What iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Users Can Expect From IPhone OS 4

April 27th, 2010

On April 8 2010, Apple announced that it would be upgrading its iPhone OS (operating system) and launching a new SDK (software development kit). The new OS, called iPhone OS 4, is expected to markedly expand the features afforded to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. The new SDK (iPhone SDK 4) will include new APIs (application programming interfaces) that developers can use to create more powerful and user-friendly apps. While the new OS is expected to ship in the summer of 2010, developers on the iPhone Developer Program are already trying out the 1500 new APIs in iPhone SDK 4.

Several of the new advanced features that iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users stand to enjoy from iPhone OS 4 are explained below.

1. Multitasking

IPhone OS 4 applications will be able to multitask without compromising on battery life and performance. For example, you will be able to make a VOIP (voice over IP) call while checking your email. The SDK allows for up to seven multitasked services, hence the number of tasks that can be performed simultaneously is not limited to two. The new OS’s GUI (graphical user interface) also incorporates a dock similar to the one on Mac OS X that allows users to quickly switch between the applications they’ve opened. Unfortunately, iPhone 3G users will not be able to take advantage of this feature due to hardware limitations.

2. Better Access to Apps Using Folders

The OS’s file system will now allow your device to store up to 2160 apps, a huge improvement from the 180 apps that could be stored in iPhone OS 3’s file system. The apps can now be stacked in folders, unlike earlier operating systems that displayed all apps on the home screen, and apps can be moved between folders using drag-and-drop functionality.

3. Improved Email Services

The OS now allows for multiple Microsoft Exchange accounts. For users with several email accounts, the new OS’s email system will be configurable to display emails from all accounts in one inbox. If you prefer separate inboxes, the OS will allow you to switch between them faster. Emails can now be organized by threads for more intuitive viewing, and attachments may be opened and manipulated in third-party apps.

4. IBooks

The announcement of the new OS coincided with the launch of a new marketplace for ebooks – the iBookStore. A new app to ship with the new OS, iBooks, will allow you to buy books from iBookStore, organize them appropriately, and read them by flipping through their pages. Books downloaded from iBookStore will also be synchronized across all your Apple mobile devices, so you can view an ebook on either of them without having to download it more than once.

Regrettably, the new OS will still not allow you to view Adobe Flash files, and some of the features outlined above will not be available on older devices like the iPhone 3G. However, the new advanced features bundled into iPhone OS 4 are revolutionary, and it is clear that Apple will continue to portray the ingenuity and innovativeness that has endeared it to many users worldwide.

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