Why the iPhone 3G Lacks Backgrounds in iOS 4

Yesterday saw a pretty big launch in terms of OS upgrades. iOS 4 was introduced for iPhone 3G, 3GS as well as newer gen iPod Touch devices.

The 3GS managed to get all the features working but the 3G lacks a few things. One of the big ones was multitasking which we have known about for a long time. Another feature is backgrounds. This is one that a number of people couldn’t figure out as it is thought that using backgrounds wouldn’t require much from the iPhone 3G.

A Gizmodo reader called Erica decided to ask the top man himself, Steve Jobs at Apple [AAPL] about why this is the case…

Hey Steve! I just upgraded my iPhone 3G to iOS 4 and was really looking forward to setting a background on my home screen. Guess that’s not happening, but I’d like to know why.

See, I get why you don’t include multitasking. My iPhone gets pretty hot when certain apps run, couldn’t imagine how multitasking would fry my phone.

But the background thing, I don’t see how that would be memory intensive and/or battery draining. It doesn’t seem like that feature needs to be exclusive to the 3GS and 4G.

I hope this email finds you in good health.


Steve actually replied to this email and said the following…

The icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough.

It seems like the iPhone 3G is really getting on a bit now. When iOS 5 launches no doubt the 3G won’t get the update, the 3GS will get the “limited” update and the iPhone 4 will run it just fine. We don’t expect to be seeing iOS 5 any time soon though, so you should be good for another 12 – 18 months at least!

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