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iOS 4.2 Feature No One Is Talking About

by Tom Moccia | December 13, 2010December 13, 2010 10:00 am PDT

With the recent release of iOS 4.2 for Apple’s mobile devices, there have been many new features discussed amongst the tech world. AirPrint and AirPlay have garnered the biggest props as now mobile devices are integrated more seamlessly into users total office package. Enhanced enterprise support, along with distinct SMS/MMS tones have been another welcome feature, just as iPad multitasking, folders and unified iPad inbox. These improvements have brought the iPad right up to the iPhone in relation to feature set. In essence iOS 4.2 has resulted in one unified iOS for all Apple mobile devices.

There is one feature of iOS 4.2 that seems to have gone under-reported considering the uproar 2276concerning signal performance in the past and I’m quite surprised.  It seems that iOS 4.2 remedies some of the signal hogging issues of past software versions.

Some background is in order here. AT&T has been getting the brunt of the complaints concerning cellular performance, not only on the iPhone, but with other devices they service. While this has been well documented, what has not been so public is that AT&T has expressed concern to Apple in the past concerning the iPhone’s tendency to create signal congestion on the network. That has changed in iOS 4.2, and Nokia testing has confirmed that Apple has lowered iPhone power consumption by implementing heavy signaling instead of keeping a radio channel open constantly.

Tests conducted by Nokia Siemens’ Smart Lab in Finland shows that Apple’s iOS 4.2 uses a new standard of transmission called “fast dormancy”, which is also known as “network-controlled fast dormancy”. This new standard sets certain specifications on how the phone switches between idle and active modes, thus reducing network congestion, and as a by product, increasing battery life.

It seems that this has not been such an issue on European networks due to their more robust signaling capacity derived from their early adoption of SMS and MMS.

I personally don’t have battery issues as I typically just plug my iPhone in when I hop in the car, resulting in a full charge when I reach my destination, causing me to have not noticed the difference in battery life. I would think the alleviation of network congestion would go less noticed by the average user, but I will take note of performance when I am in problem areas around town and notate any variations.

Have you noticed increased network performance or longer battery life since you updated to iOS 4.2? I’m curious to know if you have seen any changes.


Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...

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