The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be glowing ever brighter for iPhone 3G owners running iOS 4. In addition to Steve Jobs’ recently publicized email claiming a software update coming soon to fix the problems, the Blogosphere and Twitter are also carrying reports of big performance improvements with recent betas:
Tests with a beta version of Apple’s iOS 4.1 on a well-used 3G suggest that the new OS has increased the phone’s responsiveness. Indeed, apps load much more quickly, text entry is much smoother and the phone no longer slows down beyond the point of usability when more than one browser window is open. [The Next Web]
These have been among the most widely reported problems.
Tests conducted with the new beta version of iOS4.1 reveal that the phone’s responsiveness has actually improved! Apps can be downloaded faster, text can be entered more smoothly and the phone does not slow down when you open multiple browser windows. [Blogote]
Apple’s upcoming Media Event scheduled for early September would be a logical time to release this upgrade; some blogs are even reporting that it may come as soon as this week.
Several posts on Twitter also mention improvements:
jasondelacruz: I heard from a beta tester today that iOS 4.1 brings a huge performance improvement for iPhone 3g. Hang tight.
machelpblog: Beat [sic] testing iOS 4.1 on my iPhone 3G has been a great speed improvement. #iphone Thank you Apple!!!!
Assuming the fix is finally arriving, the next question to ask (and indeed posed by many people) is why didn’t Apple discover this behavior before the release of iOS4? Presumably iPhone 3G performance was tested under the new OS, enough to know which features to disable outright such as multitasking and background wallpaper. The day to day problems become apparent very quickly after installation.
I don’t believe this was a deliberate attempt by Apple to get people to upgrade from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4 (however tempting that might be to entertain). I think instead it was low priority for the engineering teams, who were working on a tight schedule to get iOS4 ready for an accelerated launch after the Gizmodo Saga. Perhaps supporting the 3G at all was a last minute decision, one not desired by the company but a compromise made since this model was still selling as the low end option right up until the 4’s debut?
Whatever the reason, Apple dropped the ball. It’s time to resume gameplay.