iPhone OS 4.0 – What’s hot and what’s not

iPhone OS 4.0iPhone owners will be waking up with a big grin on their faces today, following the announcement by Apple of the new iPhone OS 4.0. The upgrade to the operating system includes some very welcome new features that will enhance the iPhone experience no end. However, there are still some things that we were hoping to see which Apple neglected to include in OS 4.0. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in and what’s still missing.

Highlights

Multitasking. The new OS finally delivers the ability to run multiple applications at the same time. This is something that’s sure to silence all those Android fanboys who poked fun at the iPhone for its mono-app handicap. Multi-tasking is enabled through a tidy dock which pops up from the bottom of the screen. You can switch to another app simply by clicking on its icon, and you can even kill running apps from here without leaving the application you’re currently running.

Threaded email. You know the way GMail lets you track your email conversations by threading the messages? Well, now you’ll be able to do the same with the iPhone’s Mail app, which will bunch all replies within one message. Other changes to Mail include the ability to add multiple Exchange accounts, faster switching between accounts, and a unified mailbox for checking mail from all your accounts in the same place.

Games Center. Take note gamers – you’ll no longer be forced to sign up to different services like OpenFeint, Crystal and Plus+ to post your scores online. Apple has introduced a new standard in the shape of Games Center. Besides offering leaderboards and achievements, the network will offer you a way of finding like-minded gamers and challenging them to battles.

Personalization. iPhone OS 4.0 will give you the ability to display a background wallpaper on all screens. Until now, the only way you could pimp your Apple phone was to stick a picture on the welcome screen. Now this will be visible on every menu screen which is great.

Folders. One of the big surprises for me was OS 4.0’s support for folders. You’ll be able to drag apps on top of each other to make a folder, then name and categorize the folder, and even drag them onto the dock for quick access. This is great for anyone with as many apps on their device as me. In fact, Apple reckons it will allow you to stuff up to 2,000 apps on one iPhone. Wow.

What’s missing

Flash support.  I’m starting to think this will never happen. Apple has still not included Flash support for Safari or natively on the OS. Like it or no, Flash and Flash video content represents a significant chunk of the web, and not being able to access it on an iPhone seems completely ridiculous to me. I understand Apple maybe has some strategic interests in not supporting Flash but come on Steve, this isn’t fair on us, the punters who are lining your pockets.

Themes. Granted, the new OS 4.0 now displays background wallpapers on every screen, but I think this could be taken further. I think Apple should take a leaf out of Symbian’s book and improve the customization features of the iPhone. I’m talking color schemes, fonts, icon resizing, skins, etc. Again, this is something that might never happen given Apple’s preciousness about its design standards. But what’s wrong with letting people have a bit of fun dressing up their device?

Profiles. Another thing that other phone platforms do better than the iPhone is support for different profiles. The ability to switch between different setups for the office, the cinema, aeroplanes, daytime, nighttime, etc. is something many would welcome on the Apple device.

Accurate weather. I’ve recently given up checking the weather on the native iPhone Weather app after countless days of  getting soaked when I was told it was going to be sunny. It’s high time Apple ditched the Yahoo!-powered service in favor of a more reliable solution such as AccuWeather or the Weather Channel.

Image editing. OS 4.0 makes some tweaks to the zooming capabilities of the iPhone. However, the operating system is still lacking even the most rudimentary photo editing features. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to correct red-eye, crop images, and adjust brightness and contrast on the fly, rather than having to load up a third-party app?

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