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At last! Multitasking is coming to the iPhone (and iPad)

Paul Nesbitt

Apple has finally announced that full multitasking will come to the iPhone. And it will be just one of many new features included in version 4.0 of the smartphone OS, which will be released until late summer.

And iPhone OS 4.0 will also include, iAd, a new advertising platform designed to give Google a run for its money in the fast growing mobile advertising market.

Speaking at the launch of iPhone OS 4.0, Jobs announced that Apple was opening seven APIs to developers, which will enable them to build apps that can continue to run at the same time as the iPhone is being used for something else. The APIs are for audio streaming (which will enable music apps like Pandora to play on, while you’re doing something else), for VoIP, background location, push notifications (news alerts can pop up, for example), local notification (alerts generated by apps on your iPhone), task completion (leave an upp to upload an image and switch to something else) and fast app switching.

Also introduced was a folders feature, which enables you to store apps in folders. ‘As people are downloading more and more apps, you’re having to flick from page to page to find them. People want a better way to organize them,’ said Jobs.

iPhone OS 4.0 will also come with enhanced email: there is now a unified inbox for multiple accounts, fast inbox switching, and you can organise communications by threads. It will be possible to open attachments with a single tap from within Mail. The iPhone will also get access to the iBooks service launched for the iPad. 

Apple senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall previewed six new ‘enterprise features’ as he noted that ‘over 80% of Fortune 100 companies are using the iPhone.’ The features previewed were better email encryption, mobile device management, wireless app distribution, multiple Exchange accounts, support for Exchange Server 2010 and support for SSL VPN.

In a move, which will have an enormous impact on the iPhone, iPod and iPad’s fortunes in the mobile gaming, iPhone OS 4.0 will include support for networked gaming. ‘We’ve added a social gaming network. We do automatic matchmaking, we’ll find others with a similar ability and match them against you. You can see how you’re progressing in a game with achievements,’ said Jobs in a move, which will directly compete with Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN services.

And Jobs announced a new way for companies to create a better class of mobile ads with the iAd platform.

And Jobs made it explicitly clear that Apple will not back down in its war on Adobe Flash during a question and answer session  after iPhone OS 4.0 was shown off.



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Apple iPhone OS 4.0 multitasking At last! Apple adds multitasking to the iPhone.
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