Diary of an iPhone Dev: Hands-on with iOS 4 GM

It's hard to say whether or not the speed of the OS has actually changed, but my old 3G does feel a bit slower

It's finally here! After weeks of buggy and crash prone betas, the Gold Master version of Apple's newly renamed mobile Operating System has been seeded to developers. Just from using the GM the past day I can already safely say it is a great bit more stable than even beta 4- which felt largely complete, despite the occasional crash. One minor disappointment is the absence of the iBooks app, though I guess technically it isn't a part of the core OS that needs to be tested by developers, so Apple is leaving that out until the general release.

I've been using the new Mail for sometime now and frankly can't imagine using the old one anymore. Threads are terrific and the unified inbox is great for people like myself who somehow manage to have six e-mail accounts.

There is still no screen-orientation lock for older generation devices. Apple's implementation of this long-requested feature relies on the new multi-tasking UI; still it would have been nice to see a stripped down version of the multi-tasking dock with iPod controls for older hardware.

Now that it's included as an option for mobile Safari, I'm trying out Bing for the first time. It has a nice, clean mobile site that feels at home on the iPhone. While it seems to return similar results to Google, it presents them in a slightly different manner, which I could see some people preferring. One thing I might miss would be embedded image and YouTube results, though I'm sure this omission helps it load slightly faster, and as I mentioned before could be a preferable presentation to some.

It's hard to say whether or not the speed of the OS has actually changed, but my old 3G does feel a bit slower. In previous betas I simply attributed the slowdown to pre-release software. But perhaps despite the lack of multi-tasking or home screen wallpaper, there is actually more going on behind the scenes that is bogging it down. However, a more likely scenario is that Apple officially made my 3G obsolete yesterday which ingeniously flips an internal switch in my brain to perceive my once groundbreaking device as slow and old. It's vicious but it's good business, and something tells me I won't be too worried about it anymore come June 24th .

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Mike Keller

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