While HP may not have killed webOS when it cancelled webOS hardware, it certainly stuck the knife in it and twister really, really hard -- and every webOS user, Palm loyalist, and PreCentral.net reader felt it. Some might choose to stick with it, to see if HP's incompetence can somehow be turned around by a forward thinking, hardware genius licensor, but others might have finally had enough. If you're one of those, the dedicated, the abused, we think Apple's iOS and iPhone and iPad hardware might be the perfect thing to salve your wounds and restore your sense of gadget wonder.
We've got 960x640 retina displays, easy-peasy FaceTime video calling, high quality 5 megapixel, back-illuminated camera that shoots 720p 30fps video, the massive update that's iOS 5 just down the road. And hey, if you're worried about moving over your personal data like contacts, finding apps, getting used to the differences, and wondering where to get help -- Relax. You're in the the right place. Here's everything you need to know (more properly, everything the <a href=http://forums.imore.com/iphone-forum/191973-official-switching-palm-webos-iphone-4-thread.html">TiPb iPhone Forums have taught us) about switching to iPhone and iPad.
When half of Apple's original iPhone team left for Palm to make the webOS, maybe you went with them? Or maybe you're a loyalist who stuck with Palm from Treo to Pre or Centro to Pixi or Veer and never even considered an iPhone until now? No worries. You'll feel right at home. Mostly.
The biggest similarity between iOS and webOS is that they both share a sense of design -- of taste and elegance, of great user interface and experience. webOS certainly handles many things better, including the brilliant Card and Stack metaphors, but overall iOS is clean, consistent, and arguably has the best fit and finish in the business.
But taste only matters if you can get your stuff done.
Hopefully if you're using something called webOS your personal info is all store up in the cloud. If so, you should have no trouble getting it onto your iPhone. Just like the pioneering Pre, iOS 4 can handle multiple ActiveSync accounts, including Exchange proper as well as Google Sync's implementation for Gmail. Just tap the Settings icon on the Home Screen, tap Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, choose Exchange, and enter your credentials.
If ActiveSync isn't to your fancy, you can tap Other and set up pretty much any POP3 or IMAP account you have in your collection, and MobileMe, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, and anything else you can think of.
You can also load up any webmail account you like in the Safari web browser, including gmail.com, if that's how you want to roll.
And you can access all of it in iOS 4's unified inbox and threaded email client.
There's nothing as stupendous as Synergy built into iOS -- yet. Though the previously mentioned Exchange, Google, and MobileMe contacts, calendars, and email can live together in quasi-synergistic fashion, they're still all masters of their own separate domains. If you install the Facebook app [iTunes link] you can get some contact sync going on there as well (as can LinkedIn and other social apps). Other apps, like Orbit [iTunes link] can pull together your Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email, etc. contacts and let you assign different "volumes" to them so you can manage the level of interruption.
iOS has a highly abstracted version of multitasking that, for mainstream users, would be indistinguishable from the real thing were it not for the great battery life and overall snappiness. Rather than Cards, you double click the Home button and the fast app switcher UI appears so you can quickly get to other apps (which can now save state so you go back to where you left them). But hey, if you find yourself missing Cards, just launch the Safari browser and hit the icon for Page view. It's visually almost identical, though it lacks the ability to flick a page away to remove it.
And yes, since iOS 4, navigation, VoIP, and streaming music Pandora or Slacker-style can all multitask away blissfully in the background.
HP webOS is the most developer friendly platform in the business bar none. They make Google seem closed and stodgy by comparison. But what Apple lacks in free-as-in-speech open App Store gates, they make up for in sheer tonnage of free-as-in-beer App Store goodness. And often at dollar store prices. Sure, there's a lot of CrApps in with those apps, but with hundreds of thousands and growing there's also a huge amount of incredibly good, incredibly native, apps and games.
As Steve Jobs himself will tell you, Apple also supports HTML5 as a second, completely open platform. And they support it better than any other platform -- you can even add them as icons to the iOS Home Screen so they're full on first class citizens, complete with no browser chrome and offline cashing. If you can't find something in the App Store, chances are you can find it as a web app for the iPhone.
There's no manufacturer supported rooting on iPhone, and no ultra-cool Konami code to enter developer mode, and no encouraged patching of any kind. (Apple says "stop it" and would give the EFF noogies if they could.)
If you want to get into the root jail of your iPhone, you need to break it -- hence, Jailbreak. If you want to side load apps outside the App Store, you need to use the Jailbreak app store, Cydia. Now, if you don't understand what any of this means, just skip along to the next section, we'll be there waiting. If you're a diehard themer and patcher, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled to our Jailbreak section, and more importantly -- our Jailbreak Help Forum, and Jailbreak Apps, Games, and Themes Forum.
You won't be able to shave or cut cheese with the iPhone keyboard -- because it's virtual. If you believe the urban legend, former Palm CEO, Jon Rubenstein, back when he was still a VP at Apple, vigorously disagreed with Steve Jobs about the iPhone not having a physical keyboard. Hence, the Pre and Veer both have physical keyboards.
And that's okay. Just not on the iPhone. Apple likes their keys virtual so they go away when you don't need them (without creaking, oreo'ing, popping batteries, or coming to the rescue when virtual keyboards just won't do). On the plus side, if you're multilingual or international, the iPhone keyboard can easily be switched to any alphabet, script, stroke, or pictographic symbol you want to use. It can also become optimized for numbers, games, or pretty much anything you (technically, a developer) can think of.
Best of all, if you really miss your physical keyboard,you can tether up a Bluetooth one and knock email -- and yourself -- out.
Remember back when Palm was trying and ultimately failing to hack the Pre into iTunes? Us neither. Anyway, with iPhone, you're a first (and only) class citizen with full keys to Apple's media kingdom. Enjoy.
You may have dismissed iOS before because of the iTunes tether. Come October, Apple's cutting the cord to iTunes.
Now you'll still be able to tether up for re-charging, or syncing giant movie files, but you don't have to. Everything, from activation to backup, storing files to push them out, will happen transparently with [http://www.imore.com/tag/icloud/].
If that's not enough, you can find apps that let you access your Google Docs, DropBox, Box.net, and other online storage. You can even convert and stream content on the fly with apps like Air Video [iTunes].
Combine that with the built in AirPlay and an Apple TV and you won't believe what you can do...
webOS rules the roost with their elegant, non-interuptive, notification system. Compared to that utopia, iOS 4 notifications are some bizarre UI hell we'll likely be immolating in until the next major OS update.
But iOS 5 is on it's way, and its bringing with it Notification Center which should ease your transition a lot. (Hey, Apple stole the guy who invented webOS notifications to work on it!) If you're switching today, you'll have a few weeks of pain, but then things will get better.
If you haven't already, check out our complete iOS 4 feature walkthrough. There's an incredible amount of stuff in iOS 4 and you can save yourself some serious time cribbing off of us.
If you need help, or have a story to share, check out TiPb's iPhone forum -- we've got a special switching from webOS to iPhone 4 thread going just for you!
And if we forgot anything or just plain got something wrong, let us know and we'll add it or fix it.