iPhone 4.0: Cool, With Irksome Details

April 8, 2010

Big preview of iPhone OS 4.0: multitasking, game network, universal mail inbox, ads. The Nexus One was equivalent to last year’s iPhone, now certainly left behind by apps taking advantage of the multitasking / background stuff, and this summer’s iPhone. Also nice that the iPad is included in this (even if it means paying a few bucks).

But some slightly irksome details:

  1. iPhone 3G won’t support multitasking. My 2 year old phone is now semi-obsolete. Was planning on a new iPhone this year, but still slightly annoying.
  2. Definitely sneaky to roll the ad platform in with the 4.0 update. Users rush to download multitasking, they get ads, too.
  3. Developer agreement updated with strong indication that Flash CS5 created apps will be rejected. Ouch, poor Adobe. If true, that’s one big, personal justification for upgrading to CS5 up in smoke.

Annoying details worth noting, yet make not one whit of difference – am still getting YAI (yet another iPhone) come summer.


  1. JC says:

    Two years is an eternity in mobile devices. Android users are lucky to get any upgrades to their OS at all. I think the Droid, so far, is the only previous Android phone that is just now getting upgrades to 2.1. MyTouch users are still using 1.6.

    Windows mobile devices were almost never upgradeable.

    Apple could probably give you multitasking on your 3G, but the experience would suck, and then millions of people would send in support calls complaining that it sucks. Better to cut it off with the phones that can implement the feature well.

    For Apple, it’s about the experience, not the bullet point on the marketing material. That’s why iPhone has a 90% approval rating.

    I don’t see the iAd platform as sneaky. Free apps already have ads, albeit crappy ones from AdMob. The only difference here is that if you choose to click on the ads created from iAd, you won’t be taken out of your app and into Safari. Doesn’t really matter to me, since I avoid apps with ads altogether by paying for full versions, for the most part.

    I think it’s interesting that Apple is getting into the Ad business directly. But from a user standpoint, this change won’t effect me at all. So, good for Apple, good for developers, no worse for users. Sounds like a win to me.

    If Adobe was blindsided with the Flash prohibition, they’re dumber than I thought they were. It couldn’t be clearer that Apple wants anything having anything to do with Flash to be kept as far away from the iPhone as possible. Trying to shoehorn Flash-created apps onto the iPhone was as dumb a strategy as Palm trying to reverse-engineer iTunes compatibility with the Pre.

    When developers use Cocoa Tools in the SDK to create iPhone apps, Apple benefits not only from that app, but from the creation of another developer who now knows Objective-C. That developer is a small walk away from becoming a Mac developer at that point.

    Apple has no interest in keeping Flash developers employed. The sooner Flash dies, the sooner Steve Jobs stops getting asked why iPhone doesn’t support Flash.

    • iPhone 3G: Ultimately you are right about the user experience, the 3G iPhone would likely slow to a crawl or the battery even more challenged.

      Apple + ads: I meant sneaky in the sense that tons of users will be hot to download this 4.0 update, some without any idea that this ad platform is part of the deal.

      The key for me is how intrusive / annoying these ads turn out to be. I’m cool with banner ads or free apps being subsidized, but some annoying things would be pre-roll ads (which I’ve encountered on Tap Tap Revenge 3) or notifications while you’re busy doing something else… but I’d imagine all that is up to the developers who would bear the brunt of the complaints; not Apple. Apple’s just handing out a tool and it’s up to the developers to not get all crazy with the ads.

      CS5: Yeah, Adobe is really stuck here. I can only think the Flash to iPhone thing was an act of desperation on their part to keel Flash relevant in the iPhone world. Personally, now, don’t see much in CS5 worth upgrading for. My short list was: 1) Cocoa 2) Sucks once you get off the upgrade pricing and have to pay full 3) This Flash -> iPhone thing.

      Now that 3 is nuked, really not sure I’ll bother. But I have little sympathy for Adobe because CS4 had so few personally useful features, and it looks to be the same with CS5. One just has to imagine this situation affecting CS5 sales.

  2. Dave says:

    I’m ok with no multitasking on the 3G. My poor 3G is so dog slow as it is now. Sometimes it doesn’t respond well to the “end call” button being pushed, other times I’ll start and quit a program only to hear the startup sound from the app I just started/quit play about 5 seconds later while I’m in the iPhone’s “finder”. Time to upgrade (wife’s 3GS and the iPad have me wanting more speed on my phone).

    Nice thing is that the “obsolete” phone can become a nifty little iPod Touch for one of my kids!

    The Adobe/Apple spat is interesting. Definitely makes you wonder how/if Adobe retaliates in any way.

    • Particularly with the iPad, am realizing how slow this 3G iPhone can be.

      My 3G iPhone will likely become an alarm clock, security camera, or maybe I’ll finally do the jailbreaking thing.

      Adobe has a launch event for CS5 on Monday, and just got a big part of their demo blown out of the water. Someone’s got to be pissed over there. I don’t know how they could possibly retaliate – delay CS5 for Mac, an upgrade they really need to sell a lot of? Halt Flash development for Safari on the Mac (met by shoulder shrugs on the part of Mac users everywhere)…