10 Things Not to Expect in iPhone OS 4


With the Apple Event less than a day away, there’s no shortage of speculation and wish lists for iPhone OS 4, but what about less optimistic lists? For the jaded Apple (s aapl) fan, there’s no reason to wait until tomorrow to start bitterly complaining about what should have been in iPhone OS today.

Not that most Apple fans will be complaining, but expect the continued lack of Flash to be widely reported tomorrow. Some complain that HTML5 lacks the tools that Flash has, and that’s true. Too bad.

For the rest of us, there will be far more annoying features missing in iPhone OS 4. Here are ten of them.

  1. Wireless Syncing: Perhaps Apple has usage data showing most people charge their devices by plugging them into computers, that wireless syncing is the kind of “complexity” Apple eschews, or maybe it’s greed. After all, MobileMe is Apple’s wireless syncing option at $99 a year.
  2. Tethering: It’s been promised in one form or another for years, but we will never see iPhone tethering in the US. The last chance for that died with the 3G iPad. Both Apple and AT&T (s att) would rather have consumers buy a new device and plan than have tethering as an iPhone add-on.
  3. Mobile Finder: Considering the moribund state of the Finder in OS X, don’t expect a file management initiative on casual computing devices. For good or ill, mostly ill, iTunes is the new Finder for mobile devices.
  4. iPad User Accounts: Clearly, Apple does not care about traditional families, because after monetary problems I believe the lack of user accounts for the iPad will be the single greatest cause of divorce in 2010. Unfortunately, every user account on an iPad is potentially one less iPad sold, so forget it.
  5. Unlocked Bluetooth: Sad to say, but Apple letting the iPad use any Bluetooth keyboard is good news. The iPhone and the iPod touch can’t even do that, just headphones, and Apple isn’t going to relinquish control now.
  6. Custom Lockscreen: After three years of seeing the time and date, it’s hard to imagine Apple allowing users the ability to see e-mail or text messages, or the weather, or news headlines without at least swiping first. Of course, we are allowed iPod controls, so we should probably be grateful for that.
  7. Apple Todo App: Even if you pay for MobileMe to wirelessly sync you personal information, you won’t be getting your tasks from iCal. Again, after three years, it’s hard to imagine that changing.
  8. Apple Notes Redesign: Instead of a text editing tool like WriteRoom, we get cartoon icons on a yellow paper background and Marker Felt font. Obviously, Steve Jobs does not use Notes.
  9. Delete Default Apps: It’s a small thing, but why not allow the removal of the default weather app, or stock app, or the horror that is Notes? Who knows, but after three years, not happening.
  10. iPhone OS Moniker: Why not call OS X “iMac OS” or “MacBook OS”? Because it would be stupid, just like iPhone OS for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is stupid. How about iOS, or OS X Mobile, or OS touch? Looking at the invitations for the iPhone OS 4 preview, that’s not going to happen, but it should.

That’s my bullet list of bile for what not to expect in iPhone OS 4. How about yours?



heres what I want to see…

customizable mail signatures to be able to include jpegs

and multiple email signatures to choose from…as much I love

sent from my iPhone and sent from my iPad

there should be the option to customize them because if you are sending business emails they should be professional and if you are sending personal emails they won’t have to be

two cents


Jobs sucks, why the hell can’t I sync my phone over wifi?? The minute I’m in range the thing should just sync – in the background… Instead of waiting on apple how about someone develop a wireless USB port…


it’s because he has a personal grudge against you and is at this very moment sitting at home laughing an evil laugh about your misfortune


they ought to name that OS the money machine for all the reasons you have stated above plus the itunes store, the App store and the ebook store


Well, you were mostly right, except for Bluetooth keyboard support. I suppose that you could get partially round the no-deleting-native-apps problem now by shoving them all in a folder, so at least they only take up a single space.


“Both Apple and AT&T would rather have consumers buy a new device and plan than have tethering as an iPhone add-on.”

Clearly Apple doesn’t want you to be able to tether, since they allow it in every country.

It’s AT&T who’s not letting U.S. users have tethering. Direct your complaints to them.


Re: Charles Jade’s comment: “Regarding what constitutes a missing feature, as far as I’m concerned that would be anything promised and not delivered, including tethering.”

You’re still wrong, though, completely and utterly. It’s in the OS. It’s on my (Canadian) iPhone, and I’ve just gotten an update from my carrier this week that they’re officially making it an ongoing free feature. Other posters have made similar comments. It’s a carrier issue, pure and simple. Period.

So of COURSE you’re not going to see tethering as an update in iPhone OS V4. It’s already in the OS, so direct your pissiness at AT&T instead.


iPhone is clearly the best smartphone you can buy. Apple rolls out features when they work, not because you want a buggy OS.

I’d much prefer a MiFi App vs. Tethering.

Charles Jade

Regarding tethering, it is a problem in the US, and it has been promised by AT&T, and also the subject of one of those terse e-mails by Steve Jobs. It’s one thing to deny or even ignore a possible feature, quite another to promise and not deliver.


This is quite poor Charles.

How is this a missing feature by the iPhone OS?

It’s not missing is it? Doesn’t belong on this list. And I can’t believe you’ve written such a poor article. It is as if a TROLL wrote the article just to get a rise out of people. Which is a bad trend a lot of journalists and blogs apply just to get readership.

Do the decent thing and apologise.

Charles Jade

If I were trolling wouldn’t you be guilty of “feeding the troll,” which is a form of trolling itself, isn’t it? :D Obviously, you are not trolling, and neither am I. We are having a discussion, though it would be nicer to have it without you calling me names and impugning my motives.

Regarding what constitutes a missing feature, as far as I’m concerned that would be anything promised and not delivered, including tethering.

Ryan Thompson

Right, but that’s not Apple’s problem, nor is it their fault. Apple delivered tethering, a year ago. So your argument is not only invalid, but it’s rather silly. Don’t expect what is already there? I use the tethering daily, and in Canada, it’s free to boot.
Actually, after the first item, most of these are in the who cares realm. Folders, multitasking, playlists are cool. A new moniker is just plain dumb there, Chucky.


To be fair the tethering is a US only (read AT&T) problem because here in the uk we’ve had tethering since 3.0 (though only for contract customers).
I agree that the OS should have a name change but just to something simple like iPOS as iPad, iPhone and iPod are all iP, same as the thinking behind iPA (iPhone/iPod/iPad application) which would prob explain the reasons behind choosing iPad as a name, though this wouldn’t be evident unroll we knew it was using iPhone OS


The tethering issue must be some limitation AT&T pressed into the deal with Apple. I live in Norway and I can tether through Bluetooth and USB.
I’we been talking to friends in Sweden, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, UK, France and Brazil – they all have the option on their iPhones.


this stinks of anti-fanboyism.

to your list:

  1. Wireless syncing: It takes quite a long time over a fast usb connection, and puts the iPhone on a syncing screen. What would be the avantage of walking about with an iPhone that doesnt do anything while it syncs even slower?

  2. Tethering: Tethering was A) announced with iphone OS3 and B) made available by some carriers. Here in the UK I can tether my iPhone to my computer, for an exccessive fee. Do your bloody homework.

  3. Mobile Finder: With the ‘my documents’ section on the iPad, maybe we will have some form of document management on the iPhone, but a mobile finder is not needed for that anyway.

  4. iPad user accounts: Does you’re non-Apple smartphone give you more than one user account? does your iPhone? does your ipod touch? has anyone ever complained about it? Not that Ive ever heard of. As far as I know its not even been mentioned by any writers. Just you in your whinge. Kudos.

  5. Unlocked Bluetooth: Headphone controls are not bluetooth, they are through a phono cable. OS3 introduced more bluetooth functionality, so why is it actually so out of the question that they could do that again?

  6. Custom lock screen: Do you really want to avoid using your iPhone at every turn, even so much as to not even open it to have a look at things?

  7. Apple ToDo App: I have one, its called Done! it was 59p, I’m fairly sure you can afford that.

  8. Apple Notes Redesign: Personally, I like the notes app. Its simple, and just like scribbling in a notepad. What do you actually want it to look like?! A blank white screen with text on it? Because that would be notepad on windows, and that is an actual eyesore.

  9. Delete Default Apps: The weather app is one of the best looking apps for weather on the iPhone, so its my go to app. the stocks app i just shove to the back. The stocks app is the only one i dont use, and is surrounded by 64 other apps. Im not that desperate for iPhone home screen real estate that It needs deleting.

  10. Are you REALLY that bothered about the name of the iPhone OS? how often do you sit there and think about how awful it is? When you need something to write about?

Overall, stop whinging about what isnt there. If you want all these ‘fantastic’ features, start making jailbreak apps and jailbreak your iPhone. Apple work hard to give you features, If I were Steve I’d give you a slapping and tell you to jog on!


1) Wireless Syncing
It really depends on what you’re used to. If you’re used to plugging in an MP3 player or Camera or phone to charge then this may seem daft. But I’ve had Wireless Syncing on my PDA for years, and it’s definately something I miss with my iPhone. In a hot desking environment, I’ve just found it weird not to have it.

2) Tethering.
Yes it works in the UK, but O2 have changed pricing plans for it 4 times in 18 months, on the whole making it useless – but thats not the point. The original author specified “in the US”. L2Read?

3) Mobile Finder

Again, this depends on what you use your iPhone for. I personally miss this from my PDA.

6) The author didn’t say they never wanted to use their screen. But its not a shock that some people want to see certain data over others at a glanch, and without multiple kepstrokes/swipes. Heck right now I’d settle for the lock screen telling me HOW MANY emails I had, rather than me checking constantly in meetings.

7) It’s great that you decided to pay for an app thts natice on all other phones / operating systems. The author’s point was that somethign this basic should be included as standard. Many business users agree.

8) Personally, I find the Notes app very childish looking. And no-meta data input isn’t useful either.

9) The author didn’t mention what these apps look like. I agree that the weather App looks great, but I never ever use it. Same with stocks, compass, calculator, voice memos, youtube, itunes and rarely do I use maps.

The inability to delete apps that I don’t use (ever) just seems redundant. If you’re teh sort of person with 60+ apps I can see how you’re used to just ignoring things. Not everyone is the same.

10) I’m not bothered about the name, but changin it every 18 months is a pain, an iOS isn’t overly helpful or informative either.

The original poster makes some good points from his/her point of view. Maybe you should be a little more tollerant, and a little less fanboy like?

Ulf Nilsson

Just adding to the issue on tethering. Since OS3 already supports that, it is not an issue for Apple but for the carrier (i.e. AT&T). In Sweden, where the networks are actuyally built to handle PS data, tethering has always been possible .


tethering has been around for over a year now, get over it, the issue here has nothing to do with apple, as I have been enjoying tethering since it was released, but rather is directly a fault of your carrier.

But lighten up I never got to enjoy that beautiful visual voicemail so I guess things even out…


Ahh, “Visual Voicemail”. I’m on Optus in Australia. We have tethering but no visual voicemail, Optus won’t provide it. I’d gladly give up tethering and have visual voicemail instead; that would be more useful to me.


I would gladly have both! remember when the iPhone first came out, visual voicemail was one of the main selling points. I assume thought that AT&T made some great compromises to implement this, and apple could not convince any other carrier to go along with that. Sadly, since this is such a great feature for dodging exes and stalkers…


There are levels of bluetooth. He might mean adding support for keyboards or wireless syncing or stereo headphones (not sure if that’s currently supported or not) etc…


No, it doesn’t seem harsh :) I raised it as a question really, it wasn’t meant to be a statement.

Thanks for the info, I wasn’t sure about stereo headphones as I haven’t tried it. But I was fairly certain that keyboards didn’t work. I’d like to be wrong.

P.S. The link doesn’t work :(



No, I don’t mean wireless syncing. I don’t know why I mentioned it, as it’s a silly idea. Syncing is slow enough now over the cable; first it takes forever to back up, then it updates all your music and movies and then takes forever to upload new application updates. So WiFi syncing would hurt and it would be even worse on bluetooth.


Simple tip to change the font on Notes: Add another language.

I use the Chinese input from time to time and after switching back to English, my font has transformed into something that does not cause my eyes to bleed.

One touch to switch to Chinese, one stroke, delete, two touches to switch back to English in a nice font.

It’s an extra 5 touches, but so so worth it.

Here is a nice demo: http://theappleblog.com/2008/10/28/change-notes-font-on-iphone-ipod-touch/


By your logic, you’re saying that Apple will introduce nothing new tomorrow because specific features have been the same for three years.
Just because Apple, “after three years” has not implemented a tasks app doesn’t mean “it’s hard to imagine that changing.”
For two years, Apple did not support copy and paste, but they introduced it to the iPhone last year. That wasn’t so far fetched.


This sounds a lot like a 13 year old whining.

I live in Australia and I’ve had my old 3G tethered for quite a while now. The phone can do it! So stop complaining.

It’s just AT&T that won’t let you. Go an whine to them.

Rare Logic

Wow. Grow up. Since when do you guys write entries like a pre-teen complaining about not being able to stay up past 11.30pm.

Some of your points are valid but whining doesn’t get you anywhere.


I’m wary of dogmatic statements made the day before a huge announcement on a tech blog. You MAY be right, but you better be prepared to eat your words. I hear they go well with Tabasco.


A co-worker of mine said Windows Mobile used to have wireless syncing but it was removed because enterprises did not want phones connecting to users computers wirelessly. Microsoft is huge in the enterprise, so they removed that feature. It’s a feature he used to love and now hates that he has to hook his phone to his computer with a USB cable. I don’t know if Apple would add that capability if they want the iPhone/iPad to gain traction in the enterprise, but maybe they’ll add it and enable enterprises to disable it.

Alejandro Perez

FYI Thethering is not an Iphone Issue its a Cellular Data Provider Issue, NO tethering in USA, MEXICO, And other places due to the company not letting you,and have nothing to do with the phone itself. In the UK O2 allows you to Tether. via a service provider update for the phone via itunes.


I’m fine with them not offering a tethering option. I don’t use it much so I don’t feel guilty about having it enabled on my phone. And of course I don’t have to pay for it.

As far as everything else I agree. Notes is the stupidest, most unapple thing Apple has ever done. God it’s horrendous.

In regards to wireless syncing; I think it’s quite possible. Most people are not syncing entire song libraries every single day. They’re syncing maybe a new album, maybe a couple meg application and some contact info. I think it’s a viable possibility and one they can implement to run in the background.


I don’t know, I have a feeling that lots of the “Hasn’t happened in 3 years, won’t ever” points could change now because of the iPad. I read somewhere the iPad might have shipped with iPhone OS 3.2 only because it wasn’t refined enough for the January event. Now, 2 and a half months later, iPhone OS 4 is ready to be announced, and might fix some of the holes in the iPad. This mostly applies to points 4 and 6. User accounts would be perfect for the iPad, and everyone (including Jonny Ives) thinks the unlock screen looks ridiculous on the iPad.


You don’t think that after three years, perhaps it might actually happen? I understand your skepticism, but arguing that since three years have gone by and it hasn’t happened it means that it isn’t going to happen seems a bit flawed.

Charles Jade

I think it depends on whether there is a discernible reason, like getting the user interface right with copy-and-paste. What’s the reason for no wireless synchronizing, the missing todo application, or the existence of Notes? Apple also has a long and mercurial history towards development: Front Row, iChat, Dashboard, DVD Player. Those are just a couple off the top of my head that have become abandonware. I’ll be glad to be wrong, but the only anti-prediction I think I might be wrong on is a new name for iPhone OS. I could see that being introduced at the end, like Apple dumping the “computer” from the company name in 2007.


Valid points but I remain optimistic that apple, especially with this huge push for mobile computing, will want to run a tighter ship. I think we’ll see less things fall by the wayside as they strive to remain ahead of the game. Or maybe that’s just what I hope.


what about Contivity VPN to allow corporate users to connect to their company.


You are dead on with all of these items we will never see on an iDevice. I especially agree with your Number 10 item, they should rename the OS. I think it should be called iSAAC OS X. If the iBooks name could live on as an app, they shouldn’t have a problem giving the platform a name in reference to Newton.

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