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A breakdown of the most important features and how they'll make your device that much better
FINALLY. That's the underlying thought that went through my head as I was keeping an eye on Apple's press event this morning, which unveiled a bunch of new features on the upcoming iPhone OS 4 expected to ship this summer.
First off, if you have the first generation iPhone, none of this applies to you, as OS 4 isn't compatible with your phone. For the rest of us with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and the second- and third-generation iPod touch, keep reading. And if you've already gone out and bought an iPad, OS 4 will be available to you in the fall.
And speaking of iPad, Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, shared the impressive news that the Apple's sold 450,000 iPads. The company said they would work harder at trying to build them faster due to tremendous demand. Also, there's been over 600,000 iBooks downloads, and 3.5 million iPad apps downloaded through today.
Ok...on to the features:
Multitasking. This is the absolute, most important feature most of us have been waiting for. Basically, it lets you run multiple applications at once, it's limited to seven apps, but it makes sense as the more apps you run, the more battery life you kill and it will slow down your machine. What's so cool about running multiple apps? Here's an example, before when you wanted to listen to music through an app like Pandora, if you left, the music stopped. Now you can run Pandora in the background as you would iTunes and you can listen to your music while reading the NYTimes or checking your email, etc. Also, Apple has built a new interface for switching between apps and all it takes is a double tap on the home button to access.
Last but not least, Multitasking is available only with iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod touch (32GB and 64GB models from late 2009). It's pretty unfortunate for 3G owners.
Folders. This is another very useful feature. As we continue to download more and more apps, our phones get cluttered, they are hard to find and organize etc. I've been finding it quite annoying to flip through multiple pages just to get to an app. Also, I have this weird, obsessive way to organize my apps where I keep all the games in one page, all the social networking utilities in another, etc. Folders does exactly what its called, lets you put these groups of apps into folders, like you would on a normal computer. The limit before was 180 apps, now you can manage up to 2160 apps on your phone.
Background location. Since OS 4 now has multitasking, apps that take advantage of your location will continue to run. For example a navigation application, or Foursquare, etc. Apple's made it clear that it takes privacy very seriously, so it's added an indicator bar at the top of your phone to let you know if something is tracking you. It's also adding 'fine-grained settings' which will let you enable/disable location for each application you chose to run in the backgound.
Mail. I'm not too excited about this one, as I like my different email accounts separated, but anyways, Apple's launched a 'unified inbox,' which lets you see all your messages from your multiple email accounts in one view.
iBooks. Apple's new store for buying books, which is believed to be a Kindle killer, is now available on your iPhone. Same features as iPad, smaller screen.
iAd. This is for developers. Jobs said, "Well, we’ve got a lot of free apps — we like that, users like that, but these developers have to find a way to make some money, and we’d like to help them." So Apple has built it's own mobile ad platform, goodbye all other platforms, that lets them easily put ads in their apps. Jobs said the average user spends over 30 minutes using their apps daily, so if you put an ad up every 3 minutes, that would be 10 ads per device per day, and with almost 100 million Apple devices sitting in consumers pockets that's 1 billion ad opportunities per day. Apple says its iAd platform can feature rich media ads that combine the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the Web.
All in all, these are just a few of the most important features of OS 4. Apple says there are 100's, but of course didn't have enough time to go through them all. Honestly, I was at the breaking point of wanting to switch to Android just because I was so frustrated I couldn't do basic things like multitask and create folders on my phone. The only thing wanting me to leave my iPhone now is how absolutely awful ATT's coverage/service is in the Bay Area. I get dropped calls at least 3-4 times a day.
Images from GDGT
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