So, you’ve got iOS 4 installed, now what? Well, one of the most anticipated features to land with the new iOS 4 is its ability to multitask. Most apps in the app store do not yet support this feature, since app developers must explicitly code to the APIs that permit its function, however one app released today is one that we’ve been waiting to see it run in the background for some time now: Pandora. So if you haven’t yet, go get the Pandora update and follow along as we look at this new awesomeness!!
Not long after iOS 4 hit iTunes Apple started releasing iOS 4 capable apps. Pandora Internet Radio is one of them and having it run in the background brings a whole new dimension to using Pandora on the iPhone. In fact, the whole device and experience is more enjoyable rather than the constant frustration it used to be without this function. Gone are the days of pausing music when wanting to check email, browse the web, or whatever. In fact, the process works so well with Pandora that you would swear it was the built-in iPod function that you were listening to and not a third party app – and here’s where things get interesting.
The backgrounding of Pandora enables the application to mimic, in nearly every conceivable way, how the iPod functions work. Pandora takes over the tiny “play” icon in the information bar, replaces the iPod icon on the task bar and if you double click the home button while locked – the iPod controls actually pause/play Pandora – a very nice surprise indeed! So in essence, if you have Pandora installed, you have seemless, iPod-esque control and integration to a constant and endless stream of music. The one lacking integration of running Pandora in the background that I noticed was when I took a phone call: the app failed to resume playing music however, to get it to play again only took a quick double-tap of the home button and a touch of the play icon.
Now, where’s that Skype update that Steve teased us with in the iPhone OS 4 preview keynote address?
Today, Steve Jobs and company introduced us to the up and coming iPhone OS 4.0 due for release this summer. The new and much anticipated iPhone OS upgrade includes many features that users have been asking for since the iPhone originally launched. One key new feature is multitasking applications. However, it doesn’t end there, Apple introduced 7 new key features (and hundreds of other improvements) which Jobs referred to as “tentpoles” in the keynote today.
The seven tentpoles are as follows:
- Multitasking. Noted as the key upgrade coming in iPhone OS 4.0, multitasking will allow apps to perform certain functions in the background. For example, Pandora would still stream music while you are browsing the web with Safari and Skype will accept incoming calls (or outgoing) while sending an email. Multitasking also introduces some other features such as fast app switching via a popup dock that shows you all apps that are currently running. You can then scroll through the running apps and select one to bring to focus.
- Folders, or app folders that I like to call them. Folders is a way of organizing all of your app icons into neat and tidy folders. To create a folder, simply drag one app icon onto another and a folder will automatically be created. The OS also automatically assigns a folder name based on the type of apps that you are initially combining, but you can rename the folder as well.
- Unified mail inbox. A new unified inbox with threaded conversations is also coming which will allow users to see mail from all of their email accounts.
- iAd. Apple is getting into the mobile ad business with the introduction of iAd. iAd promises 60% revenue share with developers where Apple will control and supply advertisers, ad delivery, etc. Ads displayed by iAd do not require the user to leave the running application and can include rich (html 5) content.
- Game Center. Game Center is Apples new social gaming platform (think XBox Live or OpenFeint). Game Center will match players and keep track of high scores and track achievements.
- iBooks. iBooks is Apples new iBook Store on the iPad and will be included in iPhone OS 4.0 for the iPhone and iPod devices. iBooks is a “buy once and read anywhere” platform which allows you to sync your purchased books to any of your iDevices.
- Enterprise features. New features aimed at enterprise users include enhanced email encryption, multiple Exchange accounts and VPN over SSL.
While these are the core 7 features that iPhone OS 4.0 will bring rest assured that there are many more that were briefly discussed or even not mentioned. One of these is home screen wallpaper, something that the jailbreak community has been doing since day 1, finally comes to the OS.
iPhone OS 4.0 will land “this summer” for iPhone 3G and 3GS owners as well as iPod Touch 3rd Gen owners. However, iPhone 3G owners will not receive some key functions, namely multitasking, due to the hardware’s inability to perform the function. Other device owners (iPhone 2G and original iPod Touch) owners are just sheer out of luck on this upgrade. This is where Apple bids you good bye and asks you to buy a new iDevice to keep up with the OS. iPad owners can expect the new OS sometime in the “fall.”