iPhone 4.0 OS Event – Quick Thoughts

Not a huge surprise today at the event. These OS spring previews before WWDC in June/July are becoming routine. Apple talks about the huge iPhone market/number of downloads/number of apps, then a quick description of some of the the changes with the demo of various features.

Now to the actual guts of the presentation

1. Multi-Tasking: In one software update Apple has eliminated any remaining perceived competitive advantage of Android (Palm as well, but why fire more torpedoes in a sinking ship) phones over the iPhone, and eliminated the number one complaint about the just launched iPad. In addition, it’s created a massive feature gap between WinPhone7 and the iPhone before MS can even get the new devices launched. So the news here isn’t just big, it’s massive. The implementation looks pretty cool.  On the negative side, Multi-tasking brings the first major schism in iPhone version capability.

2. Email: Gains pretty much every single feature that folks were demanding.

3. Enterprise Updates: Improved VPN SSL compatibility. Device encryption for email and attachments. Enhanced remote management APIs to allow for better wireless management and policy enforcement. If the multi-tasking update was a torpedo heading towards Android, then adding up the Email/Enterprise improvements is a torpedo at BlackBerry.

4. Apple cleverly used Pandora (the most requested multi-tasking application type) in their demo. Demoing Skype was also very interesting. At home or on any wireless network, your iPod Touch 3G with Skype just become a much more effective phone replacement.

5. The folders implementation to group apps looks very elegant, very Apple. Now at most it will be two inputs to launch most apps. This will be very handy on the iPad as well, especially for grouping Web links.


1. NO PRINTING!! Perhaps this will come in the iPad update this fall. But nothing was mentioned about direct printing, an API that would be available to all applications. It’s a massive gap and MoD hopes that it’s not going to be iPhone 5.0 OS before there’s any traction on this issue. As the iPad gains more and more productivity applications, this gap is going to become crippling.

2. The capability of setting a HomeScreen image that’s different than the background image was announced. But no homescreen with updated information like the image below. Perhaps Apple was holding back on this, maybe Apple is building an application like it.

3. Notifications appear to be untouched. The iPhone’s notification system has been criticized as being intrusive compared to Android’s.

Other Thoughts

1. Why is the iPhone getting OS 4.0 first? 85 million reasons (by July may have sold 1 million iPads). The iPad will be a huge part of Apple’s business. The iPhone/iPod Touch IS a huge part of Apple’s business. The gap also allows a developer to upgrade for iPhone 4.0 then provide development time to upgrade their app for iPad 4.0. Finite resources at Apple also plays a role.

2. As per any iPhone OS release, technology blogs scour the file directories for hints of new hardware or new features. Well they have already struck gold in the 4.0 SDK/Beta.

  • Files indicating a Camera Flash capability. Current iPhones do not have a flash, so more signs of a new iPhone coming this summer
  • Support for Apple’s multicore processor technology Grand Central Dispatch in iPhone 4.0. This might indicate that the next iPhone uses a customer Apple processor with multi-cores (makes sense since Apple is upping the processor power needed with multi-tasking
  • Video Conferencing coming to the next iPhone? There appears to be an iChat client process according to TUAW in iPhone 4.0 OS. This application requires an iPhone with two cameras, the 4th gen iPhone due this summer?

3. Apple has a decision to make in regards their lower end phone this summer. With the 3g iPhone not supporting multi-tasking it’s going to be retired as the cheaper alternative. So does Apple make the 3GS the lower option or does Apple in their new iPhone launch lineup have a cheaper device ready. There are two references to two unknown iPhone devices in the iPad OS. It’s been suggested that the two phones might represent a GSM iPhone and a CDMA iPhone, but what if it represented an iPhone “Nano” and then a bigger/more feature rich iPhone. There’s a low end market there for Apple and a carrier. Entrance point of $49 for the device and service in the $60 range with limited data.

4. Apple is sure to receive some criticism that the iPhone 3g does not support multi-tasking. To date, Apple had been pretty inclusive with their OS updates for the iPhone with one exception, the EDGE iPhone. The EDGE iPhone has missed out on update features due to lack of hardware. Apple in this regard is being consistent. The 3G iPhone does not have the processing power to run multi-tasking, it’s as simple as that. To be fair, this summer it will be 2 years since the device was first sold which is the timeframe required before getting a contract discounted iPhone, so early 3G adopters should be eligible for upgrades. Also, older iPhones are still going to make excellent iPod Touch devices. Or even turn one into a universal remote.

5. With this massive update, Apple has the iPhone as ready as possible for an attack on their competitors only sanctuary, CDMA networks. The 4th Gen iPhone with an updated feature rich OS with multitasking and strengthened security features and at a competitive price is the phone every carrier would want. Everything is aligned, it’s time for Apple to strike.

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