Yesterday we predicted what earth-shattering new features might make their way into Apple's upcoming release of its iPhone and iPod operating system. Well, the "sneak peak of the next generation of iPhone OS software" just wrapped up in Curpertino, and we would consider ourselves remiss if we didn't immediately turn around and give you our habitual, brief rundown of everything Apple's many minions can eagerly await with baited breath.
Release: iPhone OS 4.0 will be released this summer, and a dev preview will be available today. The iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (3rd gen.) will get eveything 4.0 has to offer, but the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch (2nd gen.) will get "many things" but NOT multitasking. The iPad won't get such goodness until the fall.
Multitasking: Yes! As expected, iPhone OS 4.0 will deliver multitasking for third-party applications. Double-tapping the home button will launch a multitask tray window displaying all currently running applications. Applications will effectively be retain the state they were in, and can be resumed without launching from scratch. "We weren't the first to this party, but we're gonna be the best," said Jobs. You'll be able to play Pandora while browsing for example, and get spoken turn-by-turn directions while browsing the web. You can even continue a Skype call while flipping around apps, and receive calls even if the app isn't open.
Retaining battery & performance: Multitasking will purportedly be possible while retaining the iPhone's battery life and performance. This will be achieved through seven APIs released to developers that will cover seven services including background audio, voice over IP, background location, push notifications, local notifications, task completion and fast app switching.
Folders: As predicted, you'll now have folders for managing groups of icons. The folder itself acts like an icon, and can even be placed in the dock.
Wallpaper: Like the iPad, you can have two separate images for the home screen and lock screen.
Enhanced email: First, you'll be able to view all email within a unified inbox (all your various account in one view). Having a second Microsoft Exchange account will also now be possible. Other improvements include fast inbox switching and the ability to organize emails by thread.
iBooks: iBooks is coming to the iPhone OS. The interface looks just like it does on the iPad, you'll have access to the same books. Once a book is purchased, it can be read on any device running the OS without having to repurchase, and your current page and book marks will also automatically sync between devices.
Enterprise features: The new OS will include a number of enhancements aimed at courting enterprise users. These enhancements include better data protection, mobile device management, wireless app distribution, support for multiple Exchange accounts and Exchange Server 2010, and SSL VPN support.
Game Center: Leveraging its catalog of more than 50,000 games, Apple will be launching a social gaming network. You'll be able to challenge a friend to a game, find random people to play, and also keep track of and broadcast achievements.
iAd (mobile advertising): For better or worse, advertising will be built right into the platform -- inside of apps. According to Jobs, in-app advertising will help keep free apps free. The inclusion of advertising will target ad quality and interactivity. Apple will sell and host the ads, and developers will get 60% of ad revenue. Advertisers can choose to have an ad take over the screen if clicked, and include interactive elements (even in-ad games) using HTML5.
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