Today Apple unveiled what will be included in the next version of their software for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, iPhone OS 4.0. The new version adds features that address the major complaints that users of had about the software. Most significant of the features is the addition of multitasking. Apple claims that multitasking will not slow down performance, nor will it drain battery life. To switch between apps, you will double click the Home button and a window rises from the bottom of the screen showing the running apps, which you tap to open.
During the demonstration, Apple directly addressed the most commonly described use case for multitasking, the ability to play music in Pandora while running another app. In the current version of the iPhone OS, when you close Pandora music stops playing. In iPhone OS 4, when you switch to another app Pandora will continue playing music. All of the iPhone using, Pandora fans will be happy to now have Pandora working the way they want.
Another new feature that users will like is the ability to create App folders on the home screen. Today you can only add application icons to the home screen, and some people have screen after screen of nothing but icons. With iPhone OS 4 you will be able to consolidate those icons into folders, which will decrease the total number of screens you will need for icons.
Other features that have been added include a unified inbox. People who have multiple e-mail accounts, and in particular multiple Exchange accounts, will be happy with the new unified inbox that now supports multiple Exchange accounts. A couple of features that Apple included for the iPad will now be on the iPhone. You will now be able to use Bluetooth keyboards with iPhones, and Apple is adding their new eBook app, iBooks to the iPhone.
A version of iPhone OS 4 will be available for developers starting today. Upgrades for existing iPhones and iPod Touches will be available this summer. The upgrade for the new iPads will be available in the fall.