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iPhone OS 4.0 Gets Announced; Brings Multitasking, Unified Mailbox, Folders, and iAds

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Today, Apple announced something extremely huge. iPhone OS 4.0 was introduced which is a huge improvement over their current OS 3.0. It reportedly improves over 100 minor updates and a couple of game-changers like multitasking(!!), organization (folders for your apps), unified mailbox(!), iBooks, their new Game Center, and their new [HTML5] iAd platform. Apple has apparently figured out a way to do multitasking without taking a huge hit on the battery life. Unfortunately, only the iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod Touch will support multitasking because they said that it's a hardware issue. If you're interested in learning more about the iAd platform, check out the post on Computer World. The iPad will be upgradeable to iPhone OS 4.0 this Fall. Crunch Gear has a short video below showing off the multitasking.

Update: According to Engadget, you can now download the iPhone SDK 4 Beta. Check out the direct link here.

Update: Gizmodo has just mentioned that the iPhone OS 4 software includes three new functions: AVCaptureDevice.hasFlash, AVCaptureDevice.flashMode, and AVCaptureDevice.hasTorch. This likely points out that the next iPhone will have some sort of flash for its camera - not Flash on the browser.

Update: According to Engadget, there's also evidence for a front-facing camera as well. They've found a couple of different files that imply this.

  • The OS will support multitasking. Jobs claims that multitasking will not consume significantly more power or system resources than normal single app operation will.
  • Multitasking will be available on seven classes of apps.
  • The first is music. Apps like Pandora will now be able to run in the background without dramatically affecting browser performance or speed.
  • VOIP is another class of apps that will be able to run in the background. Skype can now run in the background, allowing you to receive texts and calls while not actively using the app.
  • Navigation and other location-based services are important applications of this multitasking feature. Now apps like TomTom Navigator and Navigon can run in the background, allowing you to browse and still receive directions.
  • Push notifications will also be able to run in the background.
  • Apps that take time to run a process, like uploading photos to flickr, will be able to do these processes in the background.
  • Apple will also allow local notification apps to run in the background.
  • Apple does not expect multitasking to significantly increase the strain on network traffic for AT&T.
[Mobile Magazine, The Next Web, TUAW, Crunch Gear, Engadget]


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