iOS 4 new and improved features
Today Apple released the latest operating system for the iPhone and this one might be the biggest jump in functionality and improvements since the iPhone came out. iOS 4 (renamed from iPhone OS since it also runs the iPod Touch and iPads) has over 100 new improvements to the OS and actually is pretty amazing. After testing this out for awhile I do have to say I have been very impressed with some of the new features and just overall improvements to the OS. Over the next few days this week we will be rolling out a series of blog posts covering some of these new features and will also have an in-depth look at the iPhone 4 roll out on Thursday so keep checking back for updates all week long.
Today we are going to just cover 3 of the top new features with iOS4; Multitasking, New and Improved Email and Folders.
Multitasking and Fast App Switching
For awhile Apple has said they were waiting to include multitouch because they wanted it to be perfect. They didn’t want to sacrifice user experience or battery life and I do have to say the multitasking in the iOS 4 is pretty cool. For all of the people that want a true desktop multitasking experience this doesn’t give you that but does open up a lot more you can do. Switching between apps is a breeze just double click the iPhone main button and a new menu will appear at the bottom of the screen. Your most recent apps will be shown here and you can scroll to the right of the screen to see more apps. Just tap on an app and it will launch with a cool little rotation animation. Now if you were running an app like Pandora your other app is still running in the background so you can still listen to your music. Another nice feature with this is if you scroll to the left of this new menu it will give you a few additional options.
– portrait orientation lock. Now you can lock your iPhone into portrait orientation so if you are laying down or just don’t want the iPhone to auto rotate for you, just lock it in portrait mode.
– controller for your iTunes. Just like you used to be able to double tap the main button and pull up a controller for your music you can do this from this screen now.
New and Improved Email
The improvements to email are pretty huge. Now if you have multiple email boxes like me you can see all of your email consolidated in one box. The boxes are still separated for everyone who wants to keep them separate but Apple added a new box as the top for “all inboxes”. So now if you prefer to see everything together you don’t need to jump back and forth from email boxes to see all of your emails.
The other big addition to email is threaded conversations. Now any back and forth conversation you have had with someone are consolidated in your inbox. So no more searching through your inbox to see a response from a few emails ago, in your inbox any conversations will now have a number icon right under the timestamp of the email. Click on that email and you will see all messages from this thread. Then you can tap into any message to read the details again. After using this for awhile you will be amazed how useful this is, it really creates a much more robust email experience. I really can’t wait for this to be added to the iPad that will make the iPad so much better at email.
This was another big item when the iPhone 4 was announced. Have been an iPhone user since the first gen I have way too many apps installed. The spotlight feature released awhile back has helped but it still can be cumbersome to flip through pages of apps to find what you need. Folders takes care of this problem and does it in typical apple style. To group together multiple apps into a folder just hold down your finger on one app until the apps start shaking. Then drag and drop any app on top another and it will create a folder. It names it for you based on app category but you can edit this anytime by entering in your own name. Navigating your iPhone apps just got a lot easier and is beautifully done.
Surprise Camera Features
Also if you want a nice surprise not advertised out there try your iPhone camera now and see how snappy the response is when you press the shutter…. Nice!
Another cool camera feature that didn’t get much coverage is the camera now has a zoom feature. Just hold down your finger anywhere on the screen while about to take a photo and a new slider will appear on the bottom. Zoom in with this slider and then take the photo as normal. You are going to loose image quality when zooming in but still a feature that can come in handy sometimes.
There are a ton of more features and we will be posting more over the next few days so check back soon. We will have some video walk throughs coming along with coverage from the line in San Jose on iPhone 4 day (and maybe an interview with the Woz). Whats your favorite feature of iOS 4? Leave us a comment below.