By Gadjo C. Sevilla
Apple recenly revealed plans to launch iPhone 4.0, the next iteration of its popular iPhone and iPad operating system. The update brings a number of features but most notable is multitasking, which allows for quick and efficient navigation between open applications without substantially affecting battery life.
“iPhone OS 4 is the fourth major release of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re delivering over 100 new features, including multitasking, folders, a unified inbox, deeper Enterprise support, and an iPhone version of our iBooks reader and online iBookstore.”
Set to ship in June, iPhone OS 4 will run fully and week only on the iPhone 3GS and the most recent version of the iPod Touch. Earlier models, namely the original 2G iPod and the iPod 3G will be able to take the upgrade but will not have access to many of the features. The iPad's version of the software is expected to come in the fall.
Multitasking Done Right
Aside from cut-copy-and-paste, no other feature has resonated more with iPhone users more than multitasking which enables non Apple apps to run concurrently so that users don't have have to exit apps and restart them again. The problem with multitasking is that it often slows down devices while draining battery life, problems which Apple claims to have solved.
iPhone OS 4’s provides developers seven new multitasking services to easily add multitasking features to their apps. These services include background audio, so apps like Pandora can play music in the background, and VoIP, so VoIP apps can receive a VoIP call even when the iPhone is asleep or the user is running other apps. iPhone OS 4 provides multitasking to third party apps while preserving battery life and foreground app performance, which has until now proved elusive on mobile devices.
Folders help users better organize and quickly access their apps. Simply drag one app icon onto another, and a new folder is automatically created. The folder is automatically given a name based on the App Store category of that app, such as “Games,” which the user can easily rename. Using folders, users can now organize and access over 2,000 apps on their iPhone which was not possible in previous versions.
Apple also released two extended services of note to developers. iAd, Apple’s new mobile advertising platform and Game Center, which allows achievements, game interaction and social multiplayer experiences.
iPhone OS 4 lets developers easily embed iAd opportunities within their apps, and the ads are dynamically and wirelessly delivered to the device. Apple will sell and serve the ads, and developers will receive an industry-standard 60 percent of iAd revenue.
New enterprise features in iPhone OS 4 include improvements in security, scalability and compatibility. The new Mobile Device Management service can be integrated with third party servers to wirelessly configure, query and even wipe or lock managed iPhones, and iPhone OS 4 enables enterprises to securely host and wirelessly distribute their own in-house developed apps to employees.
More than four billion apps have been downloaded from the revolutionary App Store and more than 185,000 apps are available to consumers in 90 countries. Over 85 million iPhone and iPod touch users around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.