New in iPhone OS 4: The Full App-by-App Breakdown (Updated) | iLounge Article

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New in iPhone OS 4: The Full App-by-App Breakdown (Updated)

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, April 12, 2010
Articles Categories: Reports

Apple debuted the beta version of iPhone OS 4 yesterday, announcing a collection of new features and additions to its prior iPhone and iPod touch applications. Based on photos and details submitted by an anonymous source, we’ve compiled a full app-by-app breakdown of what’s changed in iPhone OS 4. Updated! This article has been replaced by Instant Expert: The Secrets & Features of iOS 4, as well as our full review of iPhone OS 4 / iOS 4.

Home Screen + Multitasking. The iPhone OS 4 Home Screen now supports user-selectable wallpaper, accomplished by adding a drop shadow to all of the icons and text that used to appear on black backgrounds. As with the iPad, these drop shadows move as you scroll through pages of applications. Apple has also changed the look of the iPhone and iPod touch bottom-of-screen dock to resemble the one found on the iPad, complete with icon reflections, a shift back to the look Apple introduced briefly with the first-generation iPod touch.

Though icon changes were initially spotted for only a couple of applications, it turns out that many of the icons have received very subtle tweaks that suggest Apple has done a complete re-drawing of the icon set, potentially for higher-resolution displays. The changes have in many cases added sharper lines to prior designs, such as the gears of the Settings icon and the rays of the Weather icon’s sun, but have also in some cases increased the color or contrast of small details in the icons. See, for example, the Voice Memos icons, the Mail and Safari icons, and the Photos icon.

Multitasking is now accessible on 2009 iPhone and iPod touch models by double-tapping the Home button; you can no longer use double-clicking for the camera or other features. When you switch to the multitasking interface, the screen shifts upwards and the home screen application icons fade out to silhouettes, revealing a hidden tray of four additional icons at the bottom of the screen. They’re shown against a dimpled gray backdrop. You can scroll to reveal more programs that are running by swiping to the left or right. You can stop running applications in the multitasking tray by tapping and holding down on the app icon and then hitting a circle and - button that appears in the corner, similar to the process for deleting an application from the device.

Folders have been added to the Home Screen, represented as rounded square icons with up to nine little miniature icons inside. You create a folder by dropping one icon on top of another, which brings up a dimpled background that looks like the Multitasking dock—hidden under your selected wallpaper, which has been sliced in two pieces and shifted up and/or down to make temporary room for the icons in the folder. The folder starts with the genre name of whatever the first app is inside; you can rename the folder with a pill-shaped text field that appears above the icons. Up to 12 icons can be stored in a folder.

When any application receives a push notification inside of a folder, it’s now indicated on the Home screen with an ! alert, rather than tallying multiple applications to aggregate a number.

Lock Screen. Seemingly unchanged except - for now—an odd duplication of the clock when music is playing on the locked iPhone; the clock now appears both in large numbers and in smaller ones inside the status bar at the top of the screen. This may be a sign of repurposing the lock screen somewhat for background applications.

Phone. Apparently unchanged for now. Third-party VoIP applications now use a similar bar at the top of the screen to indicate that a call is in progress, however.

Mail. Opening mail to the inside mailbox view looks the same as before in portrait or landscape, but backing up to your multiple mailbox view has changed. Now Mail aggregates the contents of all of your inboxes into one master inbox, letting you back out from that inbox to separate inboxes and individual mail accounts instead. Choose an individual account and you see all of the mailboxes—outgoing, inbox, drafts and any additional folders.

An optional threaded view has been added to show multiple messages that are part of the same conversation, each indicated with a double chevron arrow with the number of threaded messages alongside it. When sending photos in an e-mail, you can choose different scaling images to make the message smaller.

When reading messages, you can now see a tiny image from your Contacts for people who you know, as is the case on the iPad version of Mail. Additionally, when you go to share content from your iPhone or iPod touch—a video from YouTube, a photo, and so on—but then stop before sending the e-mail to share it, the device now asks you whether you want to keep the e-mail as a draft, or delete it.

Entire e-mail threads can be deleted at once, indicated via a (x) number when deleting a message, and GMail can be Archived rather than Deleted.

Safari. “Google” has been replaced next to the keyboard’s space bar with the word “Search.” Ouch.

iPod. The iPod application now supports playlist folders and sub-folders created in iTunes. A setting lets you turn lyrics and podcast info off if you’d prefer not to see them on the Now Playing screen. On-The-Go Playlists have been replaced, sort of, by a feature that lets you create a new playlist—basically the same feature, except you can now choose a name for it right from the start. You can also edit, clear, or delete any playlist on the device, including ones synced from iTunes. The contents of albums are now displayed by the iPod application with extra duration, release date, and artist information, plus a shuffle button and album art.

The iPod app is otherwise apparently unchanged at this point, and still does not yet support AVRCP for Bluetooth remote control of the device.

Messages. Messages now has a search field.

There’s also a character count in the settings menu as an option for Messages, which currently only appears after you’ve typed three lines of text in cellular mode.

Calendar. The Calendar application appears to be mostly unchanged for now, not bringing in much of the new aesthetic or functional improvements introduced on the iPad, with a few exceptions. You can now select to show multiple calendars at once, of different types; previously, it was show all or show one.

Additionally, you have the ability to turn on a Birthdays calendar, which is auto-generated from information in your Contacts list, and change the calendar that an event appears on.

Support for Google Calendar is also included for GMail accounts.

Photos. Now has iPhoto ‘09 Faces and Places support, letting users sync collections of photos based on the person identified in the shots, just like the iPad. Places is supposed to show the map locations of geotagged images, but currently crashes when it’s trying to load a map. Photos also adds “rotate” as an option so you can get the orientation of a picture correct before e-mailing or uploading it.

Camera. The Camera application now has digital zoom capability; you can pinch or tap-and-hold to activate the digital zoom feature, and a slider appears on screen to let you set the zoom level. Not surprisingly, the results look crummy. Tap to Focus has been added to video recordings. Support for a hardware-based flash has been discovered by developers probing the iPhone OS 4 code.

YouTube. Small cosmetic change shows “No videos” when nothing has been found by the Search feature. Apart from the Mail-related searching change mentioned above, the app otherwise appears to be unchanged for now.

Stocks. Apparently unchanged for now.

Maps. The terrain view added to Maps on the iPad is not available in the iPhone and iPod touch version of the Maps app. Only one obvious change has been made: the compass icon has changed to the Northeast-pointing arrow icon used for Location Services.

Weather. Apparently unchanged; still no widescreen mode.

Voice Memos. Apparently unchanged for now.

Notes. Notes now supports wireless syncing with multiple accounts. Syncing appears to be supported for any IMAP-based Mail account, rather than being a MobileMe-specific feature. Consequently, though the app now starts with a yellow notepad, you can tap backwards once to see a list of notes, and backwards again to see a list of accounts to separately create and sync notes. A system-wide spellchecker feature is obvious here, as incorrect words now appear with red underlines.

Clock. Apparently unchanged for now.

Calculator. Has the most conspicuously updated Home Screen icon, but otherwise appears to be unchanged.

Settings. Location Services has been expanded to turn off or on specific applications’ access to GPS data. Now that note synchronization is available, icons have been added to all of the features that can be synced with a server, including Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, and Notes with MobileMe, and fewer with other types of servers. You can also choose what types of information to synchronize from a given service.

A more complex Passcode Lock has been added, with a user-selectable alphanumeric passcode option. This was previously available only through the iPhone Configuration Utility designed for Enterprise users.

Cellular Data can now be turned on and off, independent of 3G cellular phone support.

Quite a few changes have been made to Accessibility in iPhone OS 4. A new feature called Large Text now enables fonts to be radically increased in size to the user’s preferred scale.

Support for VoiceOver Phonetics and Pitch Change have been added to the iPhone and iPod touch, having previously appeared on the iPad. Braille Devices can also connect to the iPhone and iPod touch, as well. In Zoom, a modest language change has been made to the description of how to adjust the zoom level.

iTunes Store. Apparently unchanged for now.

App Store. Apparently unchanged for now.

Compass. The core functionality of this application appears to be unchanged, though oddly, the targeting reticule icon appears for only a split second, then disappears; a possible bug. Activating the compass brings up the new Location Services icon within the top-of-screen status bar, a Northeast-pointing arrow, as does any app that requests Location Services.

Nike + iPod. Wireless syncing of Nike+ data has been added, enabling a runner to send stored run information directly through Safari to the Nikeplus web site.

Game Center. A new dedicated icon that will handle game matchmaking online for iPhone and iPod touch users. It can tell you instantly whether your friends are online, let you see requests from friends to play with you, and show you how many games you’ve played, with additional status in the form of achievements for games to come in the future. It will be able to send you Push Notifications, as well.

iChat? Reports indicate that various hints of an iChat application, including videoconferencing support, have been found in iPhone OS 4. Whether this application will replace Messages for some iPhones or add to it is currently unknown.

Languages and Keyboards. Apple has increased language and keyboard support fairly dramatically across a number of different settings screens, ranging from the addition of a few new languages to new Region Formats, keyboard layouts for both Hardware and Software Keyboards, and Voice Control. Support for AZERTY and QWERTZ software keyboards has also been added, along with Bluetooth keyboard support—including support for the same iPod controls, screen and volume controls that work with the iPad. There are lots of screen shots below showing the changes.

Spotlight. Now asks you if you want to search the web and Wikipedia, optionally.

We’ll update this article as new information becomes available.

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Comments

101

Boy I hope there is some replacement for double-tapping the home button to use the iphone, or that it at least still works while the phone lock screen is on.  If not this would eliminate something I do all the time on the iphone to play video podcast audio without the video:

1) start playing the video
2) hit the home button to close ipod
3) lock the phone
4) double tap home to bring up the player and hit play
5) unlock the phone and go do whatever I need to do while the audio continues to play in the background.

Posted by UltraBob on April 22, 2010 at 8:39 PM (PDT)

102

The game center looks gud. also we should get to view the home screen in landscape

Posted by Mash on April 25, 2010 at 9:49 PM (PDT)

103

One missing feature that’s been missing from day one (on all iphone os’s) simply boggles my mind:  Password protected apps. 

Sure you can put a lock code on the whole iphone.  But there is personal information on everyones iphone, from emails to sms, to financials, etc, etc, etc. 

How many times has someone asked to “mess with your iphone?” or play a game, or something.  Next thing you know they’re shuffling through your emails or texts.  How about kids? they love games, they love technology…...but certain things they shouldn’t see or mess with.  What if they reply to a business related email.  (You’d be shocked at what kids can do!)

How this feature is missing is just mind blowing.

Posted by Darren on April 28, 2010 at 6:15 PM (PDT)

104

Did they make any changes in the ‘Name Display’ (CNAM) support?

I’m on Rogers running 3.1 and while name display does work - it’s a little annoying how it was implemented…

When someone calls I can see the name in all caps but no number is visible.
When I then look at my recent calls - the number is visible but no name(!).

So if I get a missed call, I have no way of seeing the name of the person calling (only says ‘Ontario, Canada’ in grey underneath the number).

Ideally it should show both the name and number in both the ‘incoming call screen’ and the call history plus pre-fill the name if I choose to add the number to my contacts.

Anyway, did anything change from 3.1 to 4.0?

Posted by Mark F on May 1, 2010 at 12:45 AM (PDT)

105

I like the Settings app maintaining position idea, but mainly because of a huge shortcoming in it. Similar to the point made earlier about bluetooth, I hate that I have to go

Settings->(scroll)->General->Network->Internet Tethering->On/Off

every time. This would be my single most likely reason for JB’ing my phone. Why can’t I have an icon/app on (or close to) my home screen to toggle this, or any other commonly accessed setting?

Posted by PMcG on May 4, 2010 at 12:45 PM (PDT)

106

@Jesse David Hollington: you have a good point about IMAP-idle… it is not really true push. But as far as I know mobile.me isn’t either. According to wikipedia, mobile me uses a “persistent server connection” which is what IMAP-idle does. With RIM and Yahoo, they use special SMS messages to trigger the download. I have no idea about ActiveSync.

Is there a way to achieve push mail on the iphone without needing to rely on mobile me, google, yahoo, mobile me or anyone else? just using an open standard and installing your own server somewhere?

Posted by ricferrer on May 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM (PDT)

107

I wanted to add that it looks like with the new beta you can lock rotation via the multitasking dock pop up by sliding it left. At least that’s what engadget is reporting.

Also, I’ve read that you can double tap and hold for the iPod controls now. Can anyone confirm this?

Posted by Michael Z Rork on May 11, 2010 at 1:11 AM (PDT)

108

will flash games and animations be able to work with this OS or is that still something to wish for

Posted by me on May 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM (PDT)

109

It would be nice to see a way to give an option on the iPhone from rotating in portrait/landscape view.  If my hand is on an angle when I’m laying down, I don’t want it to rotate to landscape.

Posted by Ryan on May 14, 2010 at 6:22 PM (PDT)

110

What about the netflix instant streaming for the iPhone and I touch like they do for the ipad

Posted by Coldfire0501 on May 18, 2010 at 5:53 AM (PDT)

111

Still no ability to snooze an alert?!!

Still no ability to set a custom repeat from the i-device?!

The new iPhone and new OS look great, but those small tweaks would have really helped in day-to-day usability!

Also, it was unclear from the pictures how the folder system works!  All those icons, everywhere, look like icons with rounded corners.  Maybe a series of photos would help.  I know it’s early yet, so this is definitely a nit-pick in what is good, early coverage!

Posted by astroman33 on June 7, 2010 at 3:22 PM (PDT)

112

This looks awesome. Very disapointed on not being able to use the MultiTasking part though. I suspect they will alter it so that iPod touch 2G can use it too

Posted by Chase on June 8, 2010 at 6:11 PM (PDT)

113

Will I be able to change the calendar alert tone in iOS 4? It is the one thing that really pisses me off that I keep missing appointments due to the pizzley tone I can’t change. As a tradesman I need something load while on job sites. It just amazes me that I cannot change this to something louder. Yes I could hack and change .caf file but I am not into this. Should be a basic adjustable option.

Posted by Craig on June 11, 2010 at 8:08 PM (PDT)

114

when will the 4.0 (OS) will release in Indian istore??

Posted by ramachandra on June 16, 2010 at 7:25 AM (PDT)

115

Using iOS 3, when searching for a term that is included for sure in a note (notes app), it happens that this term is not found by spotlight. Somewhere I found a hint that this happens when text is copy-pasted into notes, or when a note was written in Mail.app on the Mac and then synced to iPhone. This seems to be true, as far as I found out by testing. Any idea whether iOS 4 Spotlight will deliver ALL results properly?

An other issue with iOS 3 Spotlight was that Spotlight didn’t return any term written in any contact’s note field. Any news about this?

Posted by Reinhard on June 19, 2010 at 10:46 AM (PDT)

116

Hi guys, I am considering side-grading to the new iPhone from android, but have these concerns and would love clarification as far as iOS4 is concerned:

when texting one cannot tap and insert cursor into the middle of a word to correct typing, or if you can, it is near to impossible to get it to work, so you have to delete the whole word (duh!)

if a programme opens a requester and you do not want to choose either option but just want the requester to go away, there is no key to press to make it go away, you have to close the app and reopen it…

typing does not seem to autofill with previous info like your email address, so have to enter it again and again

cannot choose any sound you want for email, calendar, notifications etc… only phone and sms

no snooze function for calendar events, only two alarms

facebook sync does not sync with a contact that has a slightly different name

has apple overcome their limitation of how apps can talk to one another. I know they have some sort of multitasking in iOS4, but can your apps pass info between themselves like WM6 or Android or Palm etc can?

Thanks!
Mark.

Posted by fredphoesh on June 20, 2010 at 1:53 AM (PDT)

117

Previously, we were able to access favourite contacts by double pressing the home button. Does anyone know if there is a shortcut for doing this on OS4??

Posted by Adrian on June 22, 2010 at 6:11 AM (PDT)

118

I don’t understand why Apple will not enable bluetooth on the ipod to connect to a bluetooth gps receiver. This would enable me to use google maps as a GPS in my car over my itouch.

Posted by Brandon on June 24, 2010 at 6:25 AM (PDT)

119

I already have almost all of this and I have an itouch 2gen 3.1.3os!

Posted by Den on June 25, 2010 at 5:05 PM (PDT)

120

As a person who uses the iPod function most of all, I immediately noticed bugs! With a regular playlist, containing only music, everything seems fine, but when I listen to a smart playlist that combines some of my music with unheard podcasts, it seems thoroughly confused. First, the shuffle function is disabled after a podcast episode is played, there is a lot of confused jumbling of artwork (??) and other odd behavior. Yes, I am in the habit of setting podcast episodes to “skip when shuffling: NO”

Also, under “podcasts”, the phone says it doesn’t have any, despite the fact that I sync podcast playlists from iTunes! I hope these are just temporary bugs. Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted by axelnelson on June 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM (PDT)

121

Is there anyway to create new photo albums from the device with this update?

Posted by Lyfe on July 1, 2010 at 11:38 PM (PDT)

122

Any chance we now have a possibility to repeat an agenda entry for every X weeks/month instead of 1 or 2? (for Ipod touch 3).

Posted by Dutchy on July 5, 2010 at 5:02 AM (PDT)

123

Guys , i have a small problem with my ipod touch. I have setup my gmail in my ipod touch 2G. I am able to receive mails also. The problem is when i open the mail , am not able to see anything. Few days back i was able to see the content of the mail but now am just able to see sent by which person .other details are missing . PLEASE HELP . I EVEN TRIED DELETE MY ACCOUNT AND USE NEW ACCOUNT BUT ITS NOT WORKING

Posted by kumar on August 25, 2010 at 7:40 PM (PDT)

124

can someone tell me why with some apps i downlaod the free ones they dont properly load and they stay on my screen saying waiting. And I cant delete them can some one please help me?

Posted by corey on November 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM (PDT)

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