Friday, April 9, 2010

Newer and Improveder: iPhone OS 4.0

So yesterday was the announcement of the new iPhone operating system, version 4.0. You can view the video here:

Apple Keynote for iPhone OS 4.0

Apples says they've added 100+ new user features with 7 of them being "tentpole" features:
  1. Multitasking
  2. Folders
  3. Enhanced Email
  4. iBooks
  5. Enterprise Enhancements
  6. Game Center
  7. iAds

There are many other sites that explain the details of these features but the first two speak directly to most users and how they use the iPhone. Folders is a no-brainer, with the number of apps increasing on a typical iPhone, the ability to categorize and store them is a huge improvement. Rather than having to swipe between multiple pages, you can now arrange like apps into folders, such as 'Games' or 'Social Networking'.

But the one that has been rumored about the most is "Multitasking". I put that in quotes because it's not true multitasking as most of us understand it but rather a multitasking of services and not an entire app running in the background. To me it's more like smart pausing with exceptions. The 7 services that Apple has identified is needed by most apps to run in the background are:

  1. Audio
  2. Voice over IP
  3. Location services
  4. Push notifications
  5. Local notifications
  6. Task completion
  7. Fast app switching
I do think this was a smart way to go as they continually touted in the video that by doing in this method allows them to preserve both battery life and performance of  primary app. To me, I thought the iPhone already sort of did this in as much as some of the apps would re-open in the state you left them but now this will be more apparent and easier to use with Fast app switching (a double click of the Home button will not bring up a list of running apps that you can choose, rather than "Home-closing" and then re-opening another app).

This new OS will be available in the summer for the iPhone and iTouch and in the fall for the iPad, but the some of the more advanced features can only be used for the iPhone 3GS, the 3rd Gen iTouch and the iPad (one of the notable ones being multitasking).

I don't currently own an iPhone, but depending on what type of hardware they release in June/July, they are making a compelling argument for me to eventually become one of the millions of iPhollowers.

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