iPhone OS 4.0 has stunning new features

CultofMac has reviews of all the new features. Just hop to their home page and start reading.

New features include

  • Multitasking. This is the big one.
  • Background audio for apps. You’ll be able to listen to Pandora while doing other things
  • Background VOIP. Skype will now alert you when you have a call.
  • Persistent location. It can triangulate between cell towers to determine location rather using battery-draining GPS.
  • Folders for apps. Drag one game on top of another, and you have a games folder. Tap the folder to view the games. Sweet.
  • iBooks.
  • Social gaming service.
  • iAds. Ads can even be games inside apps.

Cult of Mac comment about iAds

This is such a simple innovation, but it’s huge. Apple’s done something truly unique here: they’ve figured out a compelling way to compete with Google in the mobile advertising space. I didn’t think it can be done.

And what do developers get out of this? 60% of the revenues, after Apple has sold the ads.


  1. Uh.. hate to break the bubble here, but everything I’ve seen has said it’s not true multitasking. What they’re doing is allowing a “frozen” state for your app, where it cuts off the CPU, and/or swaps some or all of the code out of memory on demand. There are some things you can ask to do, via APIs, that include the things you mentioned (doing audio in the background, doing minor network stuff, and keeping up on GPS). There’s a way to ask for a little more “cleanup” time after the user has closed or minimized the app, but it’s not guaranteed, and you could wind up being “frozen” several times during your cleanup.

    This is not real multi-tasking, though if coded correctly, some apps may give the appearance of being able to multi-task (like skype, pandora, location aware stuff). The way it’s implemented though means if you have a program that does cpu-based things (like a graphic calculator app), if you switch away from it and come back to it later, it won’t have made any progress on making that chart you wanted.

    It’s great that they’re expanding their API. But make no mistake, this is not true multi-tasking like you get when you jail break it, or use backgrounder. It’s a sophisticated hack to deliver key functionality for a small set of app usage scenarios that got the most complaints. Those being playing music in the background, doing something else while on a call, and allowing GPS apps to not need to re-locate every time they’re interrupted by a text message.

    As for the ads bit, I’d be furious if I owned an iGadget. To pay good money for a phone and service, only to have ads pushed to my phone and handled at the OS level? I’ll stick to my N900, with true multi-tasking and no API for ads in my OS. 🙂

    • The VOIP calls could be a big deal. Skype will be happy. So is listening to music while doing something else. The ad in apps means major competition for Google and may also mean seriously powerful apps that are free (or maybe free and then pay for no ads.)

      But if the multi-tasking is a kludge then …

      • Well, it’s a kludge on purpose. Think about it, task #1 for them was to do multi-tasking “without draining the battery”. If you have the CPU running harder to run 2 things at once (which will happen if you allow real multi-tasking), there’s no way that’s not going to drain the battery faster.

        This method of dealing with things is very similar to how Android deals with multitasking events as well. They have a frozen state, and APIs to deal with things while frozen. But Android also offers a way to do true multi-tasking (assuming you don’t mind breaking your code into 2 parts, GUI and non-GUI).

        Again, this is a patch to add much bemoaned missing functionality that the masses have been asking for since it was launched. Almost all smart phones have been able to do all of this for years. My old N6230 from 6 years ago could play MP3s while browsing the web, and allowed me to look up contacts or add calendar entries while chatting on the phone. (I also had MMS, something iPhones just got in the last update, barely.)

        So, welcome iPhone users to 2002 functionality, assuming you have the recent iGadget, since the 3G and older (Gen1/2 iPhone) won’t get this update. Meanwhile several high-end and more open phones are moving to being computers that happen to be small enough to fit in your pocket, and can make phone calls.

        • What’s iGadget ( I have a 3GS)?

          Yes, the iPhone is way behind on some things, but the installed base, ease of use, and zillions of apps make up for some of that.

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