Yesterday Apple released their latest iPhone software update. I wasn't as quick off the mark as some of my friends so this morning I deliberately ignored Twitter and other social media so I could make my own mind up without being influenced.
I don't like doing major iPhone updates as there hasn't been an update yet where I've not heard stories of iPhones crashing and generally being worse than before. Fortunately, I've managed to avoid any problems and get to experience the new features as though I'd opened a brand new iPhone!
I'll be honest, the update last year wasn't all that great in my opinion, the features I found useful day-to-day could have probably been counted on one hand. Since hearing about the new features of iOS4 I've been waiting in anticipation to play with the new features and already putting together a small list of things I love about it...
Folders is an easy one to start with as they're pretty self explanatory. Basically, iOS4 allows you to group your apps together making your home screen less cluttered and more organised. The automatic naming of folders (using the apps you're grouping to find their common category eg. Games, Social etc) makes the process quick and easy to do.
5x Optical Zoom
My experience in the past with Digital Zoom on any kind of camera has been less than fun. The results were often poor and pixelated making it about as useful at capturing an image as a Rhino with a paintbrush.
With it's reputation already tarnished, I wasn't expecting much when I took a few test shots and for a moment I was again left disappointed. I opened the camera app and pointed it to a random subject and zoomed in. The onscreen representation was pixelated and poor quality at which I huffed with disgust, then I went into my photo album to check the end result. The image was good quality and relatively sharp for a digitally zoomed image. My opinion of digital zoom was swiftly changed, it can be done!
Photos and Places
The photo album on iPhone has gone pretty much untouched (as far as I can tell) for the last few years so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Apple started to use geo-tagging in a way that's useful to iPhone users. When browsing your photo album there is a new icon named 'Places', touching this brings to you a map view. Geo-tagged data is retrieved from the photos stored on the iPhone and applied to map based on where they were taken. I think it's a different but useful way to view photos. With this feature I can quickly find photos I took at my wedding venue, a friend's wedding or on a recent trip to London.
Personally, I think Places is the best improvement I've discovered so far. It gives additional functionality and an alternative way view photos while encouraging iPhone users (whether they know directly or not) to apply more useful data into their photos, which in the fast world of the Web could lead to new and interesting applications for viewing photos.
Originally published for Connected UK