With the release of the iPhone 3G, there has been quite a buzz about the new iPhone's hardware improvements, as well as a small number of features from iPhone 2.0 that have received particular emphasis (especially the App Store). While iPhone 2.0 may seem at first glance like it is just a compatibility update, make no mistake- iPhone 2.0 is almost as significant an improvement over iPhone 1.x as Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" was over Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther." With so many other articles focusing on the same aspects you've probably already read about, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the unsung enhancements found in iPhone 2.0.
1. Zoom, zoom, zoom! The new version of Safari Mobile enables you to pinch-zoom in much farther than the version in iPhone 1.x. This is very handy for when you are trying to mash your fingers on a small object that is hard to hit precisely.
2. Don't Forget The Lyrics! iPhone 2.0 enables you to see lyrics for music videos, in addition to lyrics for audio-only tracks. Although other iPods have been able to do this for some time, iPhone 1.x had a long-standing bug that prevented lyrics from showing up for music videos (although lyrics for audio tracks worked).
3. Speed! Yes, everyone knows by now that 3G is faster than EDGE. But not many people have mentioned that iPhone 2.0 has been massively optimized since the last version. iPhone 1.x had a tendency to lag behind your taps to the point of feeling downright sluggish at times, but iPhone 2.0 is MUCH more responsive, even on the original iPhone.
4. Videos! iPods and iPhones have long used an interface in which music videos need to be accessed through video mode in order to see the video; accessing the videos through the regular artist/album section would play them as audio tracks without actually showing the video. This tended to be a pretty major source of confusion/anger/small riots. Well, iPhone 2.0 software now shows music videos as videos, no matter what mode you access them. This is the kind of feature that will make diehard iPhone 1.x users exclaim "Holy ^&*#!" This also enables you to watch videos in portrait orientation in addition to landscape, if you should want to for some strange reason, and you can still access the critical features of "audio-only" mode, such as viewing the lyrics.
5. Editor failed to write number 5 because he was playing Super Monkey Ball.
6. Over The Air But Under The Limit The 10 MB limit for OTA purchases from the App Store does not apply to purchases made over WiFi. I was able to purchase, download, and install a 35 MB app directly to my iPhone over a WiFi connection.
7. Just Say No To Bugs The iPod module of iPhone 1.x had some pretty severe bugs that persisted even after multiple updates to the iPhone's software. For example, under iPhone 1.x, if you tried to use "less than perfect" video files (for example, TV shows recorded with an EyeTV, which can have occasional glitches due to reception and other issues), fast forwarding these files was very problematic. Often, after an attempt to fast forward the video, the playback would simply freeze for about 5 seconds and then abort altogether. iPhone 1.x also would not allow you to rewind if your video was paused - you would have to hit play first, and then rewind. Bugs like this were so annoying that I was beginning to prefer my iPod nano for video playback over my iPhone, even with its microscopic screen. In iPhone 2.0, these bugs have finally been fixed, contributing to a faster and more stable experience overall.