With iPhone OS 3.1 and earlier, the application launcher can display only 148 applications in total. Besides the limitations in how many apps you could have installed, there was no real organization. If you want organization, you can rearrange the icons onto different screens based on how you wanted them, and that is it.
The upcoming iOS 4.0 brings the ability to create folders by simply dragging one app icon on top of another. Apple automatically names the folder based on the category of apps that are in it, but you can re-name it to whatever you want.
Instead of only having enough room for 148 applications, you can now have 2160. That’s quite a big increase, but that should dissolve some of the complaints on the limitation of space. You can also have folders in the dock, which is kind of nifty.
The iPhone version of Apple iBooks app is pretty much the same as the one that debuted with the iPad.
You’re able to download and read e-books on your iPhone just like you could on Apple’s tablet computer. You can also sync the same book on both devices if they are on the same iTunes account.
Those who are familiar with Microsoft’s mobile gaming center will probably call the iPhone version “Apple Live”.
This feature is going to be used as a social gaming network. Since the demand for playing games on the iPhone/iPod Touch is ever increasing, this was a brilliant part on Apple’s behalf.
You will have the ability to invite friends, be matched up with someone and play against them, leader boards, and achievements. Right now it’s still a work in progress, and no one’s sure if this will be ready for the launch of OS 4 and the new iPhone.
- Custom Home Screen Background
- Spell Check
- Bluetooth Keyboard Support
- Alternate Keyboard Layouts (QWERTY, AZERTY, QWERTZ)
- Alpha-Numeric Passcodes
Apple’s iOS 4.0 also brings a number of enhancements to the standard software:
Messaging: You can now search text messages. There is also a character count feature so you know when you exceed 160 characters. In addition, when a text message fails to send, there will be an exclamation point where it would normally tell you how many new texts you have.
Calendar: There is a new option to view birthdays on the calendar — these birthdays are compiled from all your contacts stored in your phone.
Camera: A 5X optical zoom is included, as well as auto-focusing in video mode now. The next-generation iPhone is supposed to have a higher-resolution camera, but there’s no way to confirm this on my iPhone 3GS.
YouTube: Videos can now be played in vertical orientation.
Calculator: Just a new icon.
Notes: You can now sync notes to Apple’s Mobile Me online service.
Safari: The web browser lets you play videos straight in Safari without going to the Quicktime video player.
iPod: There is now the ability to create and edit playlists right on the iPhone. As someone that listens to a lot of music while I’m on the go, this is a feature that should have been present a while ago (like most of these improvements). There is also now an art in album view which resembles the one in the iTunes store.
What’s Missing from iOS 4.0?
The main thing that is still missing is an Adobe Flash Player. I’m sad to say but I don’t think we will ever see flash for the iPhone or iPad. Everything on the iPhone in Steve Jobs’ eyes has to be perfect, or close to it. Flash on mobile devices just aren’t that stage yet. Plus, how would you interact with flash on a small touch screen phone? I for one can do without all the annoying flash advertisements in Safari for now.
The next-generation iPhone model expected next month will almost certainly launch with iPhone OS 4.0. In addition, Apple has promised free upgrades for the iPhone 3GS and 3G models this summer, while second and third-generation iPod Touch owners will get an upgrade at about the same time for $10.
Not all features in iOS 4 will be available on the iPhone 3G/iPod Touch (2nd Gen), though, while Apple’s first generation smartphone and handheld will not get an upgrade at all.
Expect the new version of this operating system to hit the iPad some time this fall.