Today Steve Jobs announced a huge update to the iPhone operating system which is scheduled to be released this summer. The iPad will get the update in the Fall. While there are over 100 new features, he spent time on seven of them. Here they are, in summary:
At long last, the iPhone can take advantage of running multiple apps at once – sort of. Apple is giving developers access to seven services that can run in the background, including: background audio (good for Pandora), VOIP (good for Skype), location (for nav programs), local notifications, push notifications, and task completion. The interface is super simple – just double-tap the home button to bring up a list of icons that you can switch between.
This is a good one. You will be able to group applications into folders…so instead of having many screens of icons, you can condense them into Games, Productivity, etc. You can place a folder in the dock for easy access. The interface for this requires you to tap and hold an icon and drag it on top of another icon. A folder will be created, and you can have up to nine programs per folder.
Also new is the ability to set wallpaper for your home screens.
New enhancements have been made to mail. Finally, you can unify your inbox and see multiple email accounts in one screen. Also, you can have more than one Exchange account. There’s now a new view that lets you view email by conversation.
This was an easy one to guess – iBooks is coming to the iPhone and iPad touch. Like the Kindle app, it will sync bookmarks, plus your last read page.
Apple is getting even more serious about the Enterprise by adding support for SSL VPN. Also, businesses can wirelessly deploy applications to their employees phones.
Apple is creating a new social gaming network to help bridge together their 50k+ games. With this platform you can see your achievments versus other people. This will be competition to the PSP, Nintendo DS, and Xbox Live for Windows Phone 7.
In an effort to encourage free application develpment, Apple is deploying a new service called iAd that acts as an advertising platform within the apps. The premise behind iAd is that users that choose to interact with ads can remain in the application, and thus not be disrupted as much as you find in current apps. The technology uses HTML5. Developers get 60% of revenue derived from the ads.
(images via gdgt)
What are your thoughts on this major upgrade to iOS? Did Apple get it right?