Apple reveals iPhone OS 4 – folders and multitasking included

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Apple has announced the finer details of the next version of the iPhone OS, which will include over 100 new features that will be available to iPhone and iPod touch users, alongside several improvements to other apps – including an iBooks reader and iBookstore for the iPhone and iPod touch, an improved Mail application which will allow users to see see emails from all their mail accounts.

For developers, the new beta will include over 1,500 new APIs to play with and put them in your applications, meaning that you better get ready for a lot of application upgrades to play with these brand new features.

Two brand new features coming out are Folders and the long awaited Multitasking. Folders act like they say they do, it allows people to organise their applications, like a folder for “Games” or “Work”. You will be limited in having 180 applications in one folder – but most likely you will not even going to be using that much, but it is a great way to cheat the current limit of applications.

For multitasking, you can swap between two or more applications, and there are seven ways which this will be able to work – background audio, voice over IP, background location (navigation applications can continue to guide users while listening to their music), local notifications, push notification, task switching and fast app switching. However, you will have need to get the 16GB or 32GB third-generation iPod touch or the iPhone 3GS to get multitasking.

Developers will also be allowed to add advertising to their applications via the new iAd platform, which was also announced. It plans to allow full-screen video and interactive advertising content without leaving the application so you don’t have to go through the process of going back to the Home screen and perform the same actions to get you back to where you were before clicking the ad. It will be a 60-40 revenue share, where developers will get 60 percent of the revenue, and most likely comes after their acquisition of Quattro Wireless.

As well, Apple has taken a page from Xbox Live and introduce a Game Center API, which gives developers the option to create apps with features like inviting friends to play a game, multiplayer game through matchmaking and track achievements with a scoreboard. It will also become a “social gaming network available to iPhone and iPod touch users”.

Enterprise users will also see new features, including new Mobile Device Management APIs which allows businesses to wirelessly configure and update settings, monitor if it following corporate policies and even wipe or lock the devices, wireless app distribution, data protection and support for SSL VPN. As well, Exchange support now includes Exchange Server 2010.

The new OS will come out in the summer, while the iPad version of this will be out in the fall. Developers can get the beta version now.