The basic idea is that there are over 100 new user features, but 7 major ‘tentpoles’ that have been discussed in depth. These will also be the main noticeable things that you’d first come across when you first start to use OS 4. These 7 items were (I might have the titles slightly wrong): Multitasking, Folders, Mail Improvements, iBooks, Game Centre, Enterprise and iAd. Some obvious, some less so, I’ll look at some of the features in each of these categories below.
iPhone OS 4
Multitasking After switching over to the iPhone from Windows Mobile the main thing that I found difficult was the lack of Multitasking. On WinMo, I’d been using CorePlayer for music and MSN application for IM. Both of these aren’t on the device by default but can be run in the background. On the iPhone, can’t be run in the background, which shocked me. The main benefit I see from this is that you’re not tied to any of apple’s default apps as you’ll now be able to keep 3rd party ones running… hopefully. Then of course there’s all the usefulness of having the ability to run applications x and y in the background, you will find your own uses for it.
Folders For people who may have jailbroken their iDevices, folders won’t be new but the news that Apple is supporting them is great news. Hold your finger to make icons jiggle then drag one App over another to make a folder automatically, sounds so… simple.
Mail improvement Being able to open attachments seems like a logical thing for an email client to do, so here it is. The feature I’m most excited about though is the ‘Unified Inbox’, one inbox for all your accounts. None of this tap in, in, in, out, out, out, in… and so on.
iBooks Great I’m sure, if you’re into that sort of stuff good for you, on a screen that size, I’ll stick to the non-i variant, but if it’s your thing.
Enterprise Features Again, if you’re a business and have been after these new features that’s great for you, but for the average user including me, this one just doesn’t excite me.
Game Centre AKA Xbox LIVE I suppose. This ‘Social Game Networking’ is promised to offer Inviting Friends, Matchmaking, Leaderboards and Achievements. I’m sure you know what these are, it worked for Microsoft. This is Apple, I’m sure it’ll be great.
iAd This is mobile advertising, despite it not really being a service an end user would use like Game Centre or Multitasking, it actually seems quite innovative. At first I was worried Apple simply wanted more money and were going to paste adverts over my beautifully serene lock screen, but I got it all wrong.
The basic idea is that Apple wants to change the type of adverts it’s users see and interact with. Currently these adverts are in free games, so that developers can still make money even though they don’t charge for the actual application. But as you may realise, if you’ve ever clicked one, you’ll be taken out your game to visit a website or play a video, which ruins the gamin experience, so few people actually click the ads.
iAd appears to be a built in advertising engine, that allows adverts to be run almost as mini applications over the application you’re currently running to give you a seamless transition into the advert and then back to the application you were running to start with. As I said earlier it’s not a user feature, nobody will be saying: Oh have you tried iAd, it’s fantastic (well developers might). I’s the most visible underlying feature I’ve seen, if there must be adverts, it seems like a great way of going about it. If it keeps Apps free, you can’t complain.
If you’ve been counting, you’ll realise that’s the 7th big feature so that’s it. Developers can apparently get it now. Though I’m sure that if you’re a developer, you’ll already know about it so won’t be reading this.
RESTRICTIONS – When I thought the news was about over, one major slide was posted that drew my attention. Despite my recent post, I definitely did buy my iPhone 2G at the wrong time. Only the 3GS and 3rd gen iPod Touch devices will get the full features of OS 4, 3G and 2nd gen will be able to run someof the features but not all ‘like multitasking’. I can understand why multitasking would be the first feature to pull on older devices.
The processor would work harder so the battery life would decrease, but I’m all up for losing some battery life for the sake of multitasking. After all, I would probably leave the feature off 90% of the time and only use it for specific applications like .
OS 4 will be arriving on the iPad this Autumn… or Fall if you’re that way inclined. That’s it, they’ve done the presentation and finished the Q&A session. It’s lunch time over there! I was just thinking about finding something good on TV.