iPhone OS 4.0 - set to be released this summer for the iPhone/iPod Touch platforms and fall for the iPad - was previewed yesterday at a media-only event in the U.S. Key new features include multi-tasking (only for the iPhone 3GS and 3rd generation iPod Touches), folders for apps, an improved Mail app and the iBooks app for the iPhone/iPod Touches.
Multi-tasking finally comes to the iPhone OS, with Apple saying that they've managed to overcome the battery-draining barrier to having it in the first place. Apps won't exactly be running fully in the background, instead Apple has released seven services that can run in the background to third-party developers, which include background audio, location services and task completion.
Those of us with too many apps to handle can breathe easy now with the inclusion of folders for the iPhone. Store similar apps together in a single folder, which can also be pinned to the Dock.
The existing Mail app has been improved, emails from multiple accounts can now be seen in one unified inbox, threaded email view is now available (yay).
The brand new iBooks ebook store and reader that launched with the iPad will now be made available for the iPhone OS. It looks you can access any of the books you bought from any of your devices, and bookmarks and last pages read will be synced in the background.
Apple isn't ignoring enterprise-level users of the iPhone OS, adding encryption on the iPhone 3GS, mobile device management for admins to handle fleets of iPhones, SSL VPN support for secure network access and wireless app distribution for in-house apps to be distributed and updated to employees.
Apple goes social? Game Center is Apple's 'social gaming network', one that it says developers have been asking for. See leaderboards, achievements and challenge other players over the game network.
App developers can now insert ads using Apple's in-house new ad serving service. That potentially means more revenue for app developers, especially for those now giving apps away for free. Happily, it seems that ads will run in-app while you're using it and can be dismissed straight away.
Bluetooth Keyboard Support
An admittedly small announcement, but one that interests this reporter, is the debut of external Bluetooth keyboard support (finally) for the iPhone OS. If you ever wanted to type long-form on your iPhone, now it seems you can.