iPhone OS 4.0

iPhone OS 4.0

Apple tends to iron out major gripes in each release of their iPhone OS. Think cut-copy-paste, MMS, system-wide search etc. Today they announced iPhone OS 4.0 which is one of the most significant updates to date. Here’s a run down of the features from Engadget:

  • Multitasking!
  • Spell check.
  • Bluetooth keyboard support
  • User-defined wallpaper No more jailbreaking!.
  • Tap to focus when recording video + and a 5x digital zoom for the camera.
  • App folders for sorting apps! Now that’s what I’m talking about!
  • Enhanced Mail! You can have a merged inbox view, switch between inboxes quickly, and sync to more than one Exchange account. There’s also threaded messaging (at last!) and in-app attachment viewing.
  • iBooks, just like on iPad, only smaller. You can wirelessly sync books between platforms, a la Kindle.
  • Enterprise features, including remote device management and wireless app distribution.
  • Game Center. It’s like Xbox Live, but for iPhone games. Includes achievements, leaderboards, and match making. It will be available as a “developer preview,” and out for consumers later this year.

You can also store more than 2000 apps on your device as opposed to about 200 now because of the folder thing. No one can argue with that feature list. The SDK also gives developers access to new APIs. Developers will now have full access to the camera, calender, photo library, video library etc. among other things.

Most of the features are going to be available for all iPhones and iPod Touches, even my 3 year old first gen iPod Touch is getting in on the action. Unfortunately, multitasking is not one of those features, only the iPhone 3GS and 3rd Gen iPod Touch are getting that. The reason for that is the hardware – Apple says the older devices i.e, iPhone 3G and below, are not powerful enough. The rest of the cool features are coming though.

I couldn’t agree more. My iPod Touch can’t handle some of the newer apps coming out and besides, its battery isn’t holding up as long as it used to. I’m surprised that Apple keeps releasing updates for that old thing, Samsung and other companies would have given up about 2 years ago!

Here’s a video showing how multitasking will work. Interestingly, there is no task manager. Apple said something like “there’s no need to have one…the user shouldn’t have to worry about these things…”  Hmm… I don’t know about that, but its Apple, they know what they are talking about.

Apple also announced iAd – an in-app advertising program. This is pretty interesting for developers and users – it means more money for developers and more free apps for users. It’s a win win situation. The Ads are not like the banner ads we see on the net and they won’t re-direct you to obscure websites. They are more interactive with stuff ranging from wallpapers to mini-games. They contained within the apps. It will be interesting to see what the final cut will look like.

The update is coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch in Summer and it’s heading to the iPad in Fall. The speaking of the iPad – this makes it a really worthwhile device. Multitasking was one of the biggest issues people had with it. I’m probably going to get one when it comes out this side, I’ll lug my laptop around for heavy duty stuff and I’ll have the iPad for web-surfing, blogging and some gaming. Sounds like an idea to me don’t you think?