iPhone OS 4.0: The Best New Features
The curtain has been pulled back on iPhone 4, and the list of new features is massive: There’s multitasking (finally!), a refreshed interface, and literally hundreds of other changes, all coming this summer. Here’s the rundown.
The new OS will ship in June (Fall for iPad, and a developer preview is available today, so we can expect to have plenty of apps updated and ready for launch.
App Folders and More
• Multitasking: It’s here, finally. It’s handled with a simple task switcher: double click your home button, and you get a list of running apps. Select, switch, done. Multitasking is limited to audio streaming, VoIP and GPS apps, as well as a few other allowances: they can finish specific, important tasks in the background, for example. As far as non-music/nav/VoIP apps, those can be suspended in the background, but not left running. (See below.) Full details here.
• Fast app switching: With iPhone 4’s multitasking, most apps aren’t actually running in the background—just certain functions of the app, like an audio stream or a GPS lock. But! All apps can now be frozen, in full, so that when you reopen them, they’re restored to exactly the state they were in when they were closed.
• Local notifications: Notifications can be sent between apps on the phone, not just from remote servers. In other words, if something important happens in an app you’ve opened and moved away from, a notification will pop up in whatever app you’re using at the time, effectively saying “switch back to me!” It’s a fairly clever way to keep track of multiple apps without the need for a start bar or dock-type interface.
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