IPhone OS 4 – Multitasking, improved mail and more!

iPhone OS 4.0 multitaskingToday Apple presented what will come later this summer, iPhone OS 4.0. Multitasking has been a long awaited and talked about feature that I’m not the only one being excited about, I was not so excited however to find out that it’s not supported on iPhone 3G! The new multitasking feature looks really neat and the tray is integrated nicely with the OS.

Multitasking is implemented using different services. It’s still unclear to me what limitations this has on freedom to develop whatever. Apple demo’ed Pandora’s Internet radio streaming app, iPhone OS 4.0 will allow apps like it to play music in the background, with playback controls available even at the lock screen. They also demo’ed Skype (VoIP), which utilize the VoIP service to continue to receive calls even when it is not the foreground app, LOVELY! A third mechanism is a new direction feature which calculate the device location from cellular towers instead of using battery draining GPS. Awesome for applications that don’t really need GPS accuracy. A fourth and fifth enhancement relates to Apple’s existing push notification service and a new “local notifications” service that allows apps to post reminders or other events without using Apple’s servers.

A sixth feature, task completion, will enable an app to start a job and continue working on it after the user leaves the app. And example given cited an app posting photos to Flicker, which continued working after the user left that app.

The seventh multitasking mechanism is fast app switching, which “allows you to restore the state of an app when you switch out and back,” is the easiest to implement, essentially freezing the progress of an app such as a game while the user handles another task in another app.

New major features in iPhone OS 4.0:

  • Multitasking
  • Folders on the home screen, allows for 2000+ apps
  • Improved mail. Unified mailbox and support for multiple Exchange accounts, something the outlook client still doesn’t do
  • iBooks
  • Enterprise features. Deploy apps remotely over WiFi and security features.
  • Game Center. Basically XBOX Live for iPhone. Achievements and more.
  • iAD. Advertisements on the iPhone. Love it or hate it!

Minor features:

  • File & delete Mail search results
  • Search SMS/MMS messages
  • Web search suggestions
  • Choose image size in Mail messages
  • Bluetooth keyboards
  • CalDav invitations
  • Larger fonts for Mail, SMS & alerts
  • Cell data only setting
  • Spell check
  • Persistent Wi-Fi
  • Gift Apps
  • Birthday calendar
  • Recent Web searches
  • Create Playlists
  • Top Hit in search
  • 5x digital zoom
  • Nested Playlists
  • CardDav
  • Tap to focus video
  • Upload workouts to Nike+
  • Places in Photos
  • iPod Out
  • Home screen wallpaper
  • Search SMS/MMS messages
  • Wake on wireless

Interesting and annoying sidenote. While trying to update my iPhone to iPhone OS 4.0 beta iTunes keep crashing when trying to “Verifying iPhone update with Apple…”. Pesky!

If you want to read about todays iPhone OS 4.0 event, head over to Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/08/live-from-apples-iphone-os-4-event/

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