The forgotten victims of iOS 4

7 08 2010

For owners of the 3G iPhone and 2nd Generation iPod Touch, it’s been quiet the roller coaster ride. First, back in January, it was announced that along with the 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad, their devices would be supported in the upcoming iOS 4 software update. This was a relative high, since Apple was doing something that no other phone manufacture had done; continuing to support older Generation phones.

The Announcement of iOS 4

Since then, it’s been a downward spiral for users, as it was later announced that features would be omitted from the software update for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Generation users. The biggest being multitasking, which while being disappointing for users, was also understandable since Apple was trading a new feature for user experience and speed. However, alongside this, other features, such as a custom background, were also cut out, leaving users with the same black wallpaper. Surely having another image in place of a plain black background wouldn’t of been too taxing on the processor?

Sacrificing User Experience

Despite this, users duly updated their devices when the new software update rolled round in late June. They downloaded the stripped back version of iOS 4, expecting that the trade off between the range of new features and user experience was worth it. However, the reality was far from this. The update to iOS 4 deteriorated, rather than improved the user experience for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Generation users. All the Apps take longer to load, regardless of whether it’s the settings, camera or Angry Birds. Rather than improve the user experience for users, through the addition of new features while keeping a comparable speed, the update has made the device slower and less responsive. The effects of upgrading to iOS 4 can be clearly demonstrated in the video below, in which two iPhone 3Gs, one loaded with iOS 4 and the other iOS 3.1.3, are compared in speed tests.

Game Centre

To top it off, only iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad users will be able to enjoy Apple’s new social gaming App, Game Centre, since support for older devices has recently been dropped in beta 3 of iOS 4.1.  Not only does this limit the amount of players that’ll be on the service, but it also annoys a solid basis of loyal iPhone/iPod Touch users, since there is little reason why their device can’t run Game Centre. After all, most Apps run on both the iPhone 3G right the way to the iPhone 4.

What now?

For users that are still bitter about Apple pulling support for Game Centre, there are alternatives out there for you. One of the biggest multiplayer services, that existed far before Apple’s Game Centre, is that of Openfeint. You can easily swap scores and view leaderboards with friends and strangers across the globe. Look out for a small ‘leaf icon’ contained within App icons- this shows that the App supports Openfeint. A good example, is Fruit Ninja, a popular fruit slicing game with Openfeint support.

In terms of iOS4, users have three options…

Downgrade- Probably the best option for most users. You lose out on some features that come bundled in iOS4 and more Apps will eventually require the latest version of the iPhone software to run. However, you regain a faster, more responsive system.

Stay with iOS 4- Trading speed and responsiveness for the latest Apps and features. For those who are interested in making iOS4 more bearable, Lifehacker has recently covered tips and tricks that can help speed it up- click here

Jailbreak- Perceived by many as tricky and unethical, boarding on unlegal. Jailbreaking is quite the opposite with a number of tools, such as red snOw and pwnage tool. The process has recently been proven to be legal, although Apple won’t encourage you, and if anything goes wrong, a simple software reset will set things right again. The only problem with jailbreaks is, that user experience, battery life and speed can suffer.

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Time to prepare for iOS 4

18 06 2010

The 21st of June will beckon in the new iteration of Apple’s smartphone operating system, iOS 4. The update brings with it multitasking, folders, Gamescenter and much more- if you’re interested in finding out the key features of the new OS, click here. So, I will be covering how to prepare your device for the upgrade, and if, your precious i Device is eligible for the iOS 4 experience at all.

1) Restore your device- If you have the time, restore your device, by connecting it to iTunes and hitting the restore button. This effectively wipes the system clean, and those who have had a device for awhile, may notice a slight speed increase after the restore.

2) Download the new version of iTunes (version 9.2) from the Apple website here. The new update brings iOS 4 compatibility, improved syncing, and iBooks. You need this version of iTunes to update to the new software.

3) Backup- It is important before you perform any software upgrade to back up all your data, using the built in iTunes facility.

4) Calibrate your battery- Over time the battery indicator on your iDevice will become less accurate. To fix this, fully charge the device, and then fully drain it, in one cycle. This will recalibrate your battery, giving you more accurate read outs.

5) Download- On the day, plug in your device and go on to iTunes, and click, ‘Check for software update.’ The software will then download- enjoy.

Compatibility- Find out if your device is compatible with the new iOS 4 update. Note that this year, the update is FREE for all users- iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. In the past Apple use to charge iPod Touch users a fee to update.

iPad Owners – You will receive the 4 OS upgrade in September. Expect further OS enhancements specifically tailored towards the device.

iPhone 4 Owners – The device will come with the 4 OS already on it- you will have the full experience of iOS 4 at the highest speeds.

iPhone 3GS Owners and third generaton iPod Touch owners (32gb and 64gb from late 2009)– You will receive the full 4.0 experience when released 21st of June

iPhone 3G Owners and second generation iPod Touch owners (late 2008)– You will receive a cut down version of the 4 experience- no multitasking for you

iPhone G1 and G2 and first generation iPod Touch ownersSorry, no upgrade to 4 for you. You are now part of a dwindling few who still have the original devices- if you have one, lets hear about it in the comments.

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