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Apple Unveils iPhone, Touch 4.0 OS Upgrade

4/08/2010 03:30:02 PM Eastern
Cupertino, Calif. - More than 100 new features enabled by Apple's iPhone 4.0 OS will bring to the iPhone and iPod Touch many of the features already available on other smartphone platforms.

Those features include multitasking for third-party apps, a unified email inbox, email organized by threads, ability to choose wallpapers, the ability to open email attachments via third-party apps and mobile ads that will appear within an open app. The company didn't disclose the number of apps that will run simultaneously.

Other new features announced here by CEO Steve Jobs for the iPhone and iPod Touch include online social gaming with leader boards; ability to organize and view more than 2,000 app icons, compared with 180; and iBook application to read e-books downloaded from Apple's iBook store. The new OS will also support Bluetooth keyboards, 5x digital camera zoom, a spell checker and more.

The 4.0 OS will be available as a firmware upgrade during the summer to current iPhone 3G and 3G S users and users of second- and third-generation iPod Touches. A version for the iPad will be available in the fall.

The iPhone OS 4 beta software and software developers' kit became available today so that developers can create apps that take advantage of more than 1,500 new application programming interfaces (APIs). Among other things, the APIs will enable apps to access a user's calendar or photo library and deliver in-app SMS messages.

In other announcements, Jobs said iPad sales as of April 8 hit 450,000, with more than 300,000 having occurred on the first day of availability on April 3. The number of apps on the iPad app store grew to 3,500 by April 8, he added, by which time consumers downloaded a cumulative total of 3.5 million apps and more than 600,000 iBooks. Jobs also said Apple is making iPads as fast as it can so it can restock Best Buy stores that have already run out.

Turning to the new iPhone OS, Jobs acknowledged the iPhone came late to multitasking but said it will do the job better than other smartphones because it will not degrade battery life or app performance when multiple apps are open. Multitasking will enable Internet music services to play in the background while other apps are used, and it will enable reception of Skype calls when other apps are in use. Open apps will appear at the bottom of the screen after the home button is double-clicked.

With the new ability to drag and drop app icons into folders, users will be able to organize and access more than 2,000 apps instead of 180. Dragging one app icon onto another automatically creates a folder that is given a name based on the app's category, such as games. Users can also rename the folder. Consumers will also be able to create and manage iPhone folders on a Mac or PC using iTunes 9.2.

As for mobile advertising, Jobs said Apple will sell and host the ads and will share 60 percent of revenues with app developers whose apps will display the ads. The ads will be interactive and will deliver "emotion," he said, and they'll keep users in the app.

New enterprise features in iPhone OS 4 include improvements in security, scalability and compatibility, Apple said.

To date, more than 50 million iPhones have been sold worldwide along with 35 million iPod Touches, he added.
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