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Analysts Claim iPhone 4.0 0S Plays Catch-Up

100 new features enabled by Apple’s
iPhone 4.0 OS will bring to the iPhone
and iPod Touch many key consumer
and enterprise features already available
on other smartphone platforms,
analysts said.p

For consumers, such features include
multitasking for third-party
apps, a unifi ed email inbox, email organized
by threads, ability to choose
wallpapers, and mobile ads that will
appear within an open app. The company
didn’t disclose the number of
apps that will run simultaneously.

For enterprises, the iPhone OS 4
adds such features as the ability to
wirelessly distribute apps developed
in-house and encryption to protect
email messages and attachments
stored on the iPhone.

Other new features announced
here by CEO Steve Jobs for both the
iPhone and iPod Touch include online
social gaming with leaderboards;
the ability to open email attachments
via third-party apps; the 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

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

With the update, said NPD Group industry
analysis director Ross Rubin, “Apple
addresses a number of longstanding limitations
and inefficiencies around navigating
applications both before and after they
launch.” In delivering multitasking, however,
Apple did so without giving third-party
app developers access to core OS “background
functionality” as Google’s Android
OS does, he noted. “Other operating systems
let apps carry on a broader array of
functions, but Apple
argues that this
comes at the expense
of battery life,
phone performance,
ease of use, and security,”
Rubin explained.
“The issue
is whether the improvements are enough to
keep the iPhone significantly ahead of Android
in terms of the user experience.

Newly offered in-app ads will further
encourage the development of free apps
for the iPhone and iPod Touch, he added.
Google’s Android OS, however, already
enables in-app advertising.

On the enterprise side, ABI Research
analyst Neil Strother called enterprise
capabilities “one of Apple’s weak spots
compared to RIM.” Though Apple is improving
capabilities fore the enterprise,
he asked, “Will this message resonate
with enterprise IT managers?”

The iPhone OS 4 beta software and software
developers kit became available April
8 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.

Turning to the new iPhone OS, Jobs acknowledged
the iPhone came late to multitasking
of third-party apps but that 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. The iPhone currently
offers multitasking of Apple apps
supplied with the phone.

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.