Somewhat overlooked in last week’s iPhone 4 pandemonium is the updated operating system for iPhones called “iOS 4”. It’s available as a free download for existing iPhone and iPod Touch users. (Sorry, it is not available yet for the iPad.) I put it onto my iPhone 3GS and it’s working fine.
Here’s what you’ll get when you install iOS 4 onto your existing iPhone: (note: iPhone 4 owners can skip this– the iPhone 4 comes with iOS pre-installed.)
- Multitasking: in effect, it lets you suspend an app, and come back to it later, just as you left it– saving you the time it takes to launch it and get to where you were.
- Folders: you can group apps into folders now. Each folder can hold 12 items. I have two and a half pages of folders, grouped just the way I like them (Navigation, Utilities, Reference, Shopping, Sports, etc.)
- Improved Mail: you can see all of your Inboxes at once.
- Digital Zoom for the camera: like the one in Gorillacam, but now built-in.
- iBooks: you can now buy books from Apple’s store, and read them on your iPhone or on your iPad. Note: free Winnie the Pooh book is included and the books have the same groovy page-turning animations as on the iPad.
It took about an hour for me to do the update on my iPhone 3GS and I would expect it to take about the same for you. If you have an original iPhone (aluminum back), you’re out of luck– it won’t install at all, so don’t try. If you have a 3GS it’s a no-brainer– go get it, it’s free.