New iPhone kicks iPad users in the gut

Amidst all the positive reviews of the recently launched fourth-generation iPhone, bloggers are warning that CEO Steve Jobs’ pursuit of smart phone perfection could alienate some Apple Inc. fans.


“Many iPhone 3G users were disappointed to discover that when they updated their phones to iOS4, all their pictures were blurry,” wrote Kevin Schram, a blogger with technology and gadget site TFTS. “After they got over that, they found that they weren’t allowed multi-tasking nor backgrounds, like the 3GS and iPhone 4 users will be allowed. Looks like fragmentation does affect the iPhone.” Nominate someone you work with for a ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Award

Fragmentation is the “dirty word” that iPhone fans use to criticize Google’s Android OS, he wrote. But while the various versions of Android can be incompatible with each other, Schram added, Apple is no longer immune to this problem.  

“Steve Jobs was asked by a customer, why doesn’t the iPhone 3G support backgrounds? What did Steve say? The icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough,” Schram wrote.


“Obviously, Jobs’ strive for perfection ended up in him simply throwing out a major feature of iOS4 for a large number of customers, simply because it would of given some lag to the operating system.”


TechCrunch blogger MG Siegler also recognized Apple’s new fragmentation issue by bringing another recently released device into the discussion: the iPad.


“I’ve been using developer builds of iOS4 (then called iPhone OS 4) for weeks now,” he wrote. “I’ve grown very used to using things such as the new app switcher and folders. In fact, I’ve grown so used to using them that when I switch back over to the iPad now (running iPhone OS 3.2), I can’t help but feel that it in some ways it seems antiquated.”


“Yes, I know that’s ridiculous for a device that’s not even three months old yet. But the feeling lingers,” he wrote.


Siegler said that while the iPad will get iOS 4 later this year, it will be difficult for current iPad users to accept that Apple’s new smart phone contains a few other features that its tablet device will never get: double the RAM and a screen that is much sharper with a much higher pixel density.


“I would not be surprised if using the iPhone 4 and the iPad side-by-side on a daily basis is pretty jarring — in the same way that it’s jarring to switch from my MacBook Pro with the new high-resolution screen to one of the older models without it,” he wrote. “It’s not that the iPad has a bad screen — it doesn’t at all. It’s just that it’s a fairly major downgrade from the iPhone 4’s screen. And that again, makes the iPad seem a bit dated in comparison.”


He added that the extra RAM (512 MB on iPhone 4 versus 256 MB on iPad) should make a world of difference for multi-tasking.


“It seems almost as if Apple just decided to suck it up and launch the iPad knowing it would be upstaged by this new OS it can’t yet run, just a few months later,” Siegler added.


Of course, these fragmentation issues might not matter as much to Apple fans as they do to bloggers as the new device sold close to two million units during its first weekend of availability.