Apple held an iPhone OS 4 event today at 10PST/1800BST in the Town Hall at Apple’s Infinite Loop campus, Cupertino, California. The event was titled ‘a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS’ and for all intents and purposes that’s exactly what we got. Apple laid out it’s plans for the next evolution in what it’s still calling the iPhone OS, despite powering three distinct devices. iPhone OS 4 brings enhancements and changes across the board, but the standout features we’ve collated for your and listed below:
- Over 1500 new APIs for developers including cal, photo library, still/video cam plus touch to focus, ‘Accelerate’ (accelerometer suite of APIs) and many many more.
- Bluetooth keyboard support.
- Multi-tasking using seven multitasking services available to developers as APIs: Audio, VoIP, Location (both GPS and Skyhook plus privacy settings and an indicator), Push & Local notifications, Task completion (like uploading photos to flickr) and finally Fast App Switching (using the Dock). It’s more like multi-threading rather than multi-tasking but we’re splitting hairs here. Very reminiscent to Palm OS with it’s App saved states.
- App switching with a multi-tasking enabled pop-up, scrollable dock.
- Folders for app categories or names you can create yourself (‘jiggle’ drag and drop on device creation) with ‘multi-icon icons’ (placeable in the dock) with a total of 2160 simultaneously installed apps (up from 180).
- Home screen wallpaper.
- Email enhancements: Unified Inbox (thank goodness), multiple Exchange accounts, threaded mail, fast inbox switching, openable/saveable attachments with App Store Apps (such as Docs to Go etc).
- iBooks for iPhone including wireless syncing (like the Kindle) and free Whinne the Pooh to get you started!
- Enterprise additions including data protection, wireless app distribution, device management, Exchange 2010 support and more VPN options
- Game Centre social gaming network (a PSN/Xbox Live type network) including Friend invitations, Matchmaking, Leaderboards and Achievements.
- iAd – Apple entering the mobile ads market. Full OS integration, keeping you in the app with ‘motion plus interactivity’ perhaps this now makes sense. The ads essentially look like apps within apps with a 60/40 split developers/Apple, all ads hosted and sold by Apple. It’s pretty big news, but I’m not sure how much you’re going to like this as a consumer.
The developer preview as with 3.0 ‘beta’ is going live today, the rest of you with iPhones and iPod touches will have to wait till this ‘summer’, more than likely WWDC. Interesting to note that only the 3rd generation iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS will get the whole caboodle, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 1g/2g users will get a stripped down version without multitasking and ‘some other features’. Original iPhone owners, even though you have essentially the same running hardware as 3G units, there was no mention of you so, I’m afraid, you might be out of luck.
iPad owners, iPhone OS4 will be hitting your brand new pride and joy come Fall (that’s Autumn for those outside the US). That’s your lot for now. Interesting to see what Apple has in-store for iDevice range. Certainly some real game changers there, at least for current iDevice owners. How will Google react to this intrusion into it’s advertising domain? Will Game Centre really bring the mobile gaming market home to Apple? iBooks on all iDevices but what about the Mac/PC? All these questions and more will have to wait and see I’m afraid.
[Update] From GDGT: Steve Jobs: ‘We do not have plans to be a worldwide ad agency. We don’t know a lot about advertising, but we’re learning. We tried to buy AdMob, but Google snatched them up because they didn’t want us to have them, so we bought another smaller company, Quattro. But we’re babes in the woods.’
Ouch, seems like it’s getting a little bit personal between Apple and Google.
[Update 2] The whole presentation is up for you to gorge yourself on, if you just can’t get enough.
Hit the break to see the event in photos Read On