Today was a big day for Apple. As we told you about earlier this week, they were holding an event on their campus about the future of iPhone OS. Steve Jobs was here to lead the presentation, which as usual started by throwing some big numbers in our face (450,000 iPad sold, over 600,000 books downloads, 3.5 million iPad apps downloaded, 185,000 apps in the App Store, etc…).

iPhone OS 4

After making the crowd go WOW for a few minutes, Steve-o, loyal to himself, started the presentation about iPhone OS 4.

Here is everything you need to know about iPhone OS 4 (all images are compliments of gdgt):

iPhone OS 4, will come with many many new features. With over 1,500 new APIs for devs, chances are there will be a little something for everyone.

all features

Although iPhone OS 4 will come with hundreds of new features, the presentation was focused on 7 of them.

1. Multitasking


This is a given one that I had predicted since last year (hey no applause for me here, please hehe). As steve Jobs said, “We weren’t the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best”, and I believe him.

Dudes from Pandora and Skype came up on stage and demo’d their apps in action, running in the background. If you’ve seen Backgrounder and Proswitcher, you won’t be amazed by that. I guess the real asset of Apple’s new multitasking is that it’s been developed to not feel sluggish or drain the battery, which you might have experienced with apps like Proswitcher.

Apple will be providing seven multitasking services:

  • Audio streaming
  • Voice Over IP
  • Location
  • Push notifications
  • Local notifications
  • Task completion
  • Fast app switching

It is unclear how multitasking will work for the user. Time will tell. But when asked how you will be able to close apps, Steve said that “users shouldn’t have to ever, ever, ever think about that stuff”.

2. Folders

iphone os 4 folders

Very much inspired from the jailbreak app Categories, Folders will give people the ability to organize their apps better.

Apple added a beautiful UI that allows you to drag and drop your apps in folders. The folder name is automatically created but can of course be edited. Up to OS 3.X, you were able to have 180 apps on your iPhone over 11 pages. If you replace every one of those with a folder, you’re now going to be able to see 2,160 apps!

3. Enhanced Mail

This is another big one that I’ve wanted to see for a while: the unified inbox.

iphone os 4 unified inbox

You can now have all your emails from different accounts come in one unified inbox. Obviously, you can still switch to a specific inbox if you wish too. Additionally, iPhone OS 4 allows you to add multiple Exchange accounts (no more hack needed).

Finally, Apple added the ability to sort your emails by thread, pretty much like Gmail does.

4. iBooks

iphone os 4 ibooks

This is one I really don’t care about. I guess many people do though, and that’s yet another opportunity for Apple to sell you something (ebooks).

Not much was said about iBooks. Basically they brought it from the iPad. Nothing exciting…

5. Enterprise Features

iphone os 4 enterprise

A bunch of features for companies that no one except businesses really care about. My favorite is wireless app distribution which allows a company to wirelessly distribute an application anywhere in the world with their own servers.

6. Game Center

iphone os 4 games

Again, nothing really groundbreaking here. Apple added a social gaming network that does automatic matchmaking, find others with a similar ability and match them against you.

7. iAd

This is the big fish of the day. While you probably won’t give a damn about iAd, let me tell you this: iAd is the reason why I bought a crap load of Apple stocks…

iphone os 4 iad

With almost 100 million devices sold, Apple can now serve about 1 billion ads per day (10 ads per device per day — about the same as a TV show). According to Steve, the problem with ads on mobile devices or on the web is that they’re not capable of delivering emotions. Apple will change this!

People don’t click on ads because they don’t want to be taken away from what they are doing. Because iAd is in the OS itself, Apple figured out how to do interactive and video content without ever taking you out of your app!

They demo’d a few ads that you have to see for yourself as it can’t really be translated into words. So wait for the presentation video to show up on Apple’s website and look at it if you’re interested. All the ads are made in HTML 5 (take that Adobe Flash!).

iAd is definitely a big kick in Google’s nuts!


One thing I forgot to add in there is that you’ll now be able able to add custom backgrounds to your home screen. That’s not really the theming many of us expected, but that’s a start.

Apple will be releasing a developer preview of iPhone OS 4 today at

iPhone OS 4 will be release to the rest of us this summer for the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3G. They will run pretty much everything. The iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G will run many of these new features, but not everything (ie. multitasking) because the hardware just can’t do it. iphone OS 4 won’t be released until this fall for the iPad.

What does that mean? That means that if you have anything but the new iPhone that’s coming out this summer, these new features will suck for you. Sorry to say it so plainely but I want to be clear. These features were designed with the new iPhone and its kickass new processor in mind so if you have an older device, don’t get too excited. Obviously Steve didn’t say that but it’s me translating Jobs talk.

All in all, I’m not impressed by this presentation as I expected much more from iPhone OS 4 but let’s not forget this is just a developer presentation and there is still a few months until the launch of the next iPhone. Like the teaser said, this was just a sneak peek at the future of iPhone OS. Something tells me there is much more to come in the next few months.

Thanks to gdgt for the amazing live blogging and for the images.

Comments anyone?

  • Cooldude

    I have noticed..u are never happy with any apple updates lately..:)

    • It’s because they don’t give me much to be excited about. I mean, yes the iPad looks awesome, but it is not groundbreaking. Yes iPhone OS 4 looks cool, but like many I expected more.

      What did YOU think of the presentation?

  • dudeseriously

    I think it’s absurd that you aren’t impressed with these new features(yeah you and every other apple follower predicted multi-tasking years ago, duh)…I’m beginning to think you bloggers want the iPhone and iPad to wash your dishes, walk the dog and make your dinner….only then would it be “groundbreaking”. Apple has addressed almost every item that people have been asking for(and have in some form through jailbreaking) and yet it’s still not good enough? Sorry but I couldn’t disagree more…I would love to hear what features would be so groundbreaking to you that you would be impressed by them?
    At some point you need to give props where they are due….apple is creating/implementing things their users want and have asked for, in a way that continues to redefine how things are done in a mobile space. How in the world is that not impressive? I follow all the rumor sites like the rest of you and I was still pleased with the release today. It shows apple is listening, innovating and moving forward in the right direction. In the big picture scheme of things that’s all you could ask for and more from from any company! And being a stock holder you should be even more impressed that they also figured out a way to push people into upgrading their older phones…this is a total win from all sides. Sad you can’t see the forest for the trees

  • greytone

    I’d love a unified inbox. But I love the freedom of 3rd party apps and root access more. Given that statement it’s a wonder I even use an iPhone. 🙂 I’ll pass. At least until a jailbreak. Though even then I’m not looking forward to setting everything up all over again.

  • Irha

    iAd built-in to the OS… anyone think antitrust law suite is in order?

  • Blapp

    Why the fuck cant i multitask on 3G. Could’ve just limited the number of concurrent apps, imo. And what’s this nonsense about no taskmanager? Not buying another iPhone just because Apple is greedy and wants me to 🙁


    Nothing new… Still does not support true multitasking but I get Ads from Apple?
    , I’m done, time to switch

  • Eldaria

    Well I’m not that impressed.
    But i guess Apple can’t copy everything from the JB community, since they would admit to being wrong.
    I will not update to 4 unless I can still Jailbreak and make sure I have control of MY device.

  • hilarous

  • Goondoo

    It can’t even play flash! Won’t be getting another iPhone.

  • T-Mizzle

    An associate at the Apple store told me today that I would not have to buy a “new” iPhone, that I will be able to upgrade the phone that I have.

  • Alex

    @ T-Mizzle…..The associate at the Apple Store lied to you. They tell you that you have a “FREE” upgrade but they don’t tell you that you’ll have to sign a new two year contract and that you do in fact have to pay for your new iPhone….it’ll just be at a REDUCED price. For example, when my wife went to go get her “FREE” upgrade…she left the store with a brand new iPhone 3GS and with about two hundred dollars less in her bank account. Just remember this T-Mizzle, the Apple Store associate isn’t going to tell you the whole truth. He’ll tell you what you want to hear so he can get you to the store and once you’re there….he’ll sell you everything from an iPhone to a football bat!

    Sebastien…great article!

  • @LappyGirl

    Thanks Sebastien, for the play-by-play! Now I don’t have to sit through the boring video 🙂

  • michal

    Ok, so we got new Features. Well, I either dont need them or already have it by jailbreaking. Let me summarize, though: We got Copy-Paste after two years, Multitasking after three and people are actually hyped? This is nothing but riddiculous.

    These Apple-Fan-Boys are starting to annoy the hell out of me. Apple REGULARELY brings incomplete products to the market for the sake of being “new” and “revolutionary”. But in fact, an actually GOOD product will be brought out 2-3 years later and Apple Fanboys even go as far as to buy it, since Almighty Steve told them.

    Don’t misunderstand me. Steve Jobs did do a lot of things right and the marketing Apple has is breath-taking. But the SAD thing is that seemingly a lot of people don’t even attempt to see through it.

  • Maya_Kim

    Pretty boring, I must say. I mean, it just look like apple is copying pretty much things from JB community. and Multitasking doesn’t even look so complete, either.

    AND WHY DON’T IPHONE 2G get the firmware??? -___- So is he asking for me to buy the new device whenever it comes out?? Quite disappointing. okay fine. the users of the iPhone 2G need to go die now. please don’t tell me he isn’t going to make any updates for the older users.

    I get that Apple is actually working hard to keep up to date, but I don’t think they are working hard enough. Some new features looks pretty nice, but doesn’t have uses for me -__- god damn it.

  • Iphone Os 4?? is cool :(((( LoL

  • @Goondoo your avatar matches perfectly what you have said dude ahhahaha

  • The Executioner

    The one I miss is being able to save and organize files other than images…

  • very interesting …. !!

  • CON

    Bye Bye Apple…Yes the time has come to switch. Was having a mess around with a mates nokia n97 and it was such a pleasure to use but may be tempted with Nexus 1, its awesome.

    And will be glad to not have to deal with itunes no more, And the apple fanboys who just seem to support apple no matter what they do over their own consumer rights…Their so brainwashed!

  • Érico

    now that i can’t use custon backgroung or multitasking on my 3G what am i supposed to do?

  • Sam

    so no mention of adding a snooze function to calendar reminders??

    What the heck? I’ve had this basic, basic functionality for the last 15 years with various PDA’s/phones: Palm Pilot, iPAQ, Blackberry. When I got the “most advanced phone in the world”, I almost missed a very important appointment, because the 3Gs only told me about the meeting 5 hours ahead of time and then didn’t tell me again.

    I love the entertainment device/phone, but this is something that will make me return the phone before the 30 day trial is over.

    (I already know about apps that remind me via email and text messages. I get so much mail that I have to ignore most of those notifications. I’ve looked into Google Calendar too.)

  • Michael

    I don’t get it… I have categories, kirikae, stanza etc. All working beautifully on 3.1.2. This os offers little to a jailbreaker besides losing the tethering. This is just apple doing what it should have done at the beginning. Pack of a-holes that they are.

  • Shannon

    So, r u saying that the latest iPhone (3G?) that was released will NOT be compatible with the newer 4 software? I was SO excited about this summer 4 release! Please help by explaining. Thanks