iPhone OS 4.0: It has all been done before, but...

os44Within minutes of the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement yesterday the nay sayers were filling Twitter and various blogs with comments like “that feature has been on (insert mobile OS here) for years!” To be fair they are completely correct and it does seem odd that Apple can announce ‘new’ features that have existed in some mobile operating systems for over 5 years.

However, these negative comments mean nothing to iPhone users who use their devices every day because they consider them easier to use and to provide a richer experience than other mobile platforms, and completing the circle with a set of features that the others have makes them even happier with their iPhones.

The fact is that iPhone OS 4.0 includes everything that people like me have been annoyed about for many months. Calendar access is a big one because this should open the door to third party alternatives which brings PIM up to scratch in one fell swoop. Unified email will stop the crazy tapping frenzy that is required to access multiple accounts and the addition of folders brings some much needed organisation to the simple, but annoying icon setup we have to live with at the moment. Wallpapers will be overlooked, but is needed to offer the user the personalisation they expect in any smartphone in 2010.

There are many other additions which will enable developers to further flex their muscles and bring us even more apps that make our lives easier. I have to say that I for one am very pleased with what iPhone OS 4.0 will bring, but that won’t stop me upgrading to the next iPhone if it solves some of the current problems.

I have been away for the past four days and my iPhone 3GS has been used a great deal, but not half as much as I would have liked. For three quarters of that time I had no 3G and for about a quarter of the time no signal at all. Admittedly the signal coverage is not great where I visited, but my BlackBerry Bold 9700 had 3G coverage for three quarters of the time and did not drop the full signal once. This left me having to browse the web using the BlackBerry and to deal with my emails on the same unit. Apple needs to do something about signal strength.

Add to this the charging twice a day regime that I now employ and it starts to get annoying. It does look as though power problems will be resolved in the next iPhone, and I am aware that the iPhone lends itself to more intensive use than other smartphones, but it is a problem for heavy users at the moment. Every person I know with an iPhone complains about this. Apple needs to do something about battery life.

Despite these quibbles, as big as they are, I still use the iPhone a lot and a new model with improved battery, a stronger antenna (GPS as well), hardware keyboard (although I am not so bothered about that any more) and a memory upgrade would offer me a smartphone that does almost everything I need.