Unbeknownst to me, Apple held an event this morning providing a sneak preview of all the exciting new features coming in iPhone OS 4.0. If you don’t want to read a single word I have to say in this post, please feel free to increase my blog’s bounce rate by heading over to the Apple website and watch the full event on video. Also, it’s available to download for free in the iTunes podcast for Apple keynotes.
Still around? Good. Let’s get started.
iPhone OS 4.0 is gonna be HUGE. When it arrives, the need to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod Touch will become almost irrelevant. Quite an outlandish statement? I understand. Take a look at some of the “holy-shit, no way!” features that will come this summer.
The other stuff…
About time? You can say that again. It’s well known that Steve Jobs hated the idea of supporting multi-tasking in previous generations of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The two biggest reasons for his reticence is the strain on battery life and reduction in performance that together would hurt the user experience.
That seemed perfectly reasonable to me back then. I couldn’t fathom the idea of recharging my iPod Touch more frequently than the usual twice a week. It would be even worse for iPhone users, no doubt.
If I really, really wanted multitasking, there was probably a way of doing it with a jailbroken device, but would it really be worth it?
So, now that Apple is officially bringing multitasking into the iPhone and iPod Touch, how were they able to do it without suffering the consequences that made them hesitant in providing it?
Unfortunately, the details are probably overly-technical and you should just email email@example.com for a full comprehensive explanation. Trust me. That email address is completely real. In fact, I got an email from Steve himself.
Check out this video demo of multitasking on the iPhone in action:
With a bunch of games on your iPhone or iPod Touch, wouldn’t it be great if you could store them all in a folder? Now, you can. OS 4.0 delivers the capability to drag-and-drop apps to store them in a single place for quick and easy access(TWSS!).
Apple added some much needed capabilities in the native email app in OS 4.0, most notably, a unified inbox. Many people have multiple email accounts and you are probably familiar with the pain of clicking through multiple pages just to switch from different email inboxes. Not anymore, my tiny friend! Now, all your Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! mail accounts are all combined in one single inbox. Pretty sweet, huh?
In addition, you can now organize your messages by thread, open attachments, and have multiple exchange accounts.
For developers, iAd will come as great news. For end users, that’s up for debate. Let me explain why it’s so great for developers first.
As you may have noticed in some of the apps you purchase, advertisements are often displayed alongside the content of the app. You usually find this more prevalent in free apps as opposed to paid versions. However, this advertising model often did not achieve the best return on revenue for the developers.
What made the previous model flawed was that clicking on the ads often closes your apps and launches another one containing the ad. For users, that’s pretty awful. They have almost no chance of returning back to the same place they were in when they were using the app and this causes much frustration. As a result, users rarely click on the ads, unless it was an accident.
With iAd, Apple has built in an advertising software that runs alongside OS 4.0. Now, developers are able to build creative ads using HTML 5 that boast both “emotion and interaction.”
In a demo, Steve showed an ad for Toy Story 3 that was displayed in an app. After clicking on it, the ad opened up inside the app rather than forcing it to close. He proceeded to show the capabilities of delivering ads in a mobile device like never before. For example, the Toy Story ad allowed users to play a game, download wallpapers, locate nearby movie theatres, and hear “to infinity, and beyond!” repeatedly. Do you see what I mean? Best of all, users can simply close the ad and return instantly to where they were before.
So, how should users feel about this? Let me show you a quote that almost made me wet my pants, and not in the good way.
On average, iPhone users spend 30 minutes a day using apps. Now, if we said we want to put up an ad every 3 minutes, let’s just say. That would be 10 ads per device, per day. We’re gonna soon have 100 million devices. That’s 1 billion advertising opportunities per day in the iPhone and iPod Touch community.
Holy shit. Yeah. I told you. Being forced to watch an ad every 3 minutes? Let’s hope that these ads are as interesting as on Super Bowl Sunday.
Not as ground-breaking as the aforementioned features, here are some other important updates as well:
- iBooks app (duh)
- Enterprise improvementsfor businesses
- Game center (think Xbox Live)
Other important information
As usual with new software updates, there will also come a price tag with it for iPod Touch users. It usually ranges from $10 to $30 dollars. I suspect this one will be on the pricey end, considering the big upgrades it includes.
Bad news for iPod Touch 2G and iPhone 3G owners. Some features, including multitasking, will not work on your device with OS 4.0. This is simply due to a hardware limitation and gives you a fabulous excuse to whip out your wallet and buy yourself a new iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch 3G. Hooray!
As I mentioned before, OS 4.0 will be arriving in summer of this year. It will also be available for the iPad in the fall.