iPhone OS 4.0: What we didn't get

Apple has launched iPhone OS 4.0 -- but what's missing? We line up the things you wanted but didn't get

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
3 min read

Apple has unveiled iPhone 4.0, showing off a hundred new features, including the long-awaited multitasking, improved email and dozens of other features -- but what's missing? We take a look at some of the features users have asked for, or are offered by other phones, that didn't make it into Steve Jobs' announcement.

True multitasking

Multitasking is the holy grail for iPhone users. Apple has taken a step in the right direction by having apps remember what you were doing when you switch to another, and certain processes can continue, such as music playing as you use other apps. It appears, however, that apps won't be able to merrily work away in the background. It's a distinctly Apple take on multitasking, in that it's a locked-down way of doing things.

iPhone 3G compatibility

The iPhone 3G will not support multitasking. Only the iPhone 3GS, the latest iPod touch, and the forthcoming fourth generation of the iPhone will support all the features of the new OS. The next generation of the iPhone is expected in June or July this year.

iPad OS

The iPad OS is based on the iPhone's OS, but with a few knobs on. This includes Bluetooth keyboard support, and extra options for holding the device in different orientations in all functions. The home screen stays in portrait mode when you flip the phone sideways, for example. On the iPad, it flips to landscape when you turn it around. Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to wait for a while before the iPhone does everything the iPad does -- if it ever will. On the flipside, the iPad won't get OS 4 until the autumn.

Message hub

Many phones now offer a single, integrated message hub for your contacts' activities, bringing together not just texts and emails but also social-network updates such as Facebook messages and tweets. The improved email allows you to have multiple emails and easier mail-management, but keeps contacts, mail and social networking in separate apps.

New home screen

Android and the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 rock home screens that are customisable, dynamic portals for information such as messages, weather and what's going on in your world. By contrast, the iPhone's home screen is pretty static, with push notifications the only element that changes.

Better voice control

Google loves voice control for Android phones, including the ability to search your phone or the Web by simply saying what you're after. iPhone users can sweet-talk their phones for some tasks, but not many.


Phones have been pimping profiles for years: the option to adjust lots of settings in one go, depending where you are. This would include quiet settings for work, turning everything off while you're asleep, and so on. On a related note, the fiddly process of turning your Wi-Fi on and off is still a pain in the proverbial -- a button on the home screen would be welcome.

Mass storage capability

You still can't use your iPhone as a glorified USB stick. The iPhone also still doesn't like handling large files over 3G, including downloading applications.

Photo editing

You can now rotate photos taken with your iPhone, but it seems you'll still have to open a third-party app to do something as basic as cropping.


Steve Jobs hates Flash. That means still no Web animation in Safari, while Apple's new in-app advert system, iAd, runs on HTML 5 rather than Flash. Still no Java, either.

Anything else Apple missed? Your thoughts in the comments, ta very much.