iOS 4’s small changes [Updated]

Apple’s software engineers constantly make small improvements that enhance the overall experience. Half of the fun of an update is finding the changes that aren’t mentioned during the keynotes. Here’s what I found while exploring iOS 4.

The “End Call” button now simply says “End,” which makes perfect sense as the “call” was redundant. Of course you’re ending the call; there’s no need to name it.

There’s a new swap transition in Mail[1. The transition I noticed between Mail and Safari is a function of fast app switching, and not unique to Mail. I also noticed it when switching between 3rd-party apps from the Tray, and while adding a PDF to iBooks from Mail. Thanks to reader Matt for pointing this out.]. When clicking a web link in a Mail message, iOS 4 switches from Mail to Safari with the swap transition from Keynote. It’s much better than the sudden blackout that used to precede Safari’s opening.

The pinpoint feature in the Maps application is now an arrow instead of a crosshair. It’s in the menu bar, too.

When closing an unsent message in Mail, you’re prompted to “Delete Draft,” “Save Draft” or “Cancel.” I’m pretty sure the option to save topped the list before iOS 4, and the delete button wasn’t red [2. Reader Holger Frohloff sent me this screenshot confirming my memory of how the old buttons were colored and arranged.].

The Photos app remembers the last picture you were looking at and displays it the next time its launched.

Album view in the iPod app now includes album cover art and a shuffle button.

Have you found any that I missed? Let me know and I’ll update the post.

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Update: I don’t know if this one’s new, but I never noticed it before. If you pull down on the bookshelf in iBooks 1.1, you’ll find a hidden Apple logo.

New device images

While we’re waiting for iOS 4’s release, Apple has updated the device images in iTunes. My iPhone is still running 3.1.3, yet the icon shows an iOS 4 screenshot. iOS 4 is expected to begin propagating at 1:00 PM Eastern.

I’m curious if late-model iPod touch owners are seeing the same thing.

Update: Grant Buell confirms the same thing on his 64GB iPod touch.