iPhone OS Version 4 Announced; iAd And iPad Sales
Ah, the fun stuff. The iPhone, the iPad, Apple in general. It’s hard to ignore the fanatical adoration or abhorrence to that particular Cupertino company. But nevertheless, iPhone OS 4 has been announced, and there’s a few good reason to be excited, even for VARs and MSPs. Steve Jobs gave the presentation yesterday, and there’s 7 tricks up his sleeve…
The iPhone OS 4 announcement was live-blogged by quite a few sources, but this particular blogger stuck with the Engadget feed. The whole thing lasted a bit longer than an hour and a half and was pretty straight forward. Jobs laid out 7 “tentpoles” as he called them. Essentially, the 7 pillars that hold up this new version. Some of them are awesome, some of them are not. Here’s the full list:
- Enhanced Mail
- Game Center
Bonus features? Jobs displayed a swath of new ‘user features’ that developers can sink their teeth into for new apps. Bluetooth keyboards are now able to be used on iPhones, along with 5X digital camera zoom, and finally, changing your background.
Now, we could get really technical about those 7 big features, but let me give you the super-quick run down.
Multitasking is finally here. Jobs says “Now we weren’t the first to this party, but we’re gonna be the best. Just like cut and paste.” Indeed, Apple has a history of releasing features ‘when they’re ready’ and they’ve done it here. Multitasking works like everyone pretty much was hoping it would — you leave an App like a GPS or Pandora, and they both run at the same time. Pandora plays your music, the GPS app keeps you from getting lost. Same idea applies to any app, but most notably VoIP stuff. Now you can be on a Skype call and check your e-mail too. And how do you implement it? You just double click the home button and a small ‘dock’ of running apps pop up. Swipe to your running app, tap, and go. It’s really easy. But Jobs stressed that they took a while to do this because they wanted to do it without sacrificing performance or battery life. No details on the magic behind the scenes, but it here, finally.
Folders, as you’d might imagine, is pretty self explanatory. When you move your iPhone icons around — when they get ‘wiggly — you can now ‘stack’ icons on top of each other, and bam! Instant folder. Name the folder what you want, or simply let the iPhone figure it out, based on the types of apps you drop together (e.g. Games). I like organization. This makes me happy. Nothing is more distracting than a home screen messy with apps.
Enhanced Mail is here, and it’s essentially what we’ve been waiting for, at least, those of us with more than one e-mail account. Now you can aggregate all your e-mail accounts into one inbox, and support multiple exchange accounts. Plus, there’s threaded messages, and better attachment support. Huzzah!
The live blogger at Engadget nearly scoffed at the annoucment of iBooks for the iPhone. It was nearly a given, but hardly a ‘pole’ holding up any kind of iPhone OS 4 ‘tent.’ But readers rejoice. Your iPad and iPhone can now read books together, sync books, and the whole shebang.
Enterprise features have been enhanced, and that’s a good thing for everyone who reads this blog and is a fan of the iPhone. Apple has really seen the Enterprise potential in their phone, and though it’s taken them a while, they’ve amped up support for enterprise level features. There’s support for Exchange Server 2010, multiple exchange accounts, better VPN manageability, along with wireless app distribution and, of course, “Better data protection.” (Be sure to check out Matt Weinberger’s article with a more in-depth dive into the Enterprise capabilities for iPhone OS 4).
The Game Center. It is — you guessed it — a center for games, but really more of a leaderboard. Apple is flexing their new-found gaming muscle, and they did so by boasting the iPhone has 50K games, while the Nintendo DS and PSP merely have 2-4K games. That 50K is an awfully inflated figure. Anyone with half a brain knows that just because there’s 100 developers with solitaire apps, doesn’t mean there are truly 50K distinct ‘games’ in the App Store. Tisk tisk. But, none the less, make no mistake; Jobs is after causal / handheld gaming market with this comparison. But I digress — the Game Center is the ‘Facebook’ of mobile gaming, letting you compare and contrast trophies, achievements and high scores with other iPhone toting friends. Could be fun, and shows Apple is serious about games.
iAd is perhaps the most different and intriguing tentpole of them all. Jobs noted that he was unhappy with the state of ads in apps. With iAd, Apple is looking to help the developer do the advertising, but wants a cut. Only 40%. Never the less, Apple is going to give you something for taking that percentage. The iAd is designed to be an interactive app-ad of sorts. Jobs showed off a “Toy Story 3” ad, that unfolds into an app with a few teaser videos, pictures and a quick mini-game. There’s no need to click on an app and have Safari load — everything is self contained. And this is the future of advertising, according to Jobs anyway. It’s quite a good idea, and something that might change the way annoying ads in free apps become fun distractions.
And when do all these goodies finally get here? Summer for the iPhones, and sorry, only the most recent iPhones get the multi-tasking goodies. That means iPhone 3Gs and iPod Touch 3rd Generation. Other iPhones will get the folders and enhanced features, but the good stuff is for the new stuff, and understandably so. The iPhone hardware has continually been upgraded and presumably a fast CPU would be needed for such a thing.
And what about the iPad? Well, you’ll have to wait ’till the Fall. In the meantime, Jobs told the audience that officially, from Thursday, April 8th, 450,000 iPads have been sold. It’s actually a bit low by most estimates, but it’s still a good amount.
So there you have it. Does the iPhone sound like a more complete package now? Besides, it’s only 3 years old…