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iOS 4, the guide to news for those with iPhone 3G

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Do you have an iPhone 3G? Do you want to download iOS 4? You can do it but you will obviously not have everything that anyone who buys an iPhone 4 will have, but also not everything that those who bought an iPhone 3GS have, but the reasons for updating are not lacking.

First of all, the impression obtained from the use of a substantially unchanged speed compared to version 3.1. iOS 4 does not go faster but neither slower and this could also be good news given that we are faced with a rather fatigued hardware that must test itself with a fairly demanding operating system.

Apple had promised a faster synchronization with iTunes but we must say that the first impression, not timed, that changes quite little compared to iPhone Os 3.2. The actual backup is probably faster but the session opening and closing procedures seem slower; result zeroed advantage.

What seemed faster to transfer songs and podcasts, notoriously very lazy to switch from iTunes to iPhone and certainly much slower than it is on an iPod nano. Perhaps the speed is not now that of the player, but to transfer a file of a few tens of megs the time is not measured in tens of seconds but in seconds.

As far as the basic functions are concerned, as is well known, multitasking is missing. You cannot manage multiple applications at the same time and consequently you do not even have the widget available for the music that is obtained by sliding the switcher of the running applications. On the other hand, the configuration of the double click on the home button remains available, which on the 3GS is now reserved for the recall of the switcher.

If the lack of multitasking due to the reduced processor performance (at least this is what Apple says), the reason why you cannot customize the desktop background remains not too understandable. Since there are hacks out there (on jailbroken iPhones) that do the same thing even on the iPhone Edge and since it does not seem that a background is able to affect performance, we can probably talk about a marketing choice. On the other hand, if Apple applied the reflex effect on the dock (which remains 4 icons) it could probably also have put the desktop on iOS for iPhone 3G. Same thing goes for the support of Bluetooth keyboards: we do not believe that communication with the external keyboard can affect the consumption and performance of the models left out of this feature.

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What there is, however, management in folders. Actually speaking of folders for the function that we find in iOS 4 a little misleading; we should mostly speak of "collections" of applications (up to 12 in each group) that are automatically named using a definition chosen by Apple. For example: utilities, navigation, games, leisure, etc. etc.

The name can be changed and the "collections" vary as you prefer, by dragging the icons inside or out.

To start a folder, simply drag one icon over another (after activating the option to change the arrangement of icons by holding down one.

Folder management also supported by iTunes in the section where applications can be ordered (note that a checkbox also appeared here that allows us to choose whether to update iPhone or not with new downloaded applications). Folders can also be placed in the dock.

The Photos application, as in the case of iPhone 3GS, now able to read GPS positions and project them on a Google map; now we also have the possibility to view the album horizontally; when we try to send a photo via email the system asks us if we want to reduce the size to small, medium or large, or keep the real size. Useful if you have a cellular network connection or do not want to waste too much time for sending. Thanks to the synchronization with iPhoto (only on Mac) the Faces section will also appear with the transfer of images for the faces you have selected and with the list of the others that appear in the same photos.

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<p>In iOS 4 notes can be synchronized; to activate this function it is necessary to enter the mail accounts in general controls and enable synchronization on MobileMe or Gmail. At that point, from the "Notes" application you will have an "Account" button, selecting which you can choose which notes to synchronize "over the air". Always in general settings (in the Mail contacts and calendars section) at the bottom we will find the default account for the synchronization of the notes.</p>
<p>Among other news that we have noticed and that are worthy of mention</p>
<p>– Safari gains in the options the possibility of having searches on Bing and Yahoo</p>
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– You can easily select (from general -> Home button -> Spotlight search) on which parts of the iPhone content Spotlight searches can be applied

– Spotlight also does direct searches on Wikipedia and the Internet by calling up Safari

In short, as mentioned in the opening from iOs 4 there are many news also for iPhone 3G users even if the most interested function, multitasking, is missing. During our tests we have not even had too many update problems (except for some phone recognition error that we solved by turning it on and off) and therefore it will probably be convenient for everyone to update. It must be said that we have not done any battery tests and that a few hours are not enough to thoroughly test such an important update so if you use the phone for work it may be wise to wait a few days to avoid bad surprises.

We refer you to the experiences of our users told in this section of the Forum and other tests and guides that we will publish in the next few hours.