iphone OS 4.0 Previewed!

Well call me a geek, but I was up at 5am NZ time this morning watching the live blog of Apple’s preview of the new iPhone 4.0 operating system.

You can watch the whole thing by clicking the link to the official apple video at the bottom of the post.

The were a few surprises, which I’ll list shortly, but overall, most of the features I want, are currently available on my jailbroken phone, like multitasking and folder creation.

Here is the main list of features (kindly taken from Apple iPhone School, I have also included links to features currently available on jailbroken iPhones which are similar to what’s on offer in the upgrade, next to the headings):

1. Multitasking (Backgrounder )

We have been waiting for a stock implementation of this for quite some time now and it seems Apple has been working on it for just as long. They are obviously aware of the affect of multitasking (all of us jailbreakers are also aware of those affects!).

“It’s easy to do this in a way that drains battery life, and a way that reduces performance of the foreground app. If you don’t do it right, your phone will feel sluggish. We figured out how to implement multitasking for third party apps and avoid those things. So that’s what took so long. I’d like to demo it. We have a great UI.”

Multitasking will allow you to run applications in the background such as Pandora (which can be controlled from the lockscreen… pretty sweet), Skype (VOIP), Turn-by-Turn apps (such as TomTom), Social Networking Apps (like Loopt or FourSquare), games, allowing things to download in the background… etc.

You will be able to view a list of backgrounded apps by double-tapping the Home Button.

“I’m gonna launch mail, this has a URL — so I jump to safari — so I want to go back to mail… I double click the home button and a window raises that shows me all the apps that are running.”

There are a lot more features to the new Multitasking and we will go into those on a separate post.

2. Folders (Categories)

Folder (similar to Categories in the jailbreak community) is a feature that allows you to put your applications into topic specific folders. For example, you could create a Games folder which would contain all your games. This makes finding applications quicker and easier.

Applications can be added to a folder using the stock “move” feature… you know, when you tap and hold and they all start wiggling… and then drag and dropped into a folder.

“I want to make a folder with games in it. I have several games, so I just push my finger on an app, they start to jiggle, and I just drag one app on top of another and it instantly makes a folder. It also automatically names the folder based on the categories of these apps, or I can rename.”

After a folder has been created, it can be moved anywhere on the device… including the dock.

They also seemed to throw the ability to change your iPhone/iPod touches wallpaper into this category as well. So, you are also now about to set an image as your actual wallpaper and not just your lockscreen.

3. Enhanced Mail Application

The enhanced mail includes a “unified inbox.” This means that all of your mail will be in one inbox however, it does allows for the ability to focus on one specific email account as well as the ability to organize email by thread.

A few other cool features are the ability for more than one Exchange account and “the ability to get an attachment and open it with an app for the app store.”

4. iBooks (Kindle for iPhone )

Yep, if you were feeling a little left out that the iPad had iBooks and the iPhone did not, fret no more. They have implemented iBooks into the 4.0 software. It basically looks the same as the iPad version. The ebook reader will allow you to “wirelessly sync your books between platforms” as well as include free Winnie the Pooh.

5. Enterprise

This includes; better data protection, mobile device management, wireless app distribution, multiple Exchange accounts, Exchange Server 2010, and SSL VPN support.

6. Game Center

This is basically a social gaming network… think Xbox Live. It will include; the ability to invite friends, achievements, leaderboards, match making… etc. It isn’t clear if this will be available with the release of the 4.0 firmware this summer. They said that it will be available for everyone, “later this year.”

“Gaming is extremely popular on the iPhone and iPod touch. We have 50,000 games. We want to make gaming even better on the iPhone — so we added a social gaming network.”

7. iAd

These are basically interactive advertisements with-in applications.

“We have a lot of free or reasonably priced apps… we like that, but our devs have to find ways to make money. So our devs are putting ads into apps, and for lack of a better way to say it, we think most of this kind of advertising sucks.”

So, apparently they created there own advertising method. It’s pretty in-depth. The ads will be interactive including things like; games, wallpapers, maps, downloads, videos… right within the ad. It is almost as if the ads become their own application.

4.0 Release Info:

“We are releasing it for end users for iPhone and iPod touch for users this summer. For the 3GS and iPod touch 3rd gen. And, for iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen, they will run many things… but there are some things they won’t run, like multitasking. And, we’re bringing OS 4 to the iPad this Fall.”

Watch Apple’s official video here.

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