iOS 4 made its debut several months ago, with the introduction of the iPhone 4, and brought long awaited features, such as folders, and most of all, multitasking. Since then, iPad owners have been patiently waiting for iOS 4 to be ported to their device, but somehow, it took more than 4 months for the iOS development team to finalize the iPad version.
Why did it take that long? Besides the fact that the OS needed to be tweaked to deal with the added real estate, bringing iOS 4.2 to the iPad likely presented a huge challenge with regard to memory management: the iPhone 4 sports a comfortable amount of memory, 512MB of eDRAM, while the iPad only features half of that, 256MB – by today’s standards, 256MB is not much, even for an optimized mobile operating system such as iOS.
Until the release of iOS 4, memory management did not really present an issue on the iPad, as the lack of multitasking helped keep the OS and apps memory footprint low. Now that iOS 4.2 is available to developers, we decided to run some tests to see if the iPad can really handle the new OS, and actually lives up to our expectations. For our tests, we used the exact same iPad, with the exact same apps installed on the device, and performed tests with iOS 3.2.2, then upgraded the iPad to 4.2, and ran the exact same tests. All tests were ran using freshly rebooted iPads (home+sleep keys held until a complete reboot), and we ran the following apps one after the other:
- App Store
- Epic Citadel
- Angry Birds HD
- Cut the Rope HD
- GPS Drive HD
- Air Video
With the iPad running iOS 3.2.2, aMonitor showed the following:
With the same iPad upgraded to iOS 4.2, aMonitor showed the following:
Surprisingly, while the apps we launched on the iPad running iOS 4.2 all appeared on the multitasking bar and were therefore running to some extent, the memory footprint on the upgraded iPad was significantly lower than what we saw with 3.2.2. In other words, it appears that iOS 4.2 is doing a great job at allocating and managing the device’s memory, when compared to the older versions.
Long story short, iOS 4.2 seems to have been worth the wait. Folders, multitasking, and better memory management, there is not much to complain about the new version of the OS. On a side note, rumor has it that next Tuesday is the official launch date for iOS 4.2…