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The much awaited version 4 of the iPhone operating system, now named iOS4, has arrived on iPhones across the world. New iPhone4s are due later this week but Apple has wisely decided to spread the load on its servers by releasing the new OS a couple of days early.

I installed my copy late last night so have not had much chance to play with it yet, but these are my first impressions:

1) Faster: I had not expected this at all but moving around the home screen, loading apps, etc. all seems a bit faster = Great

2) Folders: it was not immediately obvious how to create them (just drag one app on top of another) but they are nicely implemented. I now have several folders on a couple of pages so to launch any app requires between one (tap) and a maximum of 3 gestures (slide-tap-tap) against seven before (6xslide then tap) = Much better

3) Unified Inbox: I was not looking forward to this as I like to keep my accounts separate however it works like calendar and contacts so you can see all accounts or one of them = Not for me but nicely done

4) Syncing documents:
a) certain apps (e.g. the book reader Stanza) can now sync documents to the desktop through iTunes, this is good, but the implementation is not so hot as you cannot specify folders, only individual documents = Meh
b) I was hoping for more over the air (OTA) syncing, via MobileMe or something else, of documents and data but this does not appear to have happened = Double meh

There are things still to explore: multi-tasking and the iBook app stand out for me. When iOS4 was originally announced I thought that Note syncing without Mail was mentioned but I have not sees anything about that recently, which is a pity, so I will look at 3rd party alternatives.

So far the only thing that has broken is the Daily Telegraph news app which crashes soon after launching. There has already been a slew of app updates, presumably for iOS4 compatability, and I expect the Torygraph will catch up soon. The Guardian app still works so I can still get my regular news fix.