If you’re an iPhone 3G or 3GS user, you probably have heard about the latest iOS 4 update. So what’s new in this iOS4? We take you through some of the latest enhancements for your iPhone and how to make full use of them.
Mind you, some of these new features are only applicable for iPhone 3GS and those using iPhone 3G will be missing out on features such as multitasking, home screen wallpaper and lock orientation.
Let’s go straight to the new features as tested on our iPhone 3GS 16GB.
1. UI update
What you’ll see first is the fresh new look while maintaining the familiar iPhone/iPod interface. The “dock” at the bottom is updated with what appears to be icons “sitting” on glass.
2. Wallpaper (Lock/Home screen)
More personalisation can be done now with the option of setting your own wallpaper for lock and home screen. You can choose from pre-installed wallpaper or photos on your iPhone. Not really a feature that we wanted previously but we’re liking the customisation. No more dull home screens.
The iPhone was used to be laughed at for the lacking of multi-tasking as even a cheap phone running on Symbian S40 could do that. With the new update, all of that will change.
Now you can run multiple apps and toggle between them by simple double tapping. To see other apps that’s running, just swipe to the right. To kill an app, press and hold an icon like how you would normally to do move icons. When all the icons start to jiggle, tap on the no entry icon at the corner to kill the task.
Note that not all apps support multi-tasking at the moment, but by default all apps that are open are automatically added to the multi-tasking dock which can be very messy. Apple could have allow supported multi-tasking only instead of all apps. After a day of running, you could end up with many apps in the background unnecessary which may take up substantial battery life.
Speaking of killing, Apple should have given an option to kill current active app immediately when it is no longer required. On the multi-tasking dock, a “Kill All Apps” function would be nice as well.
Anyway, it is a good step for apple to allow multitasking but hopefully they can refine the usability in future.
4. Dedicated music bar, locks orientation
When the multitasking dock is toggled, you’ll find audio controls for current audio app when you swipe to the left. By default this is iPod but if you run other audio apps such as pandora, the controls will change to the current app.
Another new feature on the same bar is potrait lock orientation. Most iphone users were having problems reading on the iPhone in bed. Now your iPhone can stay on the “right way” when you’re not.
5. Unified Inbox
For those who checks multiple mailbox is gonna like this. New on iOS4 is unified inbox where you can view all your mails from various providers under one folder. This keeps you up to date with your emails under one roof. Of course if you prefer individual mailbox, you still can do so.
6. Folder Organizer
Now you can group your app icons into folders by simply moving it on top of another icon. By default, the folder name is given after the category of the app but you can change that yourself. You can group up to 12 apps in a folder which is more than sufficient.
With organizer, you can keep your frequently used apps closer together on less home screen pages. Good feature for those who have heaps of apps installe Folders even works on the dock as well so you can put more than just 4 apps on the dock now. Now you can have more “shortcuts” accessible via the dock.
7. Camera Improvement
The camera feature also has several updates as well. You can now zoom up to 5x digitally but tapping on the screen and drag the zoom scroller on the right. Another cool update is the ability to tap focus on objects while a video is being recorded. Previously the focus is locked after the recording is started.
While playing around with cameras, we do feel that the camera’s shutter is quicker than before. We’ve confirmed this with other iOS4 users and they do share the same responsiveness as well. Perfect to capture that precious shot when you are in a hurry.
On the photo gallery, there’s a new “Places” tab where it takes all your photos with geo-tagging information and plot them on the map. So it is now easier to view photos based on locations especially vacation pics.
8. Email photo resize
Now whenever you email a photo, you will be given photo resizing options upon sending. Now you can choose from Small, Medium, Large or Original size to send to your sender. Perfect especially when you want to send photos with different needs. This however only works at certain sizes. For smaller photos like iPhone screen capture, it will send the actual size without asking.
9. Spell Check enhancement
Typo handling has been updated as well. For some words that the iOS4 is not certain, it will underline without changing them. By tapping the underline red text, you will give an option to change. However some words are still changed automatically like “thsi” or “elephatn” where the mistake involves misplacements of minimal characters.
10. Search improvements
Search is also expanded and now you can even search into the contents of your SMS and MMS. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your phone, you can extend your search to the web or to Wikipedia.
11. Enhanced Location Service
There are changes for GPS / Location Based service apps too. Now you can set individual permission for each location based service apps. Now there’s even a indicator at the top if Location service is in use.
12. Off Cellular Data (3G Data) completely
Prepaid users and data misers rejoice! Now there’s a way to turn off mobile 3G data completely. This saves you from hefty data charges when you want your iPhone to use only WiFi for internet connection. Now you won’t need to perform the APN hack to disable this.
Overall we love the new features on the iOS4 especially the use of folders and the ability to lock orientation. Unified inbox helps us to get to know all of your latest mails in a single place. There are other new features not mentioned here as well, namely iBook support & iBookstore as well as the ability to add or edit existing music playlist. Do you know of any iOS4 feature not listed here? Drop us a comment!