iPhone OS 4 has over 100 new features. However, some of those features (or all of them) won’t be available on older versions of the iPhone/iPod touch. Wonder how you’ll fare? Read on.


iPhone OS 4 has over 100 new features. However, some of those features (or all of them) won’t be available on older versions of the iPhone/iPod touch. Wonder how you’ll fare? Read on.

iPhone 3GS/iPod touch Third-Gen

Both of these will get full compatibility — the whole shebang. Note that the third-gen iPod will only support all the new features on models with 32 or 64GBs of memory; the 16GB model was really a second-gen iPod, which is discussed below.

iPhone 3G/iPod touch Second-Gen

Some compatibility. Multitasking will not be available due to a lower amount of RAM (128MB vs. 256MB on the newer models) and a slower processor. It’s not clear yet whether multitasking is the only new feature that’ll be missing. Nor is it clear as to whether Apple will be charging iPod touch users a fee to upgrade like it did with the iPhone OS 3.

iPhone/iPod touch First-Gen

Apple hasn’t officially said anything on these two yet, and that’s likely a sign that you won’t be able to run OS 4 at all. At least those of you still using these dinosaurs have a new iPhone to look forward to in June.


Obviously, the just-released iPad will be able to run the new OS. It’s worth mentioning because the update won’t be available until the Fall, which seems like a long time considering that the iPhone and iPod touch are getting the update this summer.

How do you feel about Apple’s compatibility decisions? The inevitable course of progress, or a slap in the face?

  1. I imagine us 3G users wotn see any updates to the camera app either, such as the zoom function.

  2. I just want it to be released nowwwwwwwwwwwww!

    I have no patience for such things when you wake up early in the morning to find what the keynote was about!

    1. I so much agree with you. Sometimes knowing what’s coming is worse than just waiting for it without any clues.

      I’m still waiting for the iPad in Canada since the keynote in January!

  3. The second gen iPod touch (and im assuming the iPhone 3g as well) can not (as of the current 4.0 build) change the homescreen wallpaper.

  4. im posting lots of screenshots of 4.0 on my twitter (@qwertywelch) get them while they’re hot

  5. My needs are modest. Just give me Bluetooth keyboard support for my 2-G iPad touch, and I’ll not quibble over what other features are or are not included.

    But since many users who bought new iPhones and iPod touches last year can’t benefit from 4.0’s most powerful feature, multitasking, the upgrade should be a freebie (at least for them). That’ll make being left out a bit more palatable.

  6. Thats Correct, the zoom function is not available on the 3G. Curiously, the ability to put a wallpaper on the home screen is missing too, but this is very buggy, Images transferred from iPhoto arent appearing on the lock screen, even though you can set them

    1. 3G does support zoom on the camera. Touch the live image and the zoom pops up on the bottom.

      1. U sure??

  7. The 1st gen iPod touch and iPhone may be considered “dinosaurs”, but they have the exact same CPU and RAM as the iPhone 3G.

    I don’t see any other reason of Apple not supporting them besides money… they want us to upgrade our devices.

    1. Walt French Friday, April 9, 2010

      Many have less memory, and by now all the original iPhones are off their lock-in and can be upgraded for a pretty modest price.

      OTOH, they could supposedly upgrade the OS and probably have a somewhat slower overall experience (more code in a small amount of storage), that still can’t multi-task. Not a lot of gain for the user.

      Meanwhile, Apple would have to support the platform, for probably very few end users, because not many would bother to upgrade. Further, I’ll wager that a large share have been handed down to kids, who jailbroke them and are running on T-Mo, and don’t care about Apple features.

      We don’t know what the iPhone HD or whatever is coming this summer will offer. It might tilt the calculus even farther towards “anybody with a Gen1 who cares about 4.0 features will upgrade.

      Oh, and BTW: pretty much industry standard practice. Win6.5 phones being sold today — and maybe, for at least the rest of this year — will NOT be upgradable to Win7Phone s/w. Just like anything else electronic, or even automobiles: evaluate your buying decisions based on your current needs and somewhat about promised upgrades, not a sense that Mother will take care of you even as an adult.

      1. Totally agree. Supporting an old platform is far more complicated than just running new software.

  8. I’m reserving my judgment until I’m certain there’s a new phone coming in summer as well (you know what they say about assumptions!). As a 3G user, I will be very annoyed to have to “upgrade” to a year-old phone (3GS) to get all the new features.

    If there’s a new phone this summer, and the cost structure is similar to the 3GS last summer, I will have no problem upgrading…

    1. There will be a new iPhone this summer, most likely in July after WWDC 2010. In most likelyhood they will reveal the new phone at that event.

    2. Simon White Friday, April 9, 2010

      “(you know what they say about assumptions!).”

      They make an ass out of u and mptions?


  9. Apple’s backwards compatibility is driven by hardware evolution and nowhere near as limiting as MS Windows versions which obsolete PCs every time anything changes. Other phones can’t be upgraded at all. So, I have no problem with this. I like the new, higher mileage engines offered by auto companies, but it never occurs to me or anyone to gripe that I can’t drop a new 280HP block into a three year old car that came with a 175HP engine. Besides, the older iPhones are as good as they ever were and with a few new features for free, they are even better. I have a 3GS and will enjoy the new OS, but if the new iPhone unit is really cool, I’ll sell my GS to someone who can’t upgrade their G. We all win.

    1. Great analogy and totally agree.

      I hated when I had a Windows Mobile device and at every new OS update I either had to replace the hardware to be able to use it or kept running the old version.

      Apple gives their hardware a great run for the money. I have a 3G iPhone. Depending on the features of the new phone I will upgrade. Going from the 3G to the 3GS wasn’t worth it for me.

    2. isuquinndog Friday, April 9, 2010

      Ashley, I’ll buy your 3GS when the upgrade comes since I have a 3G! I want my mutlitasking!

  10. i have a iphone 3g and it doesnt bother me that it wont have multi tasking because i have been waiting to get a new iphone that comes out this year and i skipped the 3gs because it wasnt that much of a upgrade from the 3g. The new iphone will have OS 4 and better hardware. So I can’t wait until the summer to get the new iphone.

    1. Simon White Friday, April 9, 2010

      Same here really. I had the original iPhone and upgraded to the 3G. I’ve skipped the 3GS and also can’t wait to see the iPhone 4


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