Developer Opportunity: It takes more than iOS 4 to multitask on an iPhone

When we spoke to a number of developers, that aren’t keen to be named in this article for fear of backlash from Apple, they all confirmed to Pocket-lint that, for any app to take advantage of the new multitasking features, it will have to be updated. Furthermore, many of those we spoke to felt that many apps simply won’t be.

Aside from requiring iPhone 4 or a 3GS, you also need apps that have been modified to multitask. I suspect quite a few won’t, and no one will care or even notice.

I also expect a bonanza of opportunity for some types of apps to be the first to support it. For example, as much as I use Twitter I’ll be keenly interested in a client that multitasks. Would I try a different Twitter client for this feature? Absolutely. Same is true of RSS/news readers, and chat clients, and notes apps, and others.

So, while I understand this is work for developers, it’s also a chance to get their app back in front of people who had previously chosen a competitor. It’s not often developers are handed such a key and much-anticipated differentiator to add to their apps. Multitasking will be hot; smart developers will grab the opportunity quickly.

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True HDR iPhone Photo App is Awesome.

The iPhone 3GS’ feature to tap for setting focus and exposure is great, allowing for better photos than previous iPhones. However, sometimes I’m stuck with a choice of extreme lights or darks, and find myself tapping something in the middle for a rather bland compromise.

Not any more.

See the photo below of the view out my office window. In this case I focused on the ground, which looks good, but at the expense of a too-white sky that lacks contrast.

Below is a photo of the same scene, this time focused on the sky. It’s bluer, and you can better make out the hazy outline of Mt. Santiago, but at the expense of the ground looking more in shadow.

Now see the photo below, which is the result of “merging” the above two photos in True HDR. It’s a nice combination of the best exposures from both photos. Sweet.

No, this is not a substitute for better exposure in the first place. However, in most cases it’s better than under- or over-exposing the scene and trying to use the brightness/contrast settings of an iPhone app like Photogene to fix the bad parts. While no miracle worker, True HDR simply works better for moderate to large exposure discrepancies than any iPhone post-processing app I’ve seen.

One drawback is that the output is limited to 960×960 resolution, with “full resolution” promised in a later update. Also note that this app requires an iPhone 3GS because the whole point is to capture two pictures with exposure “extremes” via the tap-to-focus feature.

For me this was a no-brainer purchase, especially at only $2. If you take a lot of photos with your iPhone 3GS, or want to, this is a great app to have in your toolkit.

Dear Apple: I Wish My iPhone 3GS Would Lay Flat

iphone3g-EDGE

I bought an original 2G (EDGE) iPhone one week after they debuted. There wasn’t enough in the 3G upgrade a year later to compel me to switch, but I upgraded to a 3GS the day they were made available.

I love the 3GS. It provided things I was hoping they’d introduce in the 3G a year earlier, and was worth the wait. I had a couple glitches, but they were rectified the day after receipt and it’s been great since then.

But I have two complaints with the new model (they apply to the 3G as well). One of them is pretty trivial, the other is a real pain:

  • The glossy back feels slippery to me. I really liked the stainless steel back. It’s not so much the look, but rather the “rougher” texture in the hand.
  • I hate the rounded back. Am I the only one who used this thing while it sat flat on a table? If I try to now, it wobbles when touching the screen edges. That really sucks, and makes it pretty much unusable. It’s been six weeks and I’m still not used to being unable to do this.

I realize the stainless steel back almost certainly had to go to allow for the additional antennas for 3G and GPS signals. I’m fine with that, but why not a textured back so it doesn’t feel so slick?

As for the rounded back, it’s ridiculous. The 3G actually added to the thickness of the device. I believe they narrowed it at the edges to camouflage that fact, so it wouldn’t feel thicker. It’s doubtful anyone would’ve noticed the extra thickness, but I notice that it wobbles when you use it while it’s laying down.

OK, I’ll admit this is a little thing, but it’s the “little things” at which Apple usually excels. I miss the usability, especially when typing a lot. Perhaps in the 4G…?

iPhone 3GS JavaScript Speed is NOT Faster Than Apple Claimed

Lots of stories making the rounds that the JavaScript speed of the new iPhone 3GS is even faster than Apple had claimed. Most of the stories originate from this one from Medialets, but it’s simply not true the performance is faster than Apple claimed.

JavaScript speed is very impressive. However, if you compare Medialets’ results with those Apple presented during the WWDC keynote, you’ll see they’re essentially the same. Let’s take a look:

sunspider-benchmarking-tests-2009-06-22

Apple_WWDC_JavaScript_Benchmarks

I’d say Medialets’ findings of 133/49/17 for the iPhone 3G-os2/3G-os3/3GS match up very well with Apple’s reported results of 126/43/15. Apple’s numbers are a bit better, but not excessively so. It’s clear that all Medialets has done is confirm Apple’s stated speed claims in this area.

This is a huge speed improvment, and I’m not trying to diminish it, but Apple’s claim of “twice as fast” was a generic one regarding the 3GS in general, whereas their JavaScript claims were very specific. Medialets has shown they were accurate, not underrated.