Now that some of the smoke has cleared about the iPhone 4.0 unveiling, we thought it would be fun to gauge the reaction of the IntoMobile team. Some felt it was a much-needed boost with potentially game-changing elements, while others were less than impressed by Apple’s “magic.” Read on after the jump and weigh in on the comments.
Editor-in-chief Will Park:
Apple is all about playing catch-up with the latest smartphone features for their iPhone OS. But, the one thing you can always count on is that Apple will bring those features to market with incredibly polished UI’s that are both easy on the eyes and easy to use. It took Apple years to bring cut-and-paste to the iPhone OS, but when they did, it was unarguably the best smartphone cut-and-paste UI available at the time. Now, Apple is doing the same with multitasking and mobile ads. The iPhone 4.0 OS’s multitasking paradigm is simple yet robust enough to allow you to get your productivity on. The integration of iAd into the OS will redefine the way mobile ads are displayed and integrated into mobile apps. And, with the new homescreen folder feature and support for Bluetooth keyboards, the iPhone will become an even better productivity tool. Too bad we have until Fall for iPhone 4.0 for our iPad.
The multitasking isn’t really multitasking, it’s just improved task switching, and while many will point that out and say it’s not like Symbian or webOS … who the hell cares? Really, on a desktop multitasking makes sense since you’re staring at a 15-inch screen. When you’re holding something that fits into your hand, you can’t really multitask that well. I used to think multitasking was brilliant, after all I was a Symbian user for a long time, but I’ve had a Google Nexus One for a little over a month now, and I really don’t miss multitasking at all. If applications launch fast enough, and save their state, then it’s fine.
Folders was boring, and in fact makes the iPhone look even less elegant than it already does. This summer the iPhone is going to turn 3 years old, and that same grid of icons is starting to look sad. I was hoping for something really wow, and kick-ass, like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, but I’ve been let down.
Surprisingly, the most interesting thing was iAd. This is the first advertising platform that I’ve seen baked into an operating system. Ads will now have access to your location, and hardware features in your device such as the accelerometer. I hate ads, only because they’re never, ever, relevant to my interests, but iAd may makes me curious as to where mobile advertising is heading.
Does iPhone OS 4.0 make me want to buy an iPhone? Nope. Here’s hoping that the next iPhone, due to be announced in less than 3 months, packs a punch.
Today’s iPhone OS 4.0 event left me feeling quite satisfied at what’s to come this summer. Multitasking, or app switching as some would call it, is something that was very much needed on the iPhone and I’m happy Apple was finally able to deliver on something that was sorely needed.
Folders was another item that I was happy to hear announced as I and many iPhone gamers probably have a ton of apps littering their iPhone screens. Although I’ll probably have multiple folders littering my iPhone screens as I tend to over-organize things (Adventure Games, Action Games, Role-Playing Games, etc.)
The real biggie for me was Game Center. This was an announcement I honestly didn’t see coming and is one that I am very curious about. Between Crystal, Plus+, OpenFeint, and other independent social game networks, things were getting a bit messy as I had to add my friends across a number of different platforms. Also, will Game Center be a free service or will Apple charge a subscription fee in order to use it? What will the achievements be like? How easy will the matchmaking system be? Only time will tell.
So, to be honest, I didn’t watch any live streams during the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement – there’s no way my stomach could handle the word “magical” one more time.
However, looking at some of the aftermath, there’s some stuff that certainly merits at least an appreciative shrug. Multitasking was the smallest deal for me, since it’s just Apple catching up to what a smartphone should already do; they really don’t deserve any applause for that, and ditto for folders. iAd doesn’t really do much for me either, but it is insult to injury after Google lost the AdMob deal. I’d really like to get a closer look at their plans for management tools for enterprise and see how it stacks up against the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. I’m sure it would be a laughable comparison, but multiple Exchange accounts and VPN are going to win the hearts of many an executive.
The biggest and most impressive announcement as far as I’m concerned is the Game Center, which will set the gold standard for the Xbox Live equivalent for mobile games. Achievements, friends, and games wherever you are is a pretty sweet combination. Almost makes me want an iPhone. Almost.
The gap between the iPhone and its competitors have quickly closed over the last few years but Apple proved it has a few tricks up its sleeve. The willingness to cut iPhone and iPhone 3G customers out isn’t that bad (they’ve received at least two major OS updates already) and it creates a better baseline hardware for developers to work on. Multitasking is sorely needed, but I want to see how the “intelligent” resource management will work in real life and how it will impact battery life.
The iAd platform is quite intriguing because it could have a major impact on Apple, the mobile ad industry and consumers. Mobile ads suck – it’s just a boring banner-ad thrown in at the top or bottom – but an OS-wide platform could create compelling content. Everyone says no one likes ads, but I seek out movie trailers online, and those are ads. It’s simply framing them with relevance and context. Apple’s going to be serving the ads directly and taking a 40% cut. When you consider how much the App Store is taking off, this could become a sizable revenue stream over the next few years.
The other stuff – iBooks, Game Center, etc. – don’t really get my rocks off but this update has removed my major qualms with the platform. If they show off some monster iPhone HD in a few months, I’d have no problem ditching my Droid.
How say you, reader? Are you filled with glee, disappointed, or just don’t care? Let us know in the comments are by hitting us up on Twitter @IntoMobile.