Thursday, April 08, 2010

iPhone OS 4.0 – what is new?

Apple hosted a preview event for iPhone OS 4.0 presented by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, on 04/08/2010 at 10am PDT at Apple’s campus and CNET blogged live about it. The following is a summary from that discussion.

User Features

  1. Multi-tasking – this is the most predicted and most wanted feature. Double-click on Home button pops up window at bottom of the screen with apps that are open. See spoiler at the end.
  2. Create playlists, 5x digital zoom in camera, Bluetooth keyboards, spell check, gift apps, Tap to focus video, Places in Photos, Home screen wallpaper, file & delete mail search results, web search from suggestions,Larger fonts for Mail, SMS & Alerts, Rotate photos, Sync IMAP notes, iPod out, Wake on wireless. – All in all 100 new user features.
  3. Background audio - Audio APIs, used by apps like Pandora, which will now run in the background while switching between apps. The double tap of the home button will also work for Pandora as it does for iPod today.
  4. VoIP – phone calls using Skype will continue while users switch between apps. Incoming calls over Skype now will show a notification that allows calls to be answered by user. User interface similar to regular phone calls when phone interface is not active i.e. blinking bar at the top to take the user back.
  5. Background Location: Get GPS turn-by-turn directions while listening to music. Location updates will “wake up applications”. Indicator on top of apps to let users know that location data is being used.
  6. Local Notifications – After the release of Push notifications earlier, now apps do not have to round-trip Apple servers for sending out notifications. Task completion notification will alert when a local task is completed i.e. uploading pictures while the user multi-tasks.
  7. Fast-app switching: apps can hibernate to not use CPU and can wake up from where the user left off.
  8. Folders: This is a welcome feature. It is a grouping mechanism for your apps and will help in flicking thru. apps. So, if I need a game, I know it is in the Game folder. :) Unlimited folders, wow. The implementation is beautiful as well. The folders can also be placed on the dock.
  9. Unified Inbox: Yes, this is another wanted feature finally done. Multiple Exchange accounts – nice. Fast inbox switching, organize emails by thread, groups emails by date, open attachments natively with apps etc.
  10. iBooks – comes to iPhone and iPod. New eBook reader. iBookstore, buy once and read anywhere on any device. Pages of the book will be synced across devices and bookmarks can be placed as well.
  11. Enterprise: Improved and better data protection with encrypted emails and attachments with PIN codes. Allowing IT to deploy iPhones and manage them remotely. Pushing out apps wirelessly with iTunes sync, for mass distribution. Support for multiple Exchange accounts and support for Exchange server 2010, SSL VPN capabilities for Juniper and Cisco.
  12. Game center: developer preview of a new social network for gaming.
  13. iAd – Apple’s mobile advertising built into OS 4.0. For a whopping 60% split of the revenues, app developers can add iAd into their apps. Apple will handle all the sales and inventory data. Ads can be interactive with audio/video and can have menus too. Users can buy an app directly from within an app. iAds can be created using only HTML5!

Multi-tasking will not be available on iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen models. So, the fun is gone without multi-tasking. Will you upgrade to a 3GS?

Other things

  • No Java or Flash in OS 4.0, HTML5 is the choice made.
  • No unsigned applications running on iPhone.

Developer Features

API/SDK – Developers can now access calendar, still/video camera, photo library, and SMS data. All in all 1500 new APIs for developers.


Shipping summer of 2010. Developer preview on 04/08/2010. iPad gets it in the Fall.


Hoping it will be a free upgrade but nothing announced yet.

All eyes will be at WWDC in June where we might see a new iPhone/iPod/iPod Touch/iPad model(s) being announced.


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