So Apple finally is unveiling their 4.0 version of the iPhones operating system. There was big speculation and high hopes for a few features (like multitasking) that people really wanted included (and as with most big iPhone features like mms, copy and paste, etc., feel should have been included a long time ago).
Well thanks to Engadget’s coverage of the event, we have the new features summed up for you below:
1. Multitasking – probably the biggest requested feature (alongside Flash support). Apple says this took so long to implement because they were “working on the right way to do it to not slow down the foreground apps in the process”. How it works is if you are in an app you can double click the home button and a small dock comes up of up to four running apps. You can use this dock to quickly select between the four running apps. (Someone please comment if you know how many apps can run simultaneously, it looks like 4 from their demo).
Along with multitasking, comes local notifications (as opposed to push notifications). These allow apps to notify you when they finish a task, you receive a message, etc. without the need to access Apple’s push server.
2. Folders – These work just like Android’s folder system. Put a folder on your desktop and you can put multiple apps into it. When you click on it it brings up a selector for any of those apps (I.e. Make a folder called “Games” and stick all of your games in it. When you click on the folder Games it opens a window showing all of the games you put it in).
3. Backgrounds – Groundbreaking, I know. I have nothing really to say about this, they allow changing the background on your iPhone now.
4. Enhanced Email – Enhanced means the following:
1. Unified mailbox – you can have all of your mailboxes consolidated into one mailbox so you don’t have to switch between them to check different accounts (gmail, yahoo, exchange, etc.).
2. More than one exchange account is allowed now.
3. Organize email by thread. Just like how gmail works, shows all of the emails between you and the person you are emailing in a threaded format like an IM conversation. For those of you that hate that, don’t worry it’s an option you can turn off and on.
4. Open attachments directly from the email app.
4. iBooks for iPhone – Simply a port from the iPad for the iPhone and iPod. Allows you to purchase books from Apple and read them on your phone/iPod.
5. Enterprise – Apps that can be distributed wirelessly, multiple exchange accounts for syncing calendars, mail, and contacts. Better data protection, and support for Exchange Server 2010.
6. GameCenter – It is basically a gaming social network. This is kind of a big deal as far as it directly competes with Microsofts recently announced XBox Live for Windows Phone 7. Be interesting to see what they do with this (or more importantly what the game developers do with this…)
7. iAd – apples answer to AdMob. You can embed these apps into your iPhone/iPad/iPod app and Apple gives the developer 60% of the revenue. These apps are a little different to adMob etc as they are almost apps themselves. When you click on the Toy Story ad at the bottom of you app your using, it opens a separate interactive app. The new app has movie posters, downloads, a game, and character info that the user can play with (all the while engrossed in Toy Story branding). Then when you close it you are back in the original app. An interesting approach to say the least. This would require advertisers to create (or pay Apple to create Id assume) these kinds of interactive ads. This is another step for the ad to get to the end user, well see if advertisers see the added value in the long run.
So there you have it, the main new features of the iPhone 4.0 OS. The os is set to release in Summer and the same for the iPad but in Fall (ouch).