While iOS4 experience is ho-hum, iPhone4 FaceTime remains intriguing

I recently upgraded my iPhone 3GS to the new iOS4. And after using it for the past 24 hours, I’ve found that it changed only a few things. Sorry Steve Jobs — it isn’t revolutionary! The primary change that I immediately liked is the folders or application organization capability but even that is limiting. The 5 screens of apps on my iPhone have been reduced down to only three. Unfortunately, folders can hold up to 12 applications at a time. With this design, a user doesn’t have to scroll to access more apps but it also means that the 16+ games that my boys play couldn’t fit nicely into their own little container. Granted, I have quite a bit more room to spare at the bottom of each application screen but things aren’t as tight as I wish that they could be.

Second, I learned that Pandora had to be upgraded in order for the “new” multitasking feature to work. As a fan of music, I’ve been using another application called Electric FM which allows me to listen to music in the background (as a stream within Safari) since February 2010. And there have been no freezes as recently reported by some iPhone users! So for me, multitasking really isn’t revolutionary. I guess that a side benefit of introducing this feature will be that some iPhone app developers will get called to upgrade their app and subsequently the iTunes app store will get refreshed.

My last disappointment about iOS4 is that iPhone 3GS owners don’t get to enjoy the new feature called FaceTime, which allows users to conduct video conferencing calls. Granted, marketers can’t really take advantage of this new feature but it is still cool in concept. FaceTime to me is evolutionary — it introduces an set up from a phone call — an untethered (but not to be confused with mobile) video conference for the masses, or so I thought. While my device is missing the rear facing camera, I expected my processor to be good enough to support the demands of this feature. I imagined that when I would engage in a FaceTime based conversation, I would be use only the forward facing camera on my iPhone 3GS which is no major loss. So I’m perplexed by Apple’s decision to not add this feature to my iOS 4 upgraded device. It definitely feels like Apple see me as a second class citizen unless it is a ploy to simply force convince me to buy the new iPhone 4. Really? It has had to come down to this arm twisting contest where I can only use the Knocking Live application?

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