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

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.

iOS 4 features

On page 3 of 3: New features for developers.