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  • chdude3 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    The author of the article doesn't appear to address the issues that I (and several friends, and seemingly a LOT of people posting on the interwebs) encountered when trying to use iOS4.X on a 3G phone. Yes, things became a little slower to launch/open, but the OS itself would frequently pause for inordinate amounts of time.

    I'd launch Safari which would open just fine, but attempting to scroll down a page would cause the phone to freeze for up to 30 seconds before it would become responsive again. This behaviour was all over the phone - it would frequently pause and stutter all the time and rendered my phone nearly unusable.

    I could have dealt strictly with an extra 2 seconds to open the Settings menu, if my phone wasn't constantly freezing and stuttering to the point that it would not allow me to answer an incoming call before the caller gave up and hang up!

    Basically, I want to know if 4.1 will make my phone an unusable mess again, or should I stick with my 3.1.3 downgrade!
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    That's a good point. I haven't really seen safari freeze for a full 30 seconds, but there's some stuttering and pausing for certain on 4.0.2 on the iPhone 3G.

    In fact, one of the more irritating problems with 4.0.2 has been the turn on/turn off lag from the power button. It's so bad that I'll mash buttons to turn it on, then it'll turn on and quickly turn off. On 4.1 standby and resume seem much smoother.

    I hesitate to say it's gone entirely because I believe a bit of that becomes pronounced after using the OS for a while, but I will say that during my time with the iPhone 3G on 4.1 I never saw any inordinate stuttering. That appears cleared up.

  • Colin1497 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    No, the author doesn't address the real issues at all. But he does manage to be a jerk. So far I'm doing OK with 4.1 on my upgraded phone. I'd do 4.1 for the features at this point. Reply
  • Botia - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    "Apple deserves credit for keeping a device just over 2 years old fully updated and supported."

    Considering a 2-year contract, I would expect 2 years to be the bare minimum, with 3-5 years being more appropriate.
  • gunblade - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Tell that to HTC. My less than a years old Hero is totally abandoned and forgotten.
    Tell that to Samsung too, apparently most of their non flagship (Galaxy -S) device are no getting any support at all.
    I would hope android users hold our vendors to the same standard as Apple.
  • solinear - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I think that the big problem is quantity of products.

    HTC has a large number of designs and devices, supporting every single major provider. They are running devices with many different processors, operating systems and networks.

    Apple is supporting 4 devices (iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3Gs, 4) on one carrier. Throw in those four devices on as many carriers (verizon, t-Mobile, Sprint) and you're looking at significantly more complexity.

    I'm not saying that the other vendors need to only have one device line or one OS or anything, I'm just saying that the other vendors have a lot more complexity to deal with than Apple does.

    Honestly, I think that it's a lot like the old laptop problem with video driver updates. I think that the vendors should support the device for one year, but after that, leave it up to the OS vendor to support and update. If the customer wants to update, then they should be able to without "bricking" their phones. This way I can continue to get updated software, if I want to chase it down and do the legwork.

    As for 2 year contracts, you can upgrade after a single year with the same discount as you could after 2 years with many of the carriers. I upgrade my phones after a year and every time am very happy that I did.
  • CZroe - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    And the fact that it has the exact same performance as the original iPhone means that they have no excuse for not updating it too (same CPU/memory). So, just because it isn't a 3G device they block it from the 4.0-only apps and restrict their potential market. WHY?! Oh yeah: To enforce an upgrade cycle. This is even more ridiculous when you consider that the effort to maintain two kernels could have gone farther.

    When Apple implied that the original phone couldn't handle it, they were lying. Edge vs. 3G does not factor in to iOS performance and it's the same hardware otherwise (minus GPS, of course). It's just like when Apple lied about A2DP not working on the original iPhone due to hardware differences and numeric battery indicator on anything prior to the 3GS (enable either manually using A2DP Enabler or SB Settings; both work fine).
  • gcor - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    I totally agree. I still have 3 months to run on a 3G contract. I don't see that Apple deserves any credit for fixing something they broke. The additional functionality is paltry compared to the phone freezing up frequently.

    I spent a good chunk of change getting TomTom and a cradle to run on my 3G. It was great under iOS 3 and now is completely unusable under iOS 4.0.2. Reverting to iOS 3 is a problem as I can't restore all the info I've put on it since "up" grading to iOS4. So, till now I've had to choose between hacking around to get the phone to function properly again vs. keeping my data.

    iOS4.1 MAY get me running again, but it feels like yet more hassle and a good chance it won't address my problems.

    Apple prides itself on consumer devices that "just work". The 3G iOS4 saga most certainly did not "just work". "Just fail" is a much better description from my experience.
  • matthoffman - Friday, October 01, 2010 - link

    This is an old article now, but I can't help it -- this phrasing really gets to me. Saying it's a "2-year old device" is disingenuous at best -- it was being actively sold until just a few months ago, so the majority of buyers are still well within 2-year contracts. So "Apple deserves credit"? No, Apple released the 4.0 update with only 3 hardware versions to test it against and yet somehow still managed to make one of those three unusable (calls unanswerable because the slider won't respond, safari and email locking for 20 seconds at a time, most apps not loading 1 time out of 3...). And now they've failed to fully fix it, or provide a supported downgrade option.

    And saying, "just pick up an Android phone" is infuriating. 'Just pick up' a $380 phone? 'Cause that's how much a Droid 1 is now, without a contract...much less the 1ghz phones Brian's actually recommending. And most people with a Iphone 3G are on contract. If I got in the habit of "just picking up" things (it sounds so trivial and carefree!) that involve that much money, I would "just pick up" a foreclosure in short order, I suspect.
  • wm.duncan - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Also Brian, the 3G doesn't have the "s" for speed. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Much thanks for letting me borrow your iPhone 3G ;)

  • xenol - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I noticed the slide mentioned the camera can take HDR photos. How? Reply
  • chdude3 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I believe that's for iPhone 4 only. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    It takes three photos. Normal, over exposed, and under exposed, then uses an algorithm to put them together.

    But I don't recall it being iPhone 4 only, but I dont have 4.1 installed yet.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    The other commenters so far are correct - HDR is an iPhone 4 only feature.

    At least from iOS's perspective, that is ;). I've already heard direct discussions of a simple Cydia program being in the works on 4.1 jailbroken (when that happens) to make it work for the 3G and 3GS.

  • crimson117 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I have a 3G running iOS 4.0.2, and yes it's slowwwwwwer than it used to be.

    The things I'm sure are new additions with iOS 4 are:
    - 1st letter lag when entering a search term in safari. Actually, it's more like second-letter lag: the first letter is displayed quickly, but all subsequent letters I type take several seconds to show up. I get the feeling that this is due to a very slow initialization of the auto-suggest feature, perhaps related to re-establishing an internet connection after my phone has been idle for a while.
    - Random 5-15 second freezes when scrolling. Often happen in Safari, or in iReddit or Alien Blue (which use embedded safari windows).

    And the worst part about these things is that the OS doesn't seem aware (and also doesn't seem to care) that it's making the user wait for 5-15 seconds without any warning or explanation.

    If there's a step involved in the safari search box such as "Initialize search suggestion dictionary" then if that's about to happen, the OS should dim the screen and put up a message saying that's what it's doing. Then the user would know which part is slow, and perhaps could push apple or the app's developer to fix it. Perhaps the OS isn't even aware that it's hanging for 5-15 seconds?
  • chdude3 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Or being in the middle of typing an email when things will freeze up again for several seconds (this was usually in the order of 5 seconds) before the phone would become responsive again. It wasn't just Safari - any application exhibited this behaviour. The timing for the freezing did not appear to have a pattern at all, but it made the phone useless. I got so tired of sitting there waiting for it to let me use it again that I went for the downgrade.

    Sometimes it'd freeze without being in the middle of an operation - I'd be reading text within an application and hit a soft button to, say, return to a previous page and the phone would simply sit there for several seconds before responding.

    I can't believe that it got through any type of QA with those types of defects.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    I actually get this on my 3GS with 4.x (I have not yet put on 4.1). Sometimes mail will lock up for 20-30 seconds before I can finally do something. I have not noticed it in other apps, but mail for sure on many occasions. So the mail issue may be a mail issue, or could be the 3GS can have the same pausing issues as the 3G. Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I have an iPhone 3G and never upgraded to iOS 4, and after reading this, I won't update to iOS 4.1 either. It's already a sluggish device to me, but it's a corporate device for which I barely have an official use, so I've no cause for demanding an update. Reply
  • Henk Poley - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I wonder if Apple will break out of character and release iOS 5 earlier than with the next iPhone, to get around this line in their Software License Agreement:

    "Apple will provide you any iPhone OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPhone OS software release following the version of iPhone OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPhone, for free."

    iPhone 3G 8GB were still sold here slightly more than a month ago.
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Put Pandora on each of them, run it, and then see what happens. One of my biggest iOS4 woes on my 3G was Pandora. I think it made the phone overheat, because it would play for an hour or two, then lock up. The buttons did nothing, but if you waited about 10 minutes, it would just reboot and be fine again. The phone did feel rather warm afterward. Went back to 3.1.3, and those problems are gone.

    I'm not going to 4.1 until I get a general "all clear" from all the testers out there. I should have waited on 4.0.
  • bobjones32 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the analysis as usual, guys at AnandTech. It's honestly quite pathetic how little coverage that 3G performance has gotten in tech blogs. Not you guys, I don't come here for tech news in the first place and it isn't really your intended coverage.

    But the popular tech blogs that do cover every new gadget and news article...shame on them. They're so totally obsessed with the latest and greatest shiny gadgets that it never once occurred to them that their readers might *gasp* hold onto their iPhone 3G for the entirety of their 2-year contract, if not longer.

    I got my iPhone 3G in October of 2008. Every single subsequent OS update has significantly lowered performance, with iOS 4 being the icing on the cake. Particularly because iOS 4 does almost nothing at all to improve the 3G in the first place.

    Even worse? My 3G started exhibiting functional problems with the few buttons on the device too, but since it was out of warranty, Apple wouldn't do anything for me without an expensive repair. So they give me shitty software upgrades that are mandatory for application compatibility, then the hardware malfunctions and they want me to pay for it.

    It got so bad that I finally sold my 3G for parts on eBay for a decent amount, and bought a used 3GS for a decent price too. The Apple Store recommended that I just re-sign my contract to get an iPhone 4 for $200, but fuck that, I'm never directly giving Apple another single dollar for a piece of hardware.

    I've been a long-time Windows user and still use Windows, having no interest in purchasing a Mac. The iPhone was Apple's chance to win me over. They almost did. But iTunes is a piece of crap. The 3G was slowly transformed into a piece of crap. Their customer service wasn't helpful. Therefore, they will be getting no more money out of me.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    "Even worse? My 3G started exhibiting functional problems with the few buttons on the device too, but since it was out of warranty, Apple wouldn't do anything for me without an expensive repair. So they give me shitty software upgrades that are mandatory for application compatibility, then the hardware malfunctions and they want me to pay for it....Their customer service wasn't helpful."

    Do you honestly expect ANY company to do repairs for free out of warranty? Seriously?

    I'm not getting an iphone, but smartphones have so many more points of failure, and cost $500 ($800 for an iphone) without a subsidy. You think the iphone is bad, you should have seen the issues Palm had with the 700m from the tech support side. Perhaps the iphone is just as bad, but at least I don't hear people complaining about it losing the ability to ring (common WinMob issue with only one fix, a hard reset).
  • et01267 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    With the 4.0.1 "update", my 3G suddenly became so slow that if I was running an app (like the NPR programming stream) and got a phone call it was not possible to answer the call before it went to voicemail. Ring ... Slide the slider to answer... (doesn't move) slide again (nothing) Ring... slide slide slide Ring slide Ringing stops.... (later) bing, you have a voicemail.

    In effect, they have ruined the primary function of a phone -- making and receiving phone calls.

    So rather than taking the chance on 4.1 making the phone usable, I just jailbroke/unlocked my phone so I can use it with other SIMs in the (civilized, not under the tyranny of ATT) rest of the world.

    But I still might get an iPhone 4.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Uhm, and how did jail breaking your phone make it faster? That doesn't make any sense. 4.1 should make your phone quite a bit faster from what I have read. But going to other provider isnt going to change the speed of the OS. Why not just downgrade back to 3.x? Reply
  • Relegant - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    On 4.0x the phone goes out and fetches mail every time I open up the Map app. Sometimes a few seconds to do it, sometimes I'm past what I was trying to find. It never did this on 3.x. I don't know if this is due 4.0 or a change in the map/Google software. Reply
  • chromal - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Apple deserves credit for keeping a device just over 2 years old fully updated and supported.

    You have exceptionally low expectations, don't you? Given that people are being sold these products with 2 year cellular service contracts, Apple had goddamned better support them for the life of the contract. I agree with the 'planned obsolescence,' there's no reason for my iPhone 3G to perform worse at basic functions than when I bought it in 2008, and that is really that, period, end of line, end of story. Thank GOD I didn't trust iOS 4.x enough to update mine 3G.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Don't bother ever getting an Android phone, because most of them stop within 6 months of release. Reply
  • gcor - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Good point. I so wish I hadn't "up" graded to iOS4.

    Apple has definitely killed a large chunk of my trust in their reliability with this. It's that trust that put them above other vendors for me in the past.

    If Apple is no more reliable that the rest, I guess it's time start checking out alternatives for my next contract.
  • gcor - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    As previously posted, 2 years is the plan life of phones today. Given large numbers of 3G's are still on contract, I hardly think Apple is "Caring for the Elderly" by breaking peoples' phones!

    My Sony Ericsson 810i (~5 years old) still functions just fine. It's not a smart phone, but it can still make calls smoothly, doesn't freeze and the built in apps keep me organised with better performance than the 3G on iOS4.

    Shame on you Apple, iOS4 should never have been released for the 3G.
  • Colin1497 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Actually, it should have been more thoroughly tested, IMO. When I first installed 4.0, like the author for the tests, it was OK. It was several days before I started getting things like not being able to answer calls because the slider wouldn't respond in time. I disabled spotlight search ( and that helped, but still it would become unresponsive and I'd do a hard reset and it would be OK for a while. This article was just a sign that the author has no understanding of what the issues were, and his conclusion is, frankly, insulting. Reply
  • watzupken - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Seriously, I think with the current push for the 2 major mobile OSes, apart from the BB OS, we are in the position of a computer user, or may be worst. Right now, we are looking at mobile OSes that releases a new version every 6 to 12 mths. With every new release, the older hardware will suffer cause the new functions basically kills performance. Unlike a com, we do not have the chance to upgrade any part of the phone hardware to keep up with the requirement of the OS. Plus, we are all tied to a contract with the telco, thus, not all can afford to keep up to date on the hardware. Anyway, back to this review. I have not tested this on my last gen iPod Touch. May give it a try. On the iPhone 4, it is a great update, especially the HDR cam feature. Reply
  • Colin1497 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    This article was a total failure. The author demonstrated that he has no understanding of the issue. The issue wasn't so much how fast a web page got rendered or how long it NORMALLY took to get things to happen. Those were slower, and if that was the only problem, saying "well, it is an older device" might have been an answer. The issue was that the phone would just become completely unresponsive for 5, 10 15 seconds. Sometimes you couldn't answer it when it was ringing. The slider would appear but you couldn't get it to answer.

    I suspect that the real issue is fixed, even if this article doesn't address it all and just makes the author look like a jerk (Seriously, you were a fan of Windows CE phones? LOL, what a maroon! What an ingoranimus! See, we can all be jerks.). Before you correct my spelling:

    What the article does reveal is that 4.1 is better than 4.0. I'd wager that if Apple HADN'T screwed up the 3G version of iOS 4 so badly, the 3G users probably wouldn't have gotten these improvements. So, 2 months of "I HATE MY PHONE" traded for more longevity for the device.
  • monomer - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Is there any chance we'll be able to get a battery life comparison of iOS 4.1 vs 4.0.x and 3.x on the 3G? It may be my imagination, but it seems like my battery life had decreased with iOS4, though it may be just a change in my usage. Reply
  • Shaorinor - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    I jailbroke a friend's 3G and the problem is that too many apps seem to hang in memory after you close them. A side effect of the "multi-tasking" enhancement to the new OS I would say. Once I killed all the loose processes from all the apps that I opened, the phone sped up significantly again.

    Luckily, I was able to downgrade him back to firmward 3.1.3. I'd personally advise holding off upgrading to any firmware until you see all the major kinks have been worked out.
  • jeans_xp - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    A4 is manufactured by SAMSUNG semiconductor. For more information: Reply

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