When Apple unveiled the features coming to the iPhone software later this year, they released the first of what will be many beta upgrades until the final software ships this summer. There are plenty of iPhone users itching to get a taste of 4.0 through developer registration of their devices but beta testing isn’t half as glamorous as the added features. Here’s why you should wait.
As with any beta software, there are plenty of bugs that haven’t been ironed out. Even with first party apps, you can expect to deal with more app crashes that, if anything, become increasingly annoying with time. Third party apps haven’t been refined for the 4.0 update and you’ll find these non-Apple apps running into more problems than first party apps. Even more, third party developers need to program their apps with the APIs that allow certain app features to continue running in the background. For now, the multitasking task manager that Steve denies exists with iPhone 4.0 is essentially a “recent apps” list in regards to those created by a third party. As the beta matures, there’ll be less bugs and more functionality, especially when developers release 4.0 optimized app upgrades.
Beta Firmware Expiration
If this beta anything similar to last year’s run up to the release of 3.0, Apple will be pushing out regular updates to the beta as often as every two weeks. This means about 6 beta updates until 4.0 goes golden. After a new beta has been released in the dev center for download, the previous version will expire a week or two later. When the expiration occurs, your device will brick and you’ll only see a purple “Connect to iTunes” image. This can happen anywhere, so long as the countdown on that beta expires. You’ll have to find the newest beta firmware before your device will become functional again beyond emergency calling.
No Easy Downgrade Path
The update from 3.1.2 to 4.0 will update your device’s baseband, making it compatible with firmware upgrades of the future. This means restoring your device back to the more stable 3.1.2 will take a bit more work than the traditional firmware restore through iTunes. You’re going to have to download a custom ISWP firmware or edit the host file in the firmware you’re looking to downgrade to. In any case, be sure to do your homework ahead of time and set aside some extra time in case something doesn’t go quite as planned.
Despite all this, many who are dead set on upgrading for the new features are aware of the risks. If your a bit unsure, it might be best to hold off for a more refined beta build or even the summer release. Have you made the jump to 4.0? Are you holding off? Let us know why in the comments.