We’ve just finished updating our iPhone OS 4 app breakdown article with tons of new screenshots showing off the major accessibility changes in the new software. Notably, iPhone OS 4 offers a new feature called Large Text, which lets users radically increase the size of text in alerts, Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, and Notes, as well as support for Braille device connection, found in the VoiceOver menu. Also found in the VoiceOver settings is support for VoiceOver Phonetics and Pitch Change, which are new to the iPhone and iPod touch but were previously found on the iPad. For more on these and other changes coming in iPhone OS 4, see our full article.
A change in the iPhone developer SDK terms has caused an uproar among some developers, including one who received a response on the matter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. At issue is section 3.3.1, which includes a statement that “[a]pplications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited.” Although there are several products that offer such a solution, this new language most notably blocks apps developed using Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, which allows developers to create cross-platform applications using Flash Professional CS5.
After explaining his disagreement to the change, developer Greg Slepak emailed Jobs, stating that there had yet to be “a single positive reaction [to the change], even from John Gruber, your biggest fan,” and adding that the iPhone’s “SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer.” Jobs responded, pointing Slepak to a post by Gruber that Jobs said “is very insightful and not negative.” Following a second email from Slepak that claimed Gruber was wrong and that Apple is in effect “limiting creativity itself,” Jobs again responded, stating simply, “[w]e’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.”
Screenshots showing off the new developer preview build of iPhone OS 4.0 have begun to appear online, including a number sent to iLounge by an anonymous source. Included below are shots illustrating the new multitasking and folders features, as well as the revised Photos app, universal mailbox, location services management, and more. If you have access to the developer preview and would like to share additional details, send your screenshots and info to news (at) ilounge.com.
In advance of Apple’s official video demonstrating the iPhone OS 4 features, a user-submitted video posted to YouTube shows an iPhone 3GS calling up its multitasking functionality, as well as displaying Home screen wallpaper, neither feature previously available on Apple’s pocket devices.
Additional video is expected from Apple later today.
Apple has posted the preliminary version of the iPhone OS 4 Software Development Kit, also known as the iPhone SDK 4 beta, to its Developer Web Site. The SDK download is 2.9GB in size, with separate iPhone OS 4.0 operating system betas at roughly 300MB-400MB a piece. Apple’s OS betas are for 2008 and 2009 iPhone and iPod touch models only. They notably exclude the iPad, which is explicitly disclaimed as not compatible with “iPhone OS 4.0”, and 2007 iPhone and iPod touch models, which are not and apparently will not be supported by iPhone OS 4.
During Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event today, Steve Jobs announced the creation of a new mobile advertising platform which will be integrated directly into the iPhone OS. The new platform, named iAd, is designed to allow developers to easily add in-app advertising to their applications by supplying ads through a centralized advertising network without having to implement their own solution. Apple will take care of selling and hosting the ads, providing developers with the industry standard 60% of advertising revenue.
Jobs explained that Apple wants to provide incentives for developers to keep free apps as free, but that ads based on search have not been as successful on mobile devices as they have on the desktop as users spend most of their time in apps rather than searching in a web browser. He went on the explain that the average iPhone user spends 30 minutes each day using applications, and supplying even 1 ad every 3 minutes would equate to 10 ads per day. Jobs notes that with 100 million iPhone users, this presents one billion ad opportunities per day within the iPhone community. Apple is also looking to improve the quality and accessibility of in-app advertising, with more interaction than typical web ads and allowing users to view advertising without being taken out of the application that they are currently using, thereby encouraging users to click on ads without having to worry about leaving the current app.
During the course of its iPhone OS 4.0 Sneak Peek event today, Apple noted that the operating system software will be available in at least three different versions: one that is fully feature-enabled with multitasking for the iPhone 3GS and 2009 “third-generation” iPod touch, one that is limited by the less advanced hardware in the iPhone 3G and 2008 “second-generation” iPod touch to not support multitasking, and finally, a third version for the iPad, which will come later than the other Summer versions, in Fall. No mention was made during the presentation of the original iPhone and iPod touch, released in June and September, 2007, respectively.
Two separate questions were asked during a Q+A session, however, attempting to pin Apple down on whether iPhone OS 4 would be available for the earlier devices; responses from Apple, including Steve Jobs, appeared to suggest otherwise. He stated that earlier hardware wasn’t capable of supporting iPhone OS 4.0 features, differing based on model, and suggested that it wasn’t Apple’s choice, but rather just limitations of the devices. Additionally, Jobs suggested that sales of the iPod touch and iPhone 3GS had really taken off in the past year, so that more devices were being supported than not, and said that while users of the older products may miss features like multitasking, “if that’s an incentive for them to upgrade to a new phone, that’s terrific.”
Updated: Apple’s iPhone OS 4 Preview page explicitly leaves out the original 2007 iPhone and iPod touch from its list of compatible devices.
Presented in reverse chronological order, iLounge’s complete coverage transcript from the iPhone OS 4.0 Sneak Peek Event is included below for your reference. The transcript includes the full event, which will likely be available in QuickTime video format later today from Apple, as well as a journalists’ question and answer session that followed the event, which is typically not included in Apple’s videos. Click on the title of this article for all of the details.
Apple today announced the release of iPhone OS 4.0, the next generation operating system for its line of mobile devices. Scheduled to ship this summer, with a developer preview available today, OS 4.0 adds 1,500 new developer APIs and 100 new user features to the existing iPhone OS platform. The OS 4.0 update will be fully supported on the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch models, while the second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G will support “many” but not all of the new features. Prior-generation devices, including the original iPhone and iPod touch, will apparently not support iPhone OS 4.0 at all. The initial release of OS 4.0 will be for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms only; an iPad release is expected later this fall.
During the announcement, Apple specifically discussed and demonstrated seven major new features that will be introduced in OS 4.0: Multitasking, Folders, Enhanced E-mail, iBooks for iPhone/iPod touch, Enterprise Features, Social Gaming, and iAds. In short, the features enable background music from applications such as Pandora and background turn-by-turn GPS directions from apps such as Tomtom, folder organization of apps, unified e-mail inboxes and threaded discussions, a customizable Home screen background, greater device security, online matchmaking for games, and “emotional” advertising. The features will depend in some cases on iTunes 9.2, which will presumably be released alongside the new OS in Summer. Click on the title of this article for detailed discussion of all of these features, and more. Apple’s official press release announcing iPhone OS 4 can be seen here.
iLounge is headed to Cupertino, California to provide live coverage of Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event. The event will be held at Apple’s campus within its Town Hall presentation room, and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Apple is expected to discuss details of its upcoming revisions to the operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, including a new mobile advertising platform. As we have done in the past, iLounge.com will take you to our streamlined special event page half an hour or so before the event; you can set your bookmarks ahead of time to live.ilounge.com, and we also hope to update our Flickr account with new photos.
Apple has posted its latest iPhone 3GS television advertisement online. Entitled “Concert,” the new spot sticks to Apple’s recent trend of iPhone advertisements that are more testimonial in nature, and features a female narrator explaining how she heard a song she liked, used Shazam to find out the title and band, purchased the album from the iTunes Store, and then used the iPhone to find an upcoming concert and buy tickets. The new TV ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Apple has begun sending email invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a “sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone OS software.” The invitation features a large graphic with a large “4” shadow spread across a blue background, with “Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS” overlaid in white text. The event will be held on Apple’s Cupertino, CA campus and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 8.
Following the device’s release on Saturday, one iPad owner has discovered pointers to a number of upcoming iPhone OS devices within the iPad’s filesystem. The Boy Genius Report states that two references were found for new iPhones; iPhone 3,2 and iPhone 3,3 are both new, with the iPhone 3GS being identified as iPhone 3,1. A new iPod touch model, iPod 4,1—compared to the third-generation touch’s iPod 3,1—has been found, as has a reference to iProd 2,1, believed to be a next-generation iPad. While these references offer little in the way of information about these upcoming products, they have generally correctly indicated that a given product is coming, as with the iPad, which first surfaced as a prototype—iProd 0,1—in March 2009, then again in August as iProd 1,1, which is believed to be the currently shipping product.
Craig Rothwell, inventor of the iControlPad peripheral for jailbroken iPhones, has taken issue with a recently-published Apple patent application that appears to describe a device much like his own. Entitled “Accessory For Playing Games With A Portable Electronic Device,” the application describes a controller-like accessory—with standard game controller buttons—with a recess in the center into which a user can place a touchscreen gaming device. Variations on the design include one with a rotating dock connector for connection to the device, one which connects wirelessly, and one that offers wireless connectivity to other devices.
In a post titled “An extremely sinister development,” Rothwell said he and his colleagues “were very very surprised to see that Apple have [sic] allegedly filed a patent for our original iControlPad design some 6 months after we revealed it,” promising to give “More updates once we get a more clear picture of what the h—- is going on.” Development on the iControlPad dates back to May 2008, while Apple’s application was filed in September 2008. [via Pocket Gamer]
The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it is launching an investigation into whether HTC is guilty of patent infringement, as Apple claims. According to the announcement, the products being investigated “relate to hardware and software used in mobile communication devices, including but not limited to cellular phones and smartphones.” Apple filed a complaintand an accompanying lawsuit against HTC in early March, claiming infringement on “20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” HTC later released a statement saying it disagreed with Apple actions and that it would “fully defend itself.”
Apple has posted its latest iPhone 3GS television commercial online. Entitled “Commute,” the ad continues Apple’s recent trend of iPhone advertisements that are more testimonial in nature, and features a male narrator explaining how he missed his train, was able to check on the next one from the phone, received a phone call asking about a document that he was able to retrieve and email while on the call, and spent the rest of his commute watching streaming video. The new TV ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has announced that it is doubling its iFund to $200 million of venture capital for iPhone apps. Originally announced in March 2008, the iFund is pool of funds designed to help KPCB find and back budding iPhone developers. According to the company, the entire original $100 million iFind is now fully committed across 14 companies, accounting for more than $100 million in 2010 mobile revenue, more than 100 million aggregate mobile downloads, and 18 titles that reached the Top 10 on the App Store. In addition, iFund-supported companies have more than 20 applications in development for the iPad, 11 of which will be available on April 3: seven games from ngmoco including We Rule, GodFinger and WarpGate, Doodle Buddy and Star Smash from Pinger, textPlus from GOGII, and Shazam from Shazam Entertainment.
Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 will allow users to run multiple third-party applications at once, managing these through an interface similar to that of Mac OS X’s Exposé feature, according to an AppleInsider report. Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new software, the report states that users will employ a key combination—possibly a double-tap on the Home button, which currently triggers a user-definable action—to trigger an Exposé-like interface that will present a series of icons representing currently running apps, letting users switch in between them. Once a selection is made, the interface reportedly zooms out and transitions to the selected application. Additionally, the report claims that the new software sports a global mailbox view and the ability to add contacts directly to the home screen, although it notes that either one, or both, of these features could be cut before the software is released. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentioned iPhone OS 4.0’s third-party multitasking capabilities in a brief posting earlier this week, while Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently confirmed in an email to a customer that a universal mailbox would be coming to the iPhone.
Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The AFP reports that the complaint alleges that Apple is violating Elan’s patents related to touch-sensitive input devices with multi-touch capabilities, specifically with the iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook laptops, the Magic Mouse, and the iPad. “We have taken the step of filing the ITC complaint as a continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple’s ongoing infringement,” Elan said in a statement. “A proceeding in the ITC offers a quick and effective way for Elan to enforce its patent.” Elan requesting that the ITC bar Apple from importing the products into the United States, and prevent it from selling any of the products in the United States that it has already imported. Elan filed a lawsuit against Apple in April of 2009 over the same alleged infringement. [via MDN]