iPhone iOS 4 has arrived and although many of you know it includes multitasking, there are a few features that might get over looked. It’s all straight forward stuff and if you think we should have included something else sound off in the comments.
Clearly the biggest change or update to the iPhone’s software is the ability to multitask or run apps in the background. Open an app, return to the home screen and the iPhone will leave the app running in the background. To access the background app(s) just double tap the home button and a drawer at the bottom of the screen opens showing the apps. Keep in mind that background apps do not mean that push notifications are now deemed useless, on the contrary in fact. In order to receive AIM or Twitter updates you’ll need to enable push notifications. This should mean a better battery life and you’ll be able to access the ‘push’ notifications without leaving whatever app you happen to be in when that pop up appears. As Steve showed us in his keynote earlier this month you can leave an application and it will freeze it in its current state. This doesn’t apply to all apps, though, since GPS oriented applications can still receive location data while running in the back. You can also carry on VoIP calls, such as Skype, while accessing other parts of the iPhone – in iOS 3 the call would be disconnected. Audio streaming apps, such as Pandora can now run in the background and will pause for an incoming call, but the connection won’t be lost.
Orientation Lock Control And Audio Controls
Double clicking the home button brings up a drawer at the bottom of the screen to access the background apps. Swipe to the left (moving the drawer to the right) allows you to view four more background apps and so forth. Swipe to the right (moving the drawer to the left) accesses a new feature which includes ‘orientation lock’ (prevents the screen from rotating) and audio controls for whatever audio app (Pandora, iPod, etc) is running. If nothing is playing the default audio player is the iPod.
In iOS 3 and every iteration before the iPhone’s mailboxes, provided you had more than one email address, were separate. Now, much like Apple OS X’s mail app you can view all your inboxes at the same time.
Got a crap load of apps? You can now organize them into folder. Just hold down on any app (as if you’re moving it or deleting it) and once they start to shake, move one app on top of another. By default the OS will try to name the folder based on whatever app you’re placing/moving on top. For instance, moving the Pandora app on top of the Yelp app will result in ‘Music’. Place the Yelp app on top of the Pandora app and you’ll get ‘Travel’. Fortunately, you can modify the labels to whatever you’d like. When you tap onto a folder a drawer will appear below showing what applications are contained within.
Home Screen and Wall paper
If you Jailbroke your iPhone than this feature, along with many others, have already been made available. Now you can officially change the background of your home screen without hacking your iPhone.
There are easily more than 5 new features for the iOS 4. But we felt like these were the most pertinent. Not to be overlooked is the ability to focus on the fly while recording videos and the ability to send up to 4 different size/quality photos – good for the bandwidth conscience. What features did we overlook or would you have included that should have made the list?