iOS 4.1 officially hit recently with claims that it would address the problems that iPhone 3G models had running iOS 4. As an iPhone 3G owner, running 4.0 has been a soul-crushing experience. The once snappy interface of the iPhone was reduced to turtle-like speeds. Apple’s own apps, like the iPod app, became crashy with 4.0. So how is life with 4.1?
Using some informal tests, the 3G is still pretty slow compared to the old days, but seems a little snappier and more stable with 4.1 compared to 4.0. Since upgrading to 4.1, the iPod app hardly crashes, although it does occasionally become unresponsive for short periods.
The camera interface is still amazingly slow. Tests using two iPhone 3G models saw OS 3.1.2’s camera ready to shoot a picture approximately two seconds before the iOS 4.1 model. If you would like to capture a spontaneous moment with the iPhone 3G’s camera app while running iOS 4 or higher, then you should look elsewhere or hope that spontaneous happening reoccurs immediately.
I’ve read that iOS 4.1 brings Game Center, but I wouldn’t know about that firsthand since it is not available on the 3G. Also not available on the 3G is HDR photography. As a consolation prize, Ping and iTunes $0.99 rentals are available in the iTunes app. Ping needs to be set up on iTunes 10 and can’t be accessed on the iPhone until then. Neither of these two features are compelling reasons to upgrade.
So what’s the moral of the story? iOS 4.1 is a little better than iOS 4.0 on the iPhone 3G, but the update does not make the 3G as fast as it once seemed. iOS fans may want to either jump to the iPhone 4 or the newest iPod touch to have a quick and snappy device again. For those of you who want to stick to your 3G, you might want to find a way back to iOS 3.