Thursday, April 8, 2010

iPhone OS 4.0 Press Conference Summary

Steve Jobs announced iPhone OS 4.0 today. The big headline is that multitasking comes to the iPhone. The beta is available to registered developers today and the ship date is for Summer. iPhone OS 4.0 will not run on iPads, which will continue to use either iPhone OS 3.2 or a 3.x interim update. iPhone OS 4.1 (or 4.x), which is slated for Fall delivery, will bring multitasking to the iPad.
Today: Developer beta of iPhone OS 4.0
Summer: iPhone OS 4.0 ships (3GS and iPod touch 3rd gen. iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen will not do multitasking.)
Fall: iPhone OS 4.x unifies new features for iPad and iPhone

No new hardware was announced today, but here are the 7 key new features as enumerated by the master of the reality distortion field, himself.

1. Multitasking
2. Folders
3. Enhanced email
4. iBooks
5. Enterprise
6. Game Center
7. iAd Mobile Advertising

Here's a bit more detail on each of what Apple is calling the 7 "tentpole" features of iPhone OS 4.0. It's worth noting the three of the tentpoles are aimed at markets controlled by BlackBerry (mobile email), Microsoft (corporate datacenter), and Google (interactive advertising). Of the other four, Multitasking is the game-changer, Folders is a nice feature, iBooks is a no-brainer, and Game Center puts a bunch of 3rd-party APIs out of business.

1. Multitasking; it's all about the UI implementation. No limits on concurrency and no "battery drain." It's a very thoughtful and rich implementation that keeps the iPhone user experience well ahead of pursuers.
seven multitaking services as APIs to developers
1. Background audio
2. VoIP
3. Background location
4. Push notifications
5. Local notifications
6. Task completion
7. Fast app switching

2. Folders; not a file system, but a way to organize and categorize apps. Probably the #1 requested feature by people who don't understand why Multitasking is actually a much bigger deal.
180 -> 2,160 apps

3. Enhanced email; one more bastion of BlackBerry superiority falls to Apple's rapid enhancements
Unified inbox
Multiple Exchange accounts
Fast inbox switching
Threaded messages
open attachments with apps

4. iBooks; an obvious addition, but it does allow for buy once and read anywhere and it is the finest eBook consuming implementation currently available.

5. Enterprise; full-frontal attack on IT and the enterprise datacenter (good thing we've got "Enterprise iPhone and iPad Administration" just getting ready for re-launch.)
Better data protection
Mobile Device Management
Wireless app distribution
Multiple Exchange accounts
Exchange Server 2010
SSL VPN support

6. Game Center; incremental improvement currently being provided by 3rd-party APIs
Social gaming network

7. iAd Mobile Advertising; this one's the big sleeper with potentially huge revenues for Apple. Apps are to Apple what search results are to Google.
Emotion + interactivity
Ads keep you in your app
Built into iPhone OS
Apple sells & hosts the ads
60% revenues -> developer

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