This article was published on April 8, 2010

Apple iPhone OS 4: Everything you need to know in one handy list

Apple iPhone OS 4: Everything you need to know in one handy list
Jacob Friedman
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Jacob Friedman

Jacob is a tech blogger and IT professional living in Chicago, IL. Follow him on Twitter here, like him on facebook here, or email him here. Jacob is a tech blogger and IT professional living in Chicago, IL. Follow him on Twitter here, like him on facebook here, or email him here.

After months of speculation and rumors, Apple’s newest OS has finally arrived. The iPhone OS 4.0, which will release in late June, was announced today.

Analysis can come later, but for now here’s what we know.


  • The OS will support multitasking. Jobs claims that multitasking will not consume significantly more power or system resources than normal single app operation will.
  • Multitasking will be available on seven classes of apps.
  • The first is music. Apps like Pandora will now be able to run in the background without dramatically affecting browser performance or speed.
  • VOIP is another class of apps that will be able to run in the background. Skype can now run in the background, allowing you to receive texts and calls while not actively using the app.
  • Navigation and other location-based services are important applications of this multitasking feature. Now apps like TomTom Navigator and Navigon can run in the background, allowing you to browse and still receive directions.
  • Push notifications will also be able to run in the background.
  • Apps that take time to run a process, like uploading photos to flickr, will be able to do these processes in the background.
  • Apple will also allow local notification apps to run in the background.
  • Apple does not expect multitasking to significantly increase the strain on network traffic for AT&T.


  • Drag and drop interface.
  • Automatically creates names based on app categories in the app store.
  • However, these folders are re-nameable.
  • Users can put these folders in the dock.
  • Users can also change the wallpaper of these folders.


  • Huge improvements in the mail feature.
  • Unified inbox feature means that you can have multiple accounts delivered into one inbox.
  • Users can now have multiple Exchange accounts.
  • New fast inbox switching feature allows users to quickly flick from inbox to inbox.
  • Threaded messages will be integrated into the inbox.
  • Ability to open attachments or download plugins from app store to do so.


  • Brings iPad’s books app to iPhone
  • Wireless page and notes syncing
  • Looks the same as iPad app

Enterprise features

  • Better data encryption and protection features are integrated.
  • Mobile device management makes it easy for companies to manage huge amounts of iPhones.
  • Companies can wirelessly deliver in-house apps to their iPhones.
  • Exchange 2010 Server support.
  • Multiple Exchange accounts on a single phone, as mentioned before.
  • SSL VPN support is built into the OS.

Game Center

  • Matchmaking will be available from day 1.
  • Same with Leaderboards
  • Same with Achievements, although Xbox Live-style gamerscores are still up in the air.
  • Jobs describes it as “A social gaming network.”
  • Apple expects developers like ngmoco to use the Apple social network rather than their own because of its cross-developer appeal. Some developers came to them asking for them to do this.


  • Mobile advertising built right into the iPhone
  • This will help app developers make money.
  • Most current in-app advertising is terrible.
  • The idea is to help keep free apps free.
  • Since apps are replacing search on mobile devices, people aren’t getting ad revenue.
  • An estimated 1 Billion total worldwide ad opportunities a day, assuming 10 ads per user/day.
  • Apple is hoping to improve the quality of ads on mobile devices (and the web in general).
  • They want to deliver a more “TV ad-like experience” to mobile platforms.
  • The good news is that the ads won’t yank you out of your app. They’re built right into the OS and they won’t screw the user experience up, or so says Jobs.
  • Apple will sell and host the ads, and give 60% to the developers.
  • HTML5 ads.
  • Easy to drop into and out of.
  • Not like videos necessarily, almost like mini-apps.
  • They’re not popups, either. You have to click play. Some ads even have minigames.
  • There are even in-ad purchases available.

These “tentpoles,” as Jobs called them, will run completely on iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3rd generation models. They won’t run completely on 3G and iPod Touch 2nd gen models, but most components will. The older iPhones have hardware limitations that prevent multitasking from working correctly. Original iPhones apparently won’t be supported.

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