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First Look: Apple's iOS 4 for iPhone, iPod touch

post #1 of 179
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Apple is celebrating the summer solstice this year by making the next major reference release of its mobile operating system available, for free, on Monday June 21st. The new iOS 4 will provide existing iPhone and iPod touch users with a system-wide upgrade and pave the way for the iPhone 4 launch on Thursday.

Apple's iOS 4 provides a variety of new and enhanced features on a core OS level, on a developer API level, and on the surface for end users. Some of these features are limited to new hardware in the latest iPhone 4 (such as FaceTime video calling), while others are only available on last year's iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch (including multitasking).

iOS 4 is not supported on the original 2007 iPhone and iPod touch models, and can't be installed on iPad. Apple says a later release this fall will bring iOS 4 features to iPad users, much like the special iPhone OS 3.2 that was exclusive to the iPad at its launch. For all other iOS device users, iOS will be made available for immediate download as a software update within iTunes; that's an distinct advantage Apple holds over most other smartphone platforms, where users might wait months for a new software update to be made available by their mobile provider and for their specific phone model.

iPad features for other mobile devices

iOS 4 delivers a number of features from iPhone OS 3.2 (as it was called upon its release), which debuted on iPad this spring, to iPhone and iPod touch users. These include:

1. A revised look and feel reminiscent of the Mac OS X desktop, including a glass shelf Dock, translucent status bar, and support for custom wallpaper on the Home screen. Gone are Apple's efforts to differentiate the iPhone and iPod touch by giving each a different dock design and withholding apps from the touch. The only real differences between the iPhone and iPod touch now relate to hardware, and iOS 4 works to abstract away any differences wherever possible.
2. Support for iTunes "File Sharing," which copies documents associated with a specific app on or off the device when it syncs with iTunes. iOS 4 also exposes the concept of opening email attachments with a particular app, another feature that debuted on iPad.
3. Support for suggested search terms in Safari when users begin entering a query.
4. HTML5 videos can now play within the browser window, rather than launching the QuickTime full screen player, similar to how iPad works.
5. Support for Apple's iBooks ebook reader and store app, which now also functions as a PDF document library and viewer.
6. Support for Bluetooth keyboards and for system-wide spell check, word suggestion and replacement, and other developer-extendable features that can be included in the text selection copy/paste menu. International layouts on the virtual keyboard can also now be selected from a contextual menu rather than just cycling through multiple configured layouts by hitting the globe icon.
7. iPod music playback now gets album art in its listings, and presents additional metadata for the currently playing song or podcast when the user brings up playback controls. Users can also create playlists on the device, rather than only syncing configured playlists from iTunes or only creating simple iPod-style "on the go" playlists.
8. A software orientation lock, like the iPad's hardware switch, enables users to keep their iPhone from flipping back and forth between landscape and portrait when holding the device perpendicular to the ground (such as when lying in bed). In iOS 4, the orientation lock is presented when you double-click on the Home button and swipe to the left. Also available in this menu are background audio controls, which default to iPod playback but can also be used by third parties with apps that support Background Audio multitasking (something that isn't yet available on iPad).
9. A new Location Services icon in the menu bar that flags when the current app is accessing your location, either using GPS or WiFi triangulation. Apple reports this to the user for privacy reasons, and also forces apps to request permission to perform location lookups via the operating system, so that apps can't track users' location without their being aware that Location Services are active. In iOS 4, there is also now per-app preferences for enabling or disabling specific titles from determining location. Apps that lookup the user's location are flagged on the Location Services page within Settings so users can track which apps are tracking them. iPad does not yet expose this new fine grained control in its Location Services preferences.



On page 2 of 3: New user features in iOS 4.

New user features in iOS 4

The new release also ushers in new features that aren't available on iPad and won't be until Apple delivers a custom release for it this fall. These include:

10. Multitasking, the biggest feature of the new system. AppleInsider detailed how the new multitasking features work (there are multiple classes of multitasking support) and how it differs from other smartphone platforms that simply allow lots of apps to all be left running in the background. Apps updates are already being posted to iTunes with new support for different levels of multitasking.
11. FaceTime, exclusive to the iPhone 4.
12. New Folders for organizing groups of up to a dozen apps into a collection. Drag an app on top of another and a Folder is created. Drag in additional apps (but not folders; they don't combine or nestle) and you end up with an icon full of the first nine app's mini icons. This feature packs lots of apps into a small space and keeps them organized, but the app icons are no longer as readily visible, so you might need to start launching apps via Spotlight rather than trying to hunt them down visually. Folders can also be created and managed in iTunes.
13. Support for Microsoft Bing in Safari as an alternative search engine to Google (the default) or Yahoo.
14. A new ability to use the Spotlight page to launch searches via Safari (via the currently selected search engine) or Wikipedia.
15. Search support in Messages for looking up text in SMS messages. The app also gets a message character counter to avoid overshooting the 150 per-message limit.
16. Mail now presents multiple accounts in a single unified mailbox view. There's also new threading features for following emails in a conversation, rather than just by date received. Mail also supports multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts at once. When sending photos as attachments, Mail offers to reduce the message size by scaling down the photos (similar to the desktop Mac OS X Mail).
17. Photos adds support landscape browsing of album, and for Events, Faces, and Places from iPhoto, and also tracks GPS geolocation Places tagged by the Camera app.
18. Camera gets tap to focus when recording video (on iPhone 3GS or newer phones), a digital zoom feature, and new support for the additional cameras and LED flash
19. iOS 4 adds support for stronger lock passwords rather than just a 4-digit PIN.
20. New support for accessibility features, including additional braille devices via Bluetooth and audible keyboard feedback.
21. YouTube now supports portrait orientation video playback.
22. Notes now supports the idea of accounts, allowing users to view local notes (that aren't synced) and additionally notes synced with external accounts, including MobileMe or other IMAP services.



On page 3 of 3: New features for developers.

New features for developers

iOS 4 adds a lot of under the hood plumbing for third party developers to exploit in their apps, along with general core OS features that enable new functionality and make the system faster and more robust. Apple claims 1500 new APIs for developers in iOS 4. Many are rather esoteric, but there's a few that are very visible to users:

23. New core OS features that bring iOS into feature parity with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, including support for Blocks and Grand Central Dispatch, IPv6 networks and SSL VPNs.
24. New access to camera features, from raw pixel data for still photography applications to full video access and a new AV Foundation framework that provides the core functionality Apple exposed it its own new iMovie app. iOS 4 also adds enhanced new support for HTTP Live Streaming for adaptive live and on-demand streaming of video, and provides rich access to photos and videos via Media Library APIs.
25. CoreMotion for sophisticated use of accelerometer and magnetometer (compass) data, along with the new gyroscope in iPhone 4.
26. Support for Calendar data store access from the new Calendar Event Kit, enabling apps to create and work with event information. Apple also now supports CalDAV-compliant account sync in Calendar (used by Mac OS X Server's Calendar Server) and CardDAV-compliant account sync in Contacts (used by Address Book Server). Developers can also incorporate SMS features into their apps, add Quick Look support, and use improvements to Map Kit for drawing routes or adding overlays to map views they embed in their apps.
27. The new iAd, more than being just a revised new type of mobile ads, is actually deeply integrated into iOS to allow developers to easily add support for subtle advertising within their apps that provides the maximum payback. That means more potential for apps that might not otherwise exist without a sponsor.
28. New support for advanced OpenGL ES features, including sophisticated shadows, full scene anti-aliasing for graphics smoothing, and new optimizations for performance.
29. The new Game Center is present in iOS 4 as a developer preview, but won't be ready for prime time until later in the year. Developers will need to add support for Game Center to their apps.
30. New Accelerate APIs provide hundreds of mathematical functions optimized for iPhone and iPod touch, including signal-processing routines, fast Fourier transforms, basic vector and matrix operations, and industry-standard functions for factoring matrices and solving systems of linear equations.

post #2 of 179
One of the most improved software (and hardware) updates to date. Unlike, Google, Apple likes to 'WOW'! people with their yearly software update, not weekly update of the still sluggish here-and-there software(Android).

Oh, and i'm first
post #3 of 179
I guess later in the morning? I just tried and it's still not available...and technically the 21st already....

\
post #4 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexhasfun28 View Post

One of the most improved software (and hardware) updates to date. Unlike, Google, Apple likes to 'WOW'! people with their yearly software update, not weekly update of the still sluggish here-and-there software(Android).

Oh, and i'm first

Great update indeed, but c'mon, have you ever used Android? I know I haven't.
post #5 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Great update indeed, but c'mon, have you ever used Android? I know I haven't.

Android often "lags" and lacks the polished, smooth functionality of the Cocoa Touch interface. Try multitasking with a few apps at once, and say goodbye to system-wide responsiveness and battery life. Froyo is a significant improvement, from what I'm hearing, however. But I doubt it will be on par with iOS 4 on the new iPhone 4. The benefits of pairing excellent software with excellent hardware cannot be understated.
post #6 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by smileyborg View Post

Android often "lags" and lacks the polished, smooth functionality of the Cocoa Touch interface. Try multitasking with a few apps at once, and say goodbye to system-wide responsiveness and battery life. Froyo is a significant improvement, from what I'm hearing, however. But I doubt it will be on par with iOS 4 on the new iPhone 4. The benefits of pairing excellent software with excellent hardware cannot be understated.

Interesting. I had no idea - surely Gizmodo hasn't been lying to me.
post #7 of 179
Anyone have a feel for when the new OS will be posted? Is there a usual time (like Steve always plans stuff on Tuesday, usually)?
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post #8 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitewing98 View Post

Anyone have a feel for when the new OS will be posted? Is there a usual time (like Steve always plans stuff on Tuesday, usually)?

I says the release is on Monday the 21st, which it already is...I was waiting to go to bed in hopes to upgrade now so I'd be able to play with it tomorrow but I guess it will have to wait until I get home from work tomorrow night.
post #9 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranchogirl View Post

I says the release is on Monday the 21st, which it already is...

Guys the release the update after having had a morning Tall Fat Free Soya Milk Frappucino => CALIFORNIA time. It's 1.13 in the morning in the Bay Area......
post #10 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranchogirl View Post

I says the release is on Monday the 21st, which it already is...I was waiting to go to bed in hopes to upgrade now so I'd be able to play with it tomorrow but I guess it will have to wait until I get home from work tomorrow night.

...it'll be released 08:00 Cupertino Time??? Other timezones will have to sit tight!
post #11 of 179
I can't wait until Thursday! I reserved a 16GB!
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post #12 of 179
Nice article AI...
post #13 of 179
Another several hours to go? I was thinking of making an Official Countdown thread but that would be just ridiculous LOL.

7 HOURS TO GO.
(Just guessing )
post #14 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

I can't wait until Thursday! I reserved a 16GB!

I can't wait till November! Coz that's when I'll probably get my iPhone4, here in Malaysia
post #15 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhunter View Post

...it'll be released 08:00 Cupertino Time??? Other timezones will have to sit tight!

JOIN THE Countdown! \
post #16 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post

Guys they release the update after having had a morning Tall Fat Free Soya Milk Frappucino => CALIFORNIA time. It's 1.13 in the morning in the Bay Area......

You forgot that's a Tall Fat Free Organic Soy Milk Frappucino in a Recycled Bamboo Take Away Cup... Gawd I miss the Bay Area.
post #17 of 179
Did not know it counts your characters in a text message. Good news since I always shoot past 150 characters and have to pay for more messages. Lame ancient SMS service. Also not cool that you can't decide when to use MMS on iPhone since it's pretty good as a container for text I think.
post #18 of 179
It looks like a nice update.

AI: Please when creating a numbered list, use the <ol> tag (e.g., <ol start="20">), not the <ul>; tag with a manually entered number. The lists were quite hard to read as well, they need some line spacing.
post #19 of 179
Well, it's just past 11am here in the UK and still no update.

I have however done general housekeeping which I recommend everyone does prior to the upgrade. Common sense stuff really, just;
1. Make sure you have the very latest iTunes software.
2. Sync you device prior to the upgrade and make sure all of your apps on both the device and iTunes are the very latest ones. Earlier versions may not work as expected in iOS4.
3. Delete / untick in iTunes, anything you no longer need on your device such as old podcasts, music you don't listen to, Movies you have already watched, etc. The less you have on your device, the quicker the update process.
4. Make sure you have at least 1.5 gigs free on the device. When upgrading to 3.1, I only had 900 Megs free, and the update failed. I believe it needs some storage space for unpacking the install file and then shuffling data around until it uploads it fully, and then diagnostics, etc.
5. If you have any film rentals currently on the device, I fully recommend that they are moved back to iTunes first, then once you have completed the update and are happy with it, move the rental content back. Simply because if you device gets bricked, you might not get it back prior to the content expiring.

Hope this helps make you updates go smoothly.

Phil
post #20 of 179
So it should hit Australia about 1 am 22nd June.

hello from tomorrow night.

At least I'll have something new to play with while I wait for iPhone 4.
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post #21 of 179
Until Apple announces it, it isn't official.

iOS 4 Software Update COMING SOON
http://www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate/

And the last time I looked, a day is still composed of 24 hours.
post #22 of 179
Lovin' the new features. The only thing I hate is how the iPod Touch 2nd Gen doesn't get multitasking or home screen wallpapers. I mean come on, how hard is it to render a picture over icons!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexhasfun28 View Post

One of the most improved software (and hardware) updates to date. Unlike, Google, Apple likes to 'WOW'! people with their yearly software update, not weekly update of the still sluggish here-and-there software(Android).

Oh, and i'm first

Right, because Android doesn't have multitasking or home screen wallpapers. </sarcasm> Its just an OS.

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post #23 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zc456 View Post

Lovin' the new features. The only thing I hate is how the iPod Touch 2nd Gen doesn't get multitasking or home screen wallpapers. I mean come on, how hard is it to render a picture over icons!?



Right, because Android doesn't have multitasking or home screen wallpapers. </sarcasm> Its just an OS.

i tried a Nexus One with Froyo 2.2 for about 3 days before i went back to my 3Gs.....
there is absolutely NO comparison. iPhone FTW!!!!
post #24 of 179
the world cycle clicks once
the sun bow;s and move s over for the silver moon dream land scape to rule over world
click
the world cycle clicked again and apple just landed a fantastic ios 4
no matter how many cycles we click android will never
catch the silver moon beams lighting our apple world

9
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post #25 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zc456 View Post

Lovin' the new features. The only thing I hate is how the iPod Touch 2nd Gen doesn't get multitasking or home screen wallpapers. I mean come on, how hard is it to render a picture over icons!?

It's a RAM memory issue. iPhone 3G and iPodTouch 2G only have 128 Mbytes of RAM. Implementing either or both of these features would eat into that Valuable RAM space too much and make the device sluggish.

Although it is possible to achieve via jailbreaking, if you don't mind occasional crashes.

Phil
post #26 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Until Apple announces it, it isn't official.

iOS 4 Software Update COMING SOON
http://www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate/

And the last time I looked, a day is still composed of 24 hours.

I couldn't agree anymore. ai is getting ahead of themselves with this article... I found it very deceiving.
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post #27 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Interesting. I had no idea - surely Gizmodo hasn't been lying to me.

I think when talking about Android people want to sound balanced, impartial and do not, under any circumstances be branded with the dreaded F word (fanboy).

So they overcompensate and end up exaggerating the importance of minor advantages Android had over iPhone while ignoring more significant and problematic flaws.

The other thing which bothers me about Android is that Google says 2x - 5x speed ups in Froyo. Yet many phones are artificially limited from upgrading to Froyo, either because the vendor hasn't felt like/got round to updating its custom skin, or the carrier hasn't pushed the update or some other reason.

So there is a huge number of Android devices out there which are artificially capped in performance thanks to poor software optimisations (if you can get 2x improvements on the same hardware that to me suggests the VM wasn't very well optimised to begin with**). If Apple had the same problem there would be a riot, yet for Android it gets a free pass.


** Off topic but in the interests of balance: the same logic applies to Snow Leopard. Some of the improvements there were a result of things being rushed to finished in Leopard.
post #28 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitewing98 View Post

Anyone have a feel for when the new OS will be posted? Is there a usual time (like Steve always plans stuff on Tuesday, usually)?

9to5mac states that:
Quote:
Most industry watchers expect the new OS to ship at or near 10am Pacific Time.

source
post #29 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

i tried a Nexus One with Froyo 2.2 for about 3 days before i went back to my 3Gs.....
there is absolutely NO comparison. iPhone FTW!!!!

No offense but, your comment is pretty predictable. Especially the last sentence.

I mean, I understand this is an Apple website and all. However, there is such thing as preferring Macs while liking a different phone OS (ie. me), or vice versa. So while, yes, iOS is great, I personally feel that there is an comparison after trying Android. Which isn't a bad thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post

The other thing which bothers me about Android is that Google says 2x - 5x speed ups in Froyo. Yet many phones are artificially limited from upgrading to Froyo, either because the vendor hasn't felt like/got round to updating its custom skin, or the carrier hasn't pushed the update or some other reason.

Froyo isn't officially out yet for the public, just the Nexus One. On another note, what does faster OS speeds haft to do with OEMs updating their to the latest OS?

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post #30 of 179
I'm still waiting for an app (free ?) that allows to recieve SIP calls (with notification) while closed. This should be a piece of cake now.

Edit: sp.
post #31 of 179
[QUOTE=Zc456;1657097]Froyo isn't officially out yet for the public, just the Nexus One. /QUOTE]

It's really funny to hear the Android fans say that fragmentation isn't a problem. My daughter just received a Motorola Backflip last week - and it's running Android 1.5. Motorola says that they hope to be able to update it to 2.1 'some day', but they're not even talking about 2.2. And that even assumes that the carrier supports it.
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post #32 of 179
4.5 to 5.5 HOURS TO GO.
(Estimated)

.....................

GO SPAIN! You better win tonight's match!
post #33 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's really funny to hear the Android fans say that fragmentation isn't a problem. My daughter just received a Motorola Backflip last week - and it's running Android 1.5. Motorola says that they hope to be able to update it to 2.1 'some day', but they're not even talking about 2.2. And that even assumes that the carrier supports it.

Sigh... like I said, Froyo isn't out for the public yet. As for your daughter being stuck with 1.5, most Android applications still support the older versions. So it really isn't that big of a deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by womble2k2 View Post

It's a RAM memory issue. iPhone 3G and iPodTouch 2G only have 128 Mbytes of RAM. Implementing either or both of these features would eat into that Valuable RAM space too much and make the device sluggish.

Although it is possible to achieve via jailbreaking, if you don't mind occasional crashes.

Phil

I'm actually not all up and in arms about multitasking as you may think, otherwise I would have gone on about that next. Its just wallpaper kinda bugging me. I've actually always thought Push Notifications was a welcome edition.

... When used. Yes, I'm talking to you Skype.

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post #34 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zc456 View Post

Sigh... like I said, Froyo isn't out for the public yet. As for your daughter being stuck with 1.5, most Android applications still support the older versions. So it really isn't that big of a deal.

I've got a Hero stuck on 1.5. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is lacking a lot. The update to 2.1 is coming this month though, finally.

The speed up with 2.2 might not apply to those phones that are ARM11 based like the Hero. All the newer phones are Cortex A8 based though, so not a problem for them.
post #35 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitewing98 View Post

Anyone have a feel for when the new OS will be posted? Is there a usual time (like Steve always plans stuff on Tuesday, usually)?

Major updates are usually available around noon CST.
post #36 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post

Tall Fat Free Soya Milk Frappucino

if you make that decaffeinated it's called a "why bother".
post #37 of 179
I'm just wondering whether to update today/tonight, or let this cook out in the wild for a week or so before upgrading? I've had great results on my MacPro at home with updates and upgrades, but this will be my first time thru a major upgrade on the iPhone. I have to say though that the new features sound incredibly enticing, especially being able to background audio apps. Maybe I can finally listen to Slacker/Pandora while running with iMapMyRun going.
post #38 of 179
What the he'll are you all counting down to? The moment in which you wont be able to use a single damn feature of os 4 because there has been no effort of the part of developers or apple to get app store apps ready? Be prepared for disappointment because you are not going to see a bunch of updates suddenly appear after the os goes live. Its going to be a long sad launch with bad PR.
post #39 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by svnipp View Post

I'm just wondering whether to update today/tonight, or let this cook out in the wild for a week or so before upgrading? I've had great results on my MacPro at home with updates and upgrades, but this will be my first time thru a major upgrade on the iPhone. I have to say though that the new features sound incredibly enticing, especially being able to background audio apps. Maybe I can finally listen to Slacker/Pandora while running with iMapMyRun going.

WTF are you debating? Its just software. Run the update, use it. End of "dilemma"
post #40 of 179
Apple actually said there was 100 new features in the iOS update so what are the rest?

It still says it on the Apple site and yet this list can only point to about 30 items.
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