Last week Apple started taking pre-orders of the iPhone 4 and in case you haven't heard, there were problems. Both Apple and AT&T had server overloads, which caused both sites to go down multiple times throughout the day. Nevertheless all iPhone 4 pre-order quantities sold out to the tune of 600,000+ units. Certainly nothing the sneeze at and considering all the problems people had (including myself), this was AT&T single busiest day. I have a theory on why there were so many more orders this time than there were last year with the 3GS. Actually it's quite simple. It's called a TWO YEAR CONTRACT. I would dare say that a large number of iPhone 4 "upgraders" were either on iPhone 3G's or the original iPhone. Those contracts were up this year (and last), so anyone that bought a 3G two years ago is eligible for the subsidized prices of $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB). Although AT&T gave a little this year by letting anyone whose contract was up this year upgrade now, I still had one iPhone 3GS on my family plan that wasn't eligible to upgrade until February 2011.
Did you pre-order an iPhone 4?
So what's new in iOS 4?
Even if you don't plan on buying a new iPhone 4, if you're on an iPhone 3G or 3GS you can upgrade today (at some point when Apple makes it available via iTunes) to iOS 4. Apple is boasting about the 100 new features/tweaks in iOS 4 and quite honestly there are FIVE that I'm really looking forward to:
1) Folders for Apps
Currently I have the max of 11 pages of Apps on my iPhone 3GS. It's really a pain trying to get to an App that I want to run. I either have to scroll multiple pages or enter the name of it in the search. Folders will help me quite a bit because I'll be able to group Apps that I want to run by categories of my choosing. This will not only help me organize, but it will greatly reduce the number of App screens I need. It will also mean being able to install AND see up to 2,160 Apps! Don't worry, I don't plan to install anywhere near that many, but it's nice to know that I can now.
2) Mail gets a unified InBox
This has been a complaint of mine since the original iPhone in 2007. I have a few email accounts on my iPhone for both work and personal. I have always wanted a single view of all new messages. Now iOS 4's Mail will finally do this! Yay!
iOS 4 will deliver Multitasking (in a limited form) to the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Apple made a compromise to protect battery life and performance by only allowing certain things from 3rd party Apps to run in the background. The good news is that this will be all the multitasking that the vast majority of users need. For example, you'll be able to have audio from Pandora play while you're running other Apps. You'll be able to use a GPS navigation App like Navigon and take an incoming call while still receiving voice prompts (see it in action here) and Apps will be able to update you with a message when a background process is complete like uploading a photo.
4) Only the Calendars I want to See
Just like I have multiple email accounts, I also have multiple calendars on my iPhone. Some of these are shared calendars. Some are work and some are personal. In iPhone OS 3.x it's either all or nothing. You either see ALL of your calendars or none of them. When the iPad shipped I noticed the ability to turn on and off specific calendars so that you can have one unified view of just the calendars you want to see. That same calendar goodness is coming to the iPhone in iOS 4
5) Zoom and Focus
Lastly I'm looking forward to having a native 5x digital Zoom for photos and a tap to focus for Video. Although there are many apps out there on the App store that let you zoom, it will be so nice to have this built-in to the default Camera app.
More iOS 4 Features
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