The wait is finally over as Apple officially announced iPhone OS 4 yesterday. Apple was already getting a lot of coverage for its iPad product, but the latest announcement should take it all to the next level. While we did not get everything we were hoping to get with this new OS, Apple certainly has made the effort to take its smart-phone to the next level. After all, adding multitasking, folders, persistent WiFi, and Game Center is a very good step forward.
As most experts predicted, Apple unveiled its mobile advertising platform (iAds) during yesterday’s event. Apple and Google have been going back and forth over the smartphone market. While Google has its hands full with AdMob, Apple is moving on with iAds. The move has received thumbs up from Wall Street, and it should bring Apple some more revenue to play with. It should also give free app developers the chance to make more money from their apps. Considering that Apple iPhone is responsible for a big portion of mobile web browsing, Google may not be too happy with this “expected” development.
iPhone OS 4 finally brings multi-tasking to iPhone. That has been one of those weaknesses that Apple competitors have picked on in the past to try to hype up their own devices. The move should have happened a long time ago, but it’s better late than never. With the enhanced mail client and multi-tasking support, the iPhone is more ready for business than ever before.
We are going to get iBooks on iPhone with iPhone 4.0. So if you are not too satisfied with Amazon Kindle app for iPhone, you can always use iBooks. As is the case with the iPad, iBooks for iPhone is free as well. The addition of folders is going to be a life-saver for those of us who have lots of apps on our devices. As long as you group some of your apps together, you are going to have an easier time fitting all your apps into your iPhone.
Some minor issues are addressed with this release as well. The fact that you can now use multiple background images on your iPhone (for lock-screen & home page) is a nice addition. Persistent WiFi will come handy for those of you who rely heavily on your WiFi network to get things done. Not having to sign back to your WiFi network everytime your device goes to sleep is a big positive.
The idea behind Game Center is pretty exciting as well. Having the ability to challenge others to games and even play against the strangers on your iPhone is going to make the device even more entertaining. If you are into mobile gaming, you are going to have more ways to show your superiority to your friends and game buddies.
So we got a lot with iPhone 4.0 OS. But we did not get Flash support. Also, the fact that the OS won’t work on many older Apple products is not great news for loyal Apple fans who are still cherishing their old iPhones and iPod Touch units. The fact that we are still going to need a third-party app to transfer large files from home computers to iPhone is not convenient either. We didn’t get a FM radio (no biggie), nor did we get WiFi syncing. Apple also seems to have failed to stop hackers from jailbreaking its OS as OS 4 beta seems to have been hacked already.
iPhone OS 4 is not perfect but it’s overall a decent move by Apple. Apple was never going to give us everything in one shot. Its multi-tasking solution may not be perfect and support for older iPhone units is less than adequate. As far as performance is concerned, we will just have to wait and see.