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iOS 4 – Did Apple Test This At All?

iOS 4 and the next generation iPhone have both been released earlier this week and has captured the attention of Apple fanboys, gadget lovers and tech bloggers alike and aren’t letting go. I’m not surprised. The gadget world always seems to be beside itself whenever Apple unveils and releases a shiny new gadget on the salivating public. I own a second generation iPod Touch and when Apple debuted the fourth generation of the iPhone OS, now called iOS, noting that some of the biggest features such as multitasking and the ability to set your own wallpaper (seriously?) would be exclusive to the iPhone 4 and 3GS, I was understandably peeved.

Nonetheless, when Apple released the OS earlier this week, I decided to update my iPod Touch from the jailbroken 3.1.2 OS I was currently running to iOS 4, figuring the few features I did get would be worth the loss of my jailbroken (but not pirated!) apps. Boy was I wrong.

While I enjoy the slightly smoother and prettier animations when switching between pages and in and out of apps as well as the app folders and the ability to create a playlist on the iPod itself, it doesn’t amount to much when I can only use the device for a few hours between charges. That’s right. iOS 4 has murdered my iPod Touch’s battery life. Whereas I was able to get more than a day’s worth of use out of my iPod before “upgrading” to iOS 4, I’m lucky to get more than a few hours at most with similar usage. Heck, yesterday, I played a bit of N.O.V.A.’s single player campaign on what was a nearly full (around 80% or so) battery and somewhere within 20 and 30 minutes into my play session (the game is surprisingly addictive), the standard “20% of battery remaining” notification popped up. The same thing happened the day before when I played Need for Speed: Shift in about the same amount of time.

This is unacceptable.

I understand that gaming can take a rather heavy toll on the iPod’s battery life but I’ve managed to play games, listen to some music and get in some web browsing over Wi-Fi for hours prior to updating without depleting my battery. I used to think that the fact that I set my email accounts up to push new emails to my device every hour was killing my battery but I since turned that feature off and my battery life is still in the crapper.

So…let me get this straight. The decent battery life that I’ve grown to expect from my iPod Touch is now gone and I don’t even have the ability to multitask to show for it? Are you f***ing kidding me? Please tell me this is some kind of cruel joke. It’s not enough that iPod Touch 2G and iPhone 3G owners were shafted out of some of the best features of iOS 4 (they won’t even let us customize the background for crying out loud!) but we have to be treated to sluggish performance and lower battery life too? Why?

Wait. What am I saying? This is how Apple does business and I’ve known it for years. They introduce a new product every year with brand new features and owners of the previous generation are left out in the cold, only to look on in envy and annoyance at owners of the new product, looking at their older model in shame and wishing they’d waited just a little bit longer. I knew what I was getting into when I bought my iPod Touch, I just didn’t know it would come back to bite me in the ass in a way such as this.

I already know what some of the Apple apologists are going to say in response to my complaints. “You should’ve waited.” Well, there are two schools of thought on that matter.

1. You’re right; I should’ve waited to see if all the bugs had been ironed out first before upgrading to iOS 4 instead of grabbing the new OS the first chance I got.

And…

2. Screw that BS. I’m not taking the blame because Apple screwed up. Apple should have run the necessary bug and stress tests beforehand to ensure that the OS was up to code on the previous platforms before releasing it. I find it hard to believe that problems as big as heavily degraded performance and exponentially shorter battery life on certain platforms are issues that wouldn’t have come up in beta testing, which leads me to believe that either Apple’s development team is incompetent or they just didn’t care.

I tend to side with the latter argument in this case. There is no excuse for this. If I’m not going to be given access to multitasking, which would understandably tax the processor and battery a lot heavier than normal one-app-running-at-a-time usage, then my battery life shouldn’t be as adversely affected by this OS upgrade as it has been. And it’s not like I’m alone in my complaints either.

I don’t profess to know everything about how iOS 4 works and interacts with the hardware of the iPod Touch and iPhone and I’m not going to assume that there isn’t some extremely techie reason why my iPod’s battery life has been so mercilessly slaughtered but quite frankly, I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason why my battery life should be so low now when I’m doing the same things that I’ve been doing all along.

I am aware that this rant is going to make me sound like a crazy, anti-Apple fanboy but I really don’t care. This mess with iOS 4 destroying my battery life and the fact that Apple probably isn’t going to release an update to fix it has me very pissed off. Needless to say, while I was thinking of upgrading to the next iPod Touch after the inevitable refresh later this summer, I think I’ll hold off now. This is a load of crap and I am not pleased with this. Not one bit.

About Justin McBride

My name is Justin McBride and I’m a guy who enjoys writing, playing games and writing about playing games. Sound lame enough yet? Well, I have other interests as well such as hanging out with friends, watching TV, going to the movies from time to time, surfing the internet, listen to good music, drive at speeds I shouldn’t be driving at and so on. The problem is, that’s all stuff everyone likes to do, so why write about it? Oh wait, seems I just did. Oops.

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  • Possesor of common sense

    Try putting windows vista on a 359mhz machine with 128mb of ram.

    Try running a PS3 game on a PS2.

    Maybe a Blu-Ray disc in a DVD Player

    Oh, tune to ESPNHD on an old CRT bubble TV.

    NONE of it will work. Hardware must be updated to keep up with new software. iOS 4 was designed for iPhone 4. It works totally on the 3GS, less on the 3G and not at all on the 2G.

    What is the sense of releasing updated hardware (that everyone screams for) if you have to dumb it down SO greatly to make it work with your oldest products?

    Things evolve – plain and simple.

  • If that is indeed the case, then why did Apple waste valuable time and resources by porting iOS 4 to the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G in the first place? It seems to me, if the hardware has evolved (as, of course, it has) and the iPod Touch 2G are incapable of handling the new operating system, why would Apple release it? This isn’t like PCs where you can install any operating system on virtually any PC, even if it won’t work. This is a closed ecosystem run entirely by Apple so they should have known that the older hardware would not have been able to handle iOS 4 and, therefore, should not have released it.

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  • That’s ridiculous! I’d have called BS on this if I didn’t know Apple so well. I’ve been in the computer and IT field for YEARS and have always hated Apple for the simple reason that they try to do things differently just to be different, not for increased productivity or user friendliness. Their ‘we are cool so buy us’ slogan has worked well lately because every idiot wants to be cool and popular. Little do they know, a phone will not make them cool. Lately, though, with their offering of the iPod and iPhone that I hear so many great things about from reviews and people that I know alike, I was thinking maybe Apple had changed their ways. With this review, and a ton of other reviews from people who actually know the difference between a 32 and 64 bit operating system, I’ve come to realize Apple hasn’t changed; they have just gotten better at manipulating people into thinking they have all the answers. Better products? Maybe slightly. Better support? Same Apple ‘you do it wrong and that’s why it doesn’t work’ attitude I.E. the signal dying issue with the 4G iPhone and telling customers ‘they are holding it wrong’, not ‘our product was poorly designed’. Don’t let that Apple fanboy convince you otherwise; you are right to be pissed off. A newer operating system designed specifically for your device shouldn’t kill it like it did. Apple has a history of beta testing its products and software on paying customers.