Apple just announced their iPhone 4.0 firmware a couple of hours ago. One of the biggest addition is multi-tasking. Yeap, Apple is finally adding multi-tasking to iPhone/iPod touch/iPad. But its not the usual multi-tasking you see on most smartphones. Instead, only 7 types of services are allowed to be multi-tasked.
Disclaimer: I don’t have much information about the iPhone 4.0 firmware. Here are the things I hear from the live blogging. Please correct me if I misunderstood any of the points.
This service is like the iPod feature. Currently, applications like Pandora or internet radio can only play when the apps is running. Come iPhone 4.0, these application can play audio in the background while you are on other application, just like the iPod player.
Voice Over IP
This service allows users to use applications like Skype to chat while using other application. It also allows applications like skype to run in the background and receive calls. This would make VOIP applications like skype very useful.
Background location service allow navigation application like Tom-Tom to provide turn-by-turn navigation while running in the background. This would also be great for Latitude. BUT as we all know, Latitude is not approved in Apple Appstore.
This is the same push notification service that we have been using since iPhone 3.0.
Local notification is somewhat like push notification but different in the sense that it does not requires communication with server. Finally, developers can write applications like alarm clock. OK, it’s not just alarm clock. There are a lot of other uses for local notification.
Task completion allows applications to do a task like upload photos in the background. I think this is extremely useful for applications like Flickr and Posterous. In the past, the application needs to be open when you are uploading photos. Now you can let them run in the background.
Fast App switching
This is the most interesting service of all 7. It effectively save the current state of the application when you leave and restore the state when you come back. Think of it as a pause button for you to check emails or browse the web.
Apple claims that their multi-tasking will not drain battery life or choke up resources. If I’m not wrong, this is possible because only 7 type of services are allowed to multi-tasked. Free for all multi-tasking (which most smartphone OS are doing) will consume too much unnecessary resource. Apple basically disallowed unnecessary things from running in the background and controls how resources are being used. Developers will need to make changes to their codes to make their applications able to “multi-task”.
Other new addition to the iPhone 4.0 includes Game Centre (something like Xbox Live and PSN), folders for you to install more applications, iBook Apps (which I think Singapore users won’t be able to purchase Ebooks) and iAd (which is like Admob).
Open Feint and PLUS will be in some trouble because their service is something like Game Centre. Admob will be in direct competition with iAd which is no surprise since Admob now belongs to Google. Looks like the war between Google and Apple is just heating up.
The new iPhone 4.0 will be available this coming Summer. iPad users will get it this coming fall. But iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd Gen below will not be able to multi-task. BOO!!! Well, this is somewhat expected since the hardware is almost 2 years old. I guess it’s Apple’s way of telling us to upgrade our iPhone.
While there is no new iPhone announcement today, I strongly believe Apple will release a new iPhone by June to tie the iPhone 3G users who contracts are ending.
OK, off to bed for me! It’s almost 3:30am here in Singapore.