By Guest Writer
on 4.8.10

iphone-os-4-gear-patrolSteve Jobs and all his buddies at Infinite Loop just unveiled the latest (and long overdue) iteration of the iPhone operating system today. While it is (unfortunately for some) still exclusive to AT&T for the time being, and it is still not open source, over 100 new features have been added that will undoubtedly breathe some new life into the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch that will make their owners happy campers.

If you couldn’t care less, about Apple products, feel free to carry on your merry way. For those that own the iPhone of iPod Touch, a breakout of the 7 major new updates right after the jump.

Out of all the new features, Multi-tasking is probably the most important, and most sought-after. Apple knocked the ball out of the park on this one; implementing it in a way not seen in any other mobile phone platform. Along with multi-tasking, the inclusion of folders was introduced, and much like with multi-tasking, they designed the functionality and design perfectly to compliment the rest of the phone with the user in mind. 4.0 will be dropping this summer, and fall for the iPad. For those interested Engadget has a thorough overview.

Multi-tasking

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #1
This is the big one that we’ve all been waiting for. Users can flip between different applications at once through a trick interface that avoids any task bar. Just double tap the home button and a small scroll bar appears at the bottom allowing you to access any other application running in the background. VOIP calls while you play Sudoku? Yup. Buy an iTunes song while you’re listening to Pandora? You betcha. Better yet, fast switching between apps. The catch: multi-tasking won’t be enabled for earlier iPod Touches and the original iPhone 3G.

Folders

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #2
Got 9 pages of apps and constantly asking yourself where the hell Shazam and Tap Tap Revenge are? Now, you can bundle a few apps within a folder that creates its own little self-designed icon using the other apps icons. It’s been long overdue and should provide a lot less thumbing back and forth looking for apps.

Unified Inbox with Message Threading

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #3
For email users, this one’s big. All your email accounts will now be available in one single inbox and you can even sync multiple Exchange accounts (thank you very much). Message threading has also been enabled so those used to the Gmail interface will be happy at seeing this. Oh, you can also open and see attachments from a new app available at the iTunes app store.

Improved Data Protection

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #4
Email and its attachments have also had their security improved through beefed up encryption.

iBooks

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #5
Books you just purchased are now available on the iPhone or iPod Touch. This one’s great because you’re not going to want to carry the larger form factor iPad (if you have or even want one) and why limit yourself from reading while you’re waiting for the train?

Game Center

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #6
Think social network for gaming, or better yet a quasi-XBox Live for the iPhone. Challenge strangers through match-making, earn points, play with friends. It’s here and we’re sure Sony, Microsoft, and especially Nintendo will be looking at this closely. By the way, there are over 50,000 games available now.

iAd

iPhone OS 4.0 Update #7
This one really won’t matter to much of you, but the result just might. All those free apps require some way of making money and if Apple can help developers figure out how to make apps at low or no-cost to users then we’re all about it. Obviously this requires advertising and Apple has created an innovative way of doing it (think apps within apps). Apple will also sell the adds for the developers and split the revenue 40/60 (60% for developers). Not too shabby.

Available for iPhone and iPod Touch Summer 2010. iPad in Fall 2010.

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