A lot of iPhone users out there must have already upgraded their iPhone to the latest iOS. The new iPhone OS platform brings close to 100 new features including multitasking, custom wallpaper support and bluetooth keyboard to the iPhone. However, as most users owning an older model of iPhone would realize, several of the iOS 4 features including multitasking and wallpaper customization shall not be available on iPhone 3G.
Steve Jobs has his answers ready. On multitasking, he has explained how this new functionality will degrade battery performance since the old iPhone model is really not built to handle multiple applications at a time. Consequently, the battery may die sooner thus spoiling user experience. But is this assessment true?
Truth be told, the iPhone 3G battery will die only as fast as the iPhone 3GS would. This is because the new multitasking functionality on iOS 4 does not in fact run multiple apps all the time. Instead, as popular iPhone app developer explains, this is only a “sleight of hand“. Hockenberry writes,
“When you double-tap on the home button and start another application, the previous application is “frozen” and put into a state where it’s not running but can be restarted quickly. A part of the freezing process also reduces the amount of memory being used: allowing more applications to fit in freezer.
Most of your apps will be frozen and not using power: only the app on your screen is active. And even with audio, phone or GPS apps that are running in the background, you won’t be using more than one of those at a time (go ahead and try to listen to Pandora and the iPod apps at the same time!)”
As you see, when users “multitask“, all that they are doing is creating a bookmark for active apps that are quickly accessed via the double-tap. This is more or less the same as closing one application and launching another application – but just more convenient. Consequently, this sort of multitasking SHOULD work efficiently on iPhone 3G as much as it works on the 3GS or iPhone 4.
This is not the one feature iPhone 3G users have a problem with. The iOS 4 does not allow users to set customized wallpapers on their iPhone 3G. In response to an email from a user, Steve Jobs writes,
“The icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough.”
If Apple’s bluff in the earlier instance was not apparent, it is very evident in this case. Custom wallpapers for mobile phones is nothing revolutionary – it is as old as the mobile phone itself. It only speaks poorly of the Apple engineers if they were unable to get the icon animations right for the iPhone 3G.
Nobody can reason out why these are not supported though. But speculations can be right many times and in this case, it is just Apple’s greed to get more people upgrade to a newer iPhone. And lack of support to features like multitasking and wallpapers help Apple show iPhone 3G as the proverbial ugly ducklings in a crowd of iPhone users. “Hey, you don’t have a custom wallpaper? Your phone must be really old, then“.
Now, iPhone 3G users – go upgrade your iPhones then.