Jobs: Performance Issues Kept iOS 4 Background Wallpaper From iPhone 3G

Jobs: Performance Issues Kept iOS 4 Background Wallpaper From iPhone 3GWondering why your iPhone 3G didn’t get background wallpapers? So was Gizmodo reader Erica, who rattled off an email to Steve Jobs with a request for an explanation.

Jobs’ response? Backgrounds on the 3G just didn’t meet their performance standards. But there’s a little more going on here.

Erica’s email to Jobs read:

Hey Steve! I just upgraded my iPhone 3G to iOS 4 and was really looking forward to setting a background on my home screen. Guess that’s not happening, but I’d like to know why.

See, I get why you don’t include multitasking. My iPhone gets pretty hot when certain apps run, couldn’t imagine how multitasking would fry my phone.

But the background thing, I don’t see how that would be memory intensive and/or battery draining. It doesn’t seem like that feature needs to be exclusive to the 3GS and 4G.

Jobs’ response:

The icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough.

This explanation isn’t likely to make a lot of sense to iPhone and iPod Touch users who have had background wallpapers on their jailbroken devices for years thanks to Winterboard. Clearly, even the first-gen iPhone has the horsepower to run a background wallpaper without significantly impacting performance.

The difference here, though, is in execution. Noting that some background wallpaper images can make it hard to see icon text and even icon apps, Apple chose to put a drop shadow for each icon and its label… something Winterboard doesn’t do. Hence the extra overhead.

Frankly, if you have an iPhone 3G or iPod Touch 2G, I wouldn’t get too excited about Apple’s omission here: a working jailbreak for iOS 4 is right around the corner, and Winterboard should bring background wallpapers to older legacy devices just as well as it ever did.

Related

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Software |