Tonight the new iOS4 operating system from Apple was finally unleashed for iPhone 3GS, 3G and the third generation iPod Touch. Wallpapers! Folders! Multitasking! Spellcheck! Searching within texts! And much more besides.
Several apps celebrated with new updates. TuneIn Radio was one of the first to integrate the new multitasking protocols (which have to be programmed into each app to take advantage of them), which in this case allows an audio stream to continue playing after going back to the home screen to start another app. Cue gazillions of people screaming at Spotify and Last FM to get a move on with their own new versions. Then the number #1 app in every chart in the universe, Angry Birds, popped up with another new 15 levels for free. Best value 59p I’ve ever spent, methinks. It helps that the game itself is so good, of course, but this generous business model is paying real dividends for the developer, as Angry Birds continues to sell and sell. At this point, it’s pretty much an unstoppable juggernaut – true lightning in a bottle stuff.
The Safari browser and the iPhone’s camera seem to run a bit faster on my 3GS now (though Safari really could do by taking a leaf out of its competitor VanillaSurf’s book, by allowing you to get rid of all screen furniture to enhance the browsing experience), and the new ability to move groups of apps into folders is a nice way to streamline what can become a pretty busy set of home screens. Perhaps the most eye-catching change, though, is a very simple one: the introduction of wallpapers to pretty up your home screen backdrop. I took a picture of the last page of the sleevenotes for Radiohead’s Kid A album, which I’ve always felt is a brilliantly atmospheric landscape, and set it as my background. Nice.
Black marks for ITV’s World Cup app, which, true to the broadcaster’s form, won’t work at all with iOS4. An update is promised soon. Probably when the tournament’s already over, eh? You can always rely on ITV.