I was able to play about 40 levels of tilt-snake today (not all in one sitting!) and it didn’t crash, and I am not talking about rogue untested beta apps, I am talking about ones that I got from the App store which have otherwise been rock solid, are now exhibiting slower load times, pauses, crashing.

Another thing, which isn’t Apple’s fault.. Cycorder and some other Cydia (specifically, OS 3.1.x apps) don’t work yet on iOS4. Waiting for Jay/Saurik to update Cycorder, yes, I am sure he is hard at work on other things that iPhone Dev Team people do as well 🙂 The enhanced search app doesn’t work either and there are a whole slew of apps that have some issue or other with the new iOS, though I am sure Apple will never cough up information regarding this or other subtle changes to the firmware, baseband, mobilesubstrate, or what-nots in the inner workings of iPhones..

But before I get on a rant, let’s take a look at the camera and video while we are on the subject.

Well all knowiPhone 3G will do video just fine, but Apple seems to think it doesn’t merit enabling the feature, either that or whatever video recording app comes with iPhone didn’t seem to make it to my device with the 3.1.x or 4.0.x updates,  so, I’ll just guess that unless you have the 3G(S) or 4 model, they won’t let you record video on it using the built-in Apple created apps. Meh, bad.

Moving along, let’s look at still photos on the iPhone with the new iOS app update.. (why?) There is a new feature which is worth mentioning, Apple finally pulled their hedgehog out of their arse long enough to realize every other phone (smart or not) with a cam has a zoom feature of some sort, so, they added it! Yay!

How’s that zoom? Let’s have a look at two screenshots (since I am in a screenshot happy mood) one with no Zoom and one with full Zoom, and you will have to imagine the scale between (which is adjustable with a slide of the finger..) and mind you this is taken in very poor low light so the photos taken are blurry and the screenshots I have from that are even more blurry LOL anyway here goes .. here’s the cam using digital zoom, starting at normal (left image) then zooming all the way in (right image):
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For yuks I took two pictures, which are a bit less blurry than my screenshots… Yeah you try smack the home and the top button at the same time to take a screenshot of your camera in low light and see how good you do hehe… anyway pics:

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So, there were some of the features of the new iPhone OS that I like, yes there are other features added with iOS4, something like a hundred things (again, scratching my head to find what these were without reading the FAQ on the Apple support site, trying to find them randomly on my own is a bit of a easter egg hunt … tee hee … let’s see, what else … well of course I like that you have a unified inbox now, similar to how Mac’s mail program has been on OSX for years, so that’s a plus.

So yes the iOS 4 updates, some are good, some I can’t see with my older device, and I do plan on keeping my iPhone 3G, it works for what I need it for. Yeah it would be great to have an iPhone 4 or newer device (there are several out there with similar hardware features as far as cam and video and network support go, of course, that’s beyond the scope of my rant .. er… blog 😉 and I don’t know what other smartphones out there have the built-in gyroscope thingy like iPhone 4, I would gather it helps with GPS as well makes for interesting app programming, VR and metaverse applications could be sweet with that.. but again I am trying to stay on topic LOL ..

Features touted in iOS4 that you just can’t have without the iPhone 4… as I am finding out, iMovie – not available for iPhone 3G. Two-way voice and cam calling on iPhone calls, not available on iPhone 3G, though Apple says the code will be opensource so maybe Skype or someone else will give me the ability to do WiFi video calling over the older device? I could only hope so.. The ability to shoot and edit HD movies on the phone would be cool. Sure, the tiny cam on the iPhone 3G isn’t HD but you can always upconvert or do some such thing to make it play nice with other software .. wait, does the iPad have iMovie editing? No, that wouldn’t make sense to  give the big flat netbook thing with the lower res screen an iMovie tool LOL.. where’s the logic in that? I just don’t see people wanting to use something the size of a magazine for shooting video and pics, though, small iPhones are great for this, geez, scary thought, now people will be able to do HD telecine LOL .. okay never mind that …

What’s next for my iPhone 3G and it’s journeys? Well reading back over this post, it seems that iOS4 hasn’t really wow’d me like I expected it to, and perhaps has done the contrary indeed, yet I’ve found two useful new features .. 1.) cam zoom, and 2.) categories .. okay really, maybe I am missing something, so I will really try hard to comb through all the features of the phone and see if I can gleam some other killer app wowzers kinda stuff from the new update.

If not, I guess I will go and revert it back to 3.1.2 or even 3.0 since I kept all my old ipsw files on a backup, and will dump and restore it bit by bit if need be!

Yeah, either that or hack the poor thing into a dual-booting handheld Linux box or Android device of some sort, though really that would be more a proof of concept and fun thing to do just to say I’ve done it, more than finding a practical need to do so at this point..

Yes, I tend to like most of the Cydia and pack-in apps that I’ve got on the phone thus far, not really finding a dire need to switch to Android and besides it is more or less beta on this platform, but then I guess so is iOS 4 .. LOL .. but really, the main reason I’d go back to iPhone OS 3.1.x would be to get my video recording, enhanced search, and more stability of existing apps again.. we’ll give it another week and see what happens..

Anyway.. Hope you enjoyed the post.. Comments are welcome 😉 Cheers!

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