[Warning: Like Evernote on your iPhone? Then don’t upgrade to this beta.] This is a quick account of my experience thus far on beta 3 (coming from beta 1) after it was re-released very, very early this morning. I’ve only been on the firmware for a few hours, but I think battery life seems like […]
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iPhone 4.0 Beta 3 – Impressions and Comparisons

[Warning: Like Evernote on your iPhone? Then don’t upgrade to this beta.]

This is a quick account of my experience thus far on beta 3 (coming from beta 1) after it was re-released very, very early this morning. I’ve only been on the firmware for a few hours, but I think battery life seems like it’s back to normal, as opposed to the one-day wi-fi battery life I’ve had for the last two or three weeks.

I covered most of the major discoveries in a quick news post last night, but I’ve made a few notes of my own, if you like nitty gritty OS details.

Default Apps

Contacts – This app now require fewer taps to edit. You used to have to tap on the different fields and edit them individually on a different screen, but now everything is simply edited in one place. It’s a welcome little convenience change, and it’s nice that Apple is looking into even tiny details like this.

Mail – Threaded mail, one of iPhone 4.0’s best new features, has been fixed! It now properly groups related e-mails together by subject, instead of simply throwing them all together because people had replied to them.

Camera – The camera app is now usable again. It was completely broken in beta 2 (so I heard), but it’s actually been slow since beta 1. The app now loads up in the standard three seconds (still a little long), and saves pictures in about half a second.

Photos – Tapping and holding on a picture now brings up the copy button and actually copies the picture when you tap on it. This simply didn’t work in b1. Another minor addition to the photos app is the Places tab, which shows the Places of all the geo-tagged pictures on your iPhone. I found this feature displaying intermittently in beta 1, but it’s here to stay in Numero Tres.

New Features

Playback controls – They’re back! I was worried that they had somehow been overlooked, but Apple decided against their re-implementation in beta 2, and have simply thrown them right into the bottom bar. It takes just a little longer to access them now, and the volume slider is missing, but I’m happy. At least we can still see the song name.

Rotation lock – As others have already pointed out, rotation lock currently only locks things in portrait mode. I can’t see the harm in actually allowing a landscape lock, but it might not be needed. Most apps will correctly re-orient to the appropriate landscape mode, anyway. However, this change does make apps like Evernote seem very silly for allowing full 360-degree rotation. Why would I want to use Evernote in upside down portrait mode? Very silly, indeed.

Minor Changes

Spelling suggestions are now in blue (but not shown in 3D, so as not to infringe on Avatar sales)

New background for dock and folders

Animation for task switching from beta 2 – This is much cooler when you’re actually using it.

Settings for home buttons are gone – Gone is the double-tap-and-hold shortcut for iPhone Favorites from beta 1. Heck, gone is the entire settings menu for the Home button.

3rd party app changes

Evernote – Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary said that her Evernote client will try to sync, but mine won’t even start. This was from a fresh install! That’s alright, I’m not using Evernote at the moment, anyway.

Tweetie – I saw a couple of Twitterati talking about how the app doesn’t work, but it *mostly* works on beta 3. The scroll bar is back (missing in b1) and you can tweet and view just fine. No picture uploading, though, strangely enough. I had to use Icebird to do that. !

Icebird – Speaking of Icebird, the tap-and-hold functionality in the timeline view of the app now works properly in 4.0. Even the developer is happy about this.

Zoom Zoom, Last Last

I’m sure folks say this about every fresh install, but beta 3 certainly seems faster. It also seems to be better in the battery department, but don’t quote me on that — it hasn’t even been a day yet.

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