Apple had given us a sneak peak of its next generation iPhone OS in April. So to recap, iPhone OS 4.0 includes 100 new features for iPhone users and more than 1500 new APIs for app developers.
Here are some of the major new features in iOS 4 that were previewed by Apple at the special event:
iPhone users will finally be able to run iPhone apps in the background. To achieve this Apple will be offering developers seven multitasking services, which will allow their iPhone app to run in the background while preserving performance and battery life.
Users will be able to organize iPhone apps on their iPhone home screen into folders. Users will be able to drag and drop apps into folders.
This means iPhone users will be able to install 2160 apps instead of the current limit of 180 iPhone apps.
However, nothing describes this feature better than the video below. The video also gives a demo of the multitasking feature, which shows how you can close apps running in the background.
Better Mail app:
You will now be able to see messages from multiple email accounts in a unified inbox. iPhone OS 4.0 will also allow you to organize messages by threads, and even be able to open attachments in third-party iPhone apps.
iBooks app will be available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch users so they will be able to browse, buy, and read ebooks.
New Enterprise features:
iPhone OS 4.0 also brings new enterprise features such as data protection, wireless app distribution, mobile device management, SSL VPN support, allows users to set up multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts and will also work with Exchange Server 2010.
New APIs, iAd, Game Centre:
iPhone OS 4.0 includes more than 1500 new APIs for app developers.
Apple has also launched iAd, mobile advertising platform for iPhone apps.
Apple has also announced that it plans to launch Game Center, the social gaming network later this year and has provided GameKit APIs in iPhone OS 4.0 to develop for Game Center.
In addition to the features announced by Apple, we’ve discovered the following hidden features:
Cellular Data Toggling: You have an option to toggle cellular data on or off.
Messages Character Count: You can turn on the 'Character Count' option in Messages Settings in order to keep a tab on the number of characters while typing a message.
Text Messages Search: iPhone OS 4 extends the iPhone's inbox search feature to text messages. You can finally search through your SMS messages.
Camera Zooming: As reported earlier, users taking a picture from their iPhone will now see a sliding bar at the bottom of the screen to zoom in and out while taking a picture (up to 5x digital zoom). Alternately, tapping on the screen will also allow users to zoom in and out while taking a picture.
Web and Wikipedia Search: As we had reported earlier, the global search screen on the iPhone now has two additional options – 'Search Web' and 'Search Wikipedia' to let users directly search for content on the web and Wikipedia.
Document Border: Previewing documents on the iPhone will now display these files without the borders. This is expected to help squeeze in an additional pixel or two of content.
Add New Contacts: The Contact window on the iPhone looks more streamlined in iPhone OS 4 allowing users to enter more details about the contact without navigating away from the main screen.
iPhoto Syncing: iPhoto users can sync their photos to the iPhone via Events, Faces and Places. This will work for the iPad too.
Lyrics Data Toggling: A new global toggling option gives you the ability to turn the display of lyrics on or off.
Photo Resize Option: Users sending large-size image files via email can choose to resize the photo on the go by selecting from the four different file size options.
Add Playlist: The current on-the-go playlists will be replaced by the 'Add Playlist' option in iPhone OS 4 that will be automatically synced back to the users' iTunes account.
Album Info: Browsing albums have traditionally displayed the tracks and the shuffle option. You can view the album thumbnail, track count, length of tracks and album release date.
Location Services For Apps: You can enable or disable location services for each location based apps via Settings -> Location Services. Also, you also get visibility on the apps that have most recently accessed this information using the compass arrow icon.
Email Threading: You can organize emails by thread in the Mail app just like in Gmail. Email threading option can be turned on or off via Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar and turn on or off the 'Organize By Thread' toggle (this feature was demoed during the iPhone OS 4 event, the screenshot shows you how it can be enabled).
Longer Passcodes: Passcodes will no longer be limited to just 4 numbers. You can set a more secure alphanumeric and longer passcode for your iPhone. You can currently use the iPhone Configuration utility to achieve this.
Alerts On App Folders: iPhone OS 4 gives you the ability to sort apps into folders. When any of the apps inside a folder receives an alert, you'll be informed of the same with an exclamation point over the main folder icon.
An iPhone user has demonstrated the ability of the iPhone to act as a flashlight. This is done by pressing the power/lock button of an iPhone running iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 4 three times in quick succession, which lights up the iPhone display with a bright white screen. Pressing the power button one more time will replace the flashlight screen with the normal iPhone display.
You can watch the flashlight in action in the video embedded below.
AT&T has also announced that it will finally allow iPhone tethering with the release of iOS 4. AT&T customers will have to pay $20 to enable it.
Availability and Compatibility:
iPhone OS 4.0 will be available as a free upgrade to iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, second and third generation iPod Touch users. Also the multitasking feature will be available only to iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod Touch (32GB and 64GB models from late 2009) users.
Apple has announced today that it will be releasing iOS 4 in two weeks on June 21. It will be seeding developers of its iPhone Developer program with iPhone SDK 4 GM (Golden Master), which is the shipping version and needs to be used by developers to submit their iPhone apps.
The combination of Apple’s new iPhone 4 and iOS 4 will be very difficult to beat. What do you think?