One feature of iOS4 that is yet to receive a great deal of coverage is the changes to the dictionary used for autocorrect. Unsurprising really, but for a grammar pedant such as myself, I find it rather interesting.
All of those who live outside Reading (whichever way you look at it - that’s got to be the majority of Apple’s customer base) will be greatly relieved to find that the iPhone no longer corrects ‘reading’ to ‘Reading’. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that even if you are a regular visitor to Reading, you probably use the word ‘reading’ more often. It’s great that this weird foible has been sorted. Well done Apple.
Of course, in return, there are some equally ridiculous decisions. Why, in Jobs’ name would you ever need the word ‘white’ autocorrected to ‘White’? And yet this is what the new OS does, apparently system-wide, regardless of context.
And why, if you start a text with ‘Me’ does it autocorrect to ‘Mr’? I quite regularly agree with people by saying ‘Me too’ or ‘Me neither’ but I am yet to find any circumstance in which I’ve started any text with ‘Mr’. It’s just not that formal a medium.
One correction that people might like to include in this collection is actually rather sensible. The iPhone always corrects ‘its’ to ‘it’s’. Now, I realise that sometimes ‘its’ is the right form of the word, so I’m not saying that it’s right to correct your grammar on all these occasions. However, typing ‘it’s’ on the iPhone is a pain. It requires you to pop into the punctuation keyboard, and for a word that common it’s far more effort than it’s worth. What Apple have done is to make the more time-consuming word the default, and if you don’t want it in a particular situation, just cancel the correction. Similarly, it always corrects the word ‘wont’ to ‘won’t’. The word ‘wont’ is a great word, and I use it a lot, as is my wont, but I’d still rather the iPhone autocorrected to the more popular, and more widely used alternative.
But ‘White’? Even if it was your own surname, I’m not sure that that autocorrection would save you any time.
O2 have followed suit from AT&T in the US and made their data plans for the iPhone. Although this has caused a lot of fuss, personally I don’t think it’s a particularly big deal.
Firstly, they’re not changing any contract that you’re signed up to - it only applies to new contracts. They’re perfectly entitled to change that if they want to. If what they offer’s not as good as you can find elsewhere, go elsewhere (if you can find anything better. I imagine the other networks that offer unlimited data will follow suit).
Secondly, 500Mb a month (which is the amount for the lower-end pay monthly deals) is still a pretty hefty amount. I used 2.1Gb in the last two and a half years. I’m not an insane user of data, but I’m also not a particularly light one. O2 say this change will only affect 3% of users and that seems entirely believable.
Of course, if you are using more than that per month, and you wish to change your contract by upgrading, then you’re losing a pretty cushy deal. However, it’s a deal that the other users are paying for, to some degree, through poorer 3G reception. If you’re a 3G user in the UK, you know the networks are already straining at the edges. It doesn’t seem unfair that those using the largest amounts of data will have to pay more. However, I doubt that this change in contracts will bring about any noticeable improvement in 3G reception, but I can dream.
The only real issue with all this is when it comes to tethering. I haven’t seen one way or the other whether tethering charges are going to be either dropped entirely or reduced dramatically, but if your data is capped, what’s the justification for charging for tethering? It’s data that’s essentially already paid for, why can’t you use it?
Opera are apparently looking to make a version of their mobile web browser for the iPhone. Although I’m as intrigued as the next person to see whether Apple approve it (my guess is that they probably will), I don’t think it’s worth getting too excited about. The fact is that whether they approve it or not, they’ll never allow it to be the default browser on the phone, and 90% of the time I get to web pages in mobile Safari because I’ve been referred to them through other apps.
This means that even if I used Opera a lot of the time, I’d still need to keep both Opera and Safari on my homescreen, and frankly, I almost certainly wouldn’t.
I realise that this is something firmly within Apple’s power to change, but they won’t, and if you think they will, you’re kidding yourself.