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iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking, Ad Framework For Apps 983

Posted by timothy
from the define-myself-as-outside-the-fence dept.
Low Ranked Craig writes "Apple had an event today to show off the next major update to the iPhone OS. iPhone OS 4.0 should arrive this summer (presumably with a new iPhone) for iPhone and iPod Touch, and in the fall for the iPad. According to Apple the update has more than 1,500 new APIs and 100 new features including the sorely missed multitasking. Other highlights include unified inbox, improved security, support for multiple Exchange accounts, application folders, iBooks, and iAd, an advertising framework for developers to put ads in their applications. The official word from Steve on Flash and Java remains a simple 'No.'" Updated 20100408 22:09 GMT by timothy: Read on for more information, including some bad news if you want to program for the iPhone in C# or Flash CS5.
alphadogg points out some what he calls surprise capabilities targeted at enterprise users and IT departments, including e-mail encryption and "mobile device management."

And CWmike adds more infomation at MacWorld about iAd, which he considers the biggest news in today’s announcement, writing that one way to look at the new advertising hooks "is that Apple can now leverage the App Store/iTunes ‘ecosystem’ lock-in in effect, and deliver to advertisers a huge captive audience."

Finally, binarylarry writes with a look from Daring Fireball at the new user agreement that goes along with 4.0: "Looks like Adobe's release of CS5 with the Flash-to-native compiler has been nixed by Apple's new user agreement: '3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.'"
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iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking, Ad Framework For Apps

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:51PM (#31782330)

    Read the article:

    Apple looked at thousands of apps to determine what services apps would most need to keep running while in the background. "In iPhone OS 4, we're providing those services as APIs to developers,"

    In other words, the iPhone still isn't capable of doing true multitasking, something that other smartphones - well, never lacked.

    Instead you're still stuck with only being able to do the things that Apple has decided to allow their sheep the ability to do on Apple's phone - not what the lowly sheep that bought it wishes they could do.

  • by magsol (1406749) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:53PM (#31782372) Homepage Journal
    (or the presumed new iPhone to accompany OS 4.0)

    ...then yeah, no multitasking for you. Sorry about that.
  • Re:No ads please (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:54PM (#31782382) Homepage Journal

    It's for apps that already have ads, such as the NPR app. ("NPR is brought to you commercial free by the partner whose banner ad is covering half the screen.")

    Basically it's a unified ad service for smaller developers who don't have the resources to roll their own. You won't suddenly see ads on your iPhone unless you download ad-supported apps.

  • by proxima (165692) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:56PM (#31782436)

    Will the current iPhone hardware be able to handle this new OS?

    I ended up having to get rid of my original iPhone and get a 3GS because all the OS updates slowed my iPhone down to a crawl for any given operation.

    The 3G and second gen ipod touch can get the update, but no multitasking support.

    The 3GS and third gen ipod touch get multitasking (probably in large part because they have 256MB of RAM instead of 128).

  • by Flipao (903929) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:04PM (#31782554)
    Only Apple could get away with promoting that as a feature: Pay for an app, fire it up and watch an ad for Nike, can't wait!
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:06PM (#31782578)

    Can someone tell me why I would want a multitasking phone yet this study says it adversely affects brain learning?

    Because a phone is not a brain? A mutitasking computer helps *me* to not multitask by doing things in the background for me. "You, program. Do this. Okay, now that that is being worked on, I can forget about it until it's done."

  • by WilyCoder (736280) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:08PM (#31782610)

    Go ahead and jailbreak an iPhone 3g and try to run more than 2 apps at the same time. It slows to a CRAWL.

  • by DA_MAN_DA_MYTH (182037) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:13PM (#31782652) Homepage Journal

    In revised iPhone SDK License agreement:

    3.3.1 -- Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

  • RAM, ipad (Score:5, Informative)

    by proxima (165692) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:14PM (#31782664)

    The older iphones and ipod touches don't get multitasking likely because they only have 128 MB of RAM.

    I was disappointed to find out the ipad only has 256 (same as the 3GS). RAM is cheap, and there's no lack of space inside the ipad for an extra chip. With the way Safari currently works, it starts dumping web page caches as memory fills up. That means going to another "tab" (through an expose-like interface) can often mean re-loading the page from scratch, in practice. Word is the iphone 3GS does this a lot less, so it's definitely something they need to address for the ipad. Because the expose is two taps instead of the one required for tabs, and because of this reloading, I find myself using substantially fewer open browser windows on the ipad than on a desktop.

    I'm starting to think they need to use part of the flash memory to cache things, especially with multitasking (that's what the "fast app switching" I presume does - save the full state of app memory on flash). The biggest downside to this is it wears down the flash.

    I was a little disappointed to find out that the ipad release will be "fall". So far, though, the only time I've really wanted multitasking (or some pseudo-multitasking) is to play audio from Pandora or Magnatune while doing other tasks (and you can use the Magnatune website to stream since Safari's media player multitasks). Most of the other features are really for iphone users (ibook app, improved mail - though unified inbox will be nice).

    By the way, anyone looking for an extremely thorough review of the ipad should look here [daringfireball.net]. I have no relation to the author, but I found he covered things extremely well.

  • by daffmeister (602502) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:22PM (#31782758) Homepage

    "Looks like Adobe's release of CS5 with the Flash-to-native compiler has been nixed by Apple's new user agreement: '3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.'"

    That's the old agreement. The new agreement adds:

    "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)."

    That's the bit that nixes Flash.

  • Re:Whoa, whoa (Score:5, Informative)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:23PM (#31782782)

    Wasn't the lack of multitasking a feature that made the iPad and iPhone so great?

    Not particularly. In fact, they've always had multitasking, just not for 3rd party apps. What made them great was having a consistently fast, responsive user interface and reliable essential functions that did not bog down because of apps hogging the processor. But everybody figured that Apple would eventually work out a way to offer background processing to 3rd party developers while maintaining those strengths.

  • Re:No ads please (Score:3, Informative)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:28PM (#31782830)

    If you don't want apps with ads, don't download them. As with computer software, it is likely that many apps will be available in free versions without ads and also in paid, add-free versions.

  • Re:No ads please (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:31PM (#31782870)

    This already exists in the App Store, but the feature has to be coded specifically per-app. This adds an API to make it easier to implement. It will not be universal, but will likely be used for "lite" apps that exist on the store (as they do now, for free) that have a more fully featured paid version. This makes it easier to add an ad-supported stream to your free app, and not have to source the ad providers yourself.

    OS X will continue as it always has.

  • Flash (Score:4, Informative)

    by codepunk (167897) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:34PM (#31782904)

    "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript"

    Looks like the flash cross compiler just had a stake driven in it's heart.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:35PM (#31782910)

    The number of CPU cores has absolute nothing to do with singletasking vs. multitasking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_multitasking [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Fantastic news (Score:4, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:39PM (#31782976)

    I don't know if you've ever used any free Apps but most of them are ad-supported. Normally they use some sort of construct to show you an ad. Apple is making a framework for ads so developers no longer have to kluge them in.

    "Developers [who create free apps] need to find a way to start making their money," Jobs said. "A lot of developers turn to advertising - and we think these current advertisements really suck."

    During its presentation of the new ad network, chief executive Steve Jobs noted that when you click on existing iPhone mobile ads, it yanks you out of the application you're running and launches a web ad. This prevents people from clicking on ads more often.

    Also they are developing a ecosystem so that ad-content revenue is handled differently. Normally a developer would have to negotiate with the ad generator. Instead Apple can handle all that for you. App developers can still use the old system if they wish but it probably will not be as advanced.

  • by ShecoDu (447850) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:42PM (#31783024) Homepage

    Older devices will have a trimmed down version of the iPhone OS 4.0 which will not include multitasking because the older devices have 128MB of RAM.

    They will most probably have the ads API.

  • by dingen (958134) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:49PM (#31783124)
    I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of crap in the App Store too. But there's quality there that's absolutely unmatched on Android. Games like DrawRace, Flight Control, I Dig It, Racer, GeoDefense, not to mention classics like Lemonade Tycoon or SimCity... all truly fun and great games. That sort of stuff just isn't there for Android.
  • Re:No ads please (Score:3, Informative)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:57PM (#31783236)

    Because they are totally different markets.

    Does make all their cars like the GT40 because that's the one with the biggest profit margin? No, they sell a variety of products that meet different needs, much like Apple does.

    The iPhone/iPad market is not the same as the OS X market.

    Having bought 10 or 11 copies of Final Cut Studio over the years, they wouldn't go with an app store model because the install is approximately 80 gigs if you install everything, including the loops, fonts and other assets that you can use in Motion projects, DVD projects, Soundtrack etc. Plus, the box it comes in is about 6 inches thick and 90% is filled by the printed manuals (although they also provide all those manuals as PDFs on the disks). I'm not downloading that over the internet.

    Different markets.

  • Re:No ads please (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:02PM (#31783320)

    Expect apps using home rolled ad solutions to be bounced

    Except that Steve Jobs specifically said during the Q&A developers were free to use other ad services. But don't let facts get in the way of a good troll.

  • Re:Fantastic news (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:02PM (#31783328)

    Okay, since Slashdotters are clearly going to be completely reactionary and assume this means ads are going to be popping-over all your apps (did you even watch the media event to see it in action?), let's get this out of the way:

    1.) This is for apps that are already ad-supported, like all those free and .99 versions that complement the more expensive, ad-free versions.
    2.) The point is so that every app developer doesn't have to roll their own ad systems like they do now.
    2.) The ads are just little HTML5 banners.

    That's all it is, Slashdot.

  • Re:Fantastic news (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:04PM (#31783348)

    If you don't want to see the ads, don't buy ad-supported apps. There is almost always a more expensive ad-free version. iAd is just so every developer doesn't have to implement their own ad system every time.

    God, the uninformed, reactionary Apple-haters are out in full force today.

  • by Nick Ives (317) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:07PM (#31783376)

    Funny comment :)

    Multitasking slows down human learning, so don't try to learn Spanish whilst making cheesy bacon chips. You'll get distracted!

    This is why we have hardware like phones and computers to multitask for us.

  • Re:No ads please (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:21PM (#31783552) Homepage Journal

    " Many devs love OS X but wouldn't be caught dead with an iPhone or iPa"

    anecdotally, I find that not to be true. Pretty much every programmer I know that works on OSX has an iPhone.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:22PM (#31783562)

    He says he has a 3GS - Android was definitely out by the time the 3GS was in stores. The HTC Dream was out in October 2008 (the first Android phone). The 3GS was released 6 months later.

    So, he bought a 3GS despite Android phones being available, and now he's moaning about "having to break the law" to use his phone the way he wants.

    Should have bought an Android phone.

  • Re:RAM, ipad (Score:5, Informative)

    by my_breath_smells (762618) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:24PM (#31783588)

    RAM is cheap, and there's no lack of space inside the ipad for an extra chip.

    The iPad's A4 processor has the RAM inside the A4 package [ifixit.com] using package-on-package technology. Perhaps the RAM inside the A4 could have been a higher density, but space inside the iPad is not relevant.

    Integrating the RAM minimizes the pinout of the A4 and may have allowed them to avoid a difficult-to-breakout BGA pitch. (Changing from a 0.5mm to 0.4mm pitch allows more pins but complicates PCB routing and PCB expense.) I can't tell from this shot of the A4 [ifixit.com] what pitch is used, but the pin count is pretty high. Note: You need the blank areas in order to breakout traces and place vias.

  • by k2r (255754) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:34PM (#31783672)

    You don't own an iPhone, obviously.

    > play music while reading a web page/book or taking a photo?
    You can already, iTunes will happily play on while you're doing something else.

    > Or playing music, updating my gps, and running a pedometer while walking?
    You can already, runkeeper.app happily records my running-tracks for me every other day while I'm listening to Music.

    >Or being able to receive skype calls while doing anything else?
    This could already be implemented using the push-service. Maybe Skype does this already, I don't know.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:33PM (#31784736)

    Also, apparently Apple is the market leader in cutting and pasting.

    On mobile devices - yes. They actually have an implementation that works really well, system wide, and as OS updates come along has become quite flexible as far as data type support.

  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:49PM (#31784826) Homepage

    Windows Mobile has already had this since 2002.

    AS well as a bunch of features the iPhone and Android are just now getting, and a bunch it doesn't have.

  • by khchung (462899) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:27PM (#31785074) Journal

    What are you talking about? On my iPhone (not jailbroken) I can listen to music while reading a web page or navigating with TomTom just fine. Not sure what you mean by "updating gps" though, and I don't use skype so can't comment on those.

    Seems like you are seriously misinformed about the capability of the iPhone, it multitasks just fine for things that many users actually uses. I am well aware of its limitations (eg sucky Bluetooth support) but those are things I can live with.

  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:22PM (#31785420)

    On a lot of devices over 20 different device

    That's a *feature*? "Yay we get to target 20 different CPU characteristics / featuresets / screensizes etc.!"

    Nope, not a feature at all.

  • Re:No ads please (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:30AM (#31785814) Journal

    However, when you are paying for a phone, phone service, and the application, and still see ads, this is no longer justifiable. It's a form of double-dipping.

    Why? You're paying a certain price for an application, part of which is in cash, and part is in ad views. You know about both parts in advance, before you buy. Where is the "double-dipping" in that?

    Anyway, all that said... a similar service has been available on Android for ages. In practice, the way it is mostly used is this: applications have a "full" version, which costs $$$ and is ad-free, and a "lite" version, which is free, often has less features, and is ad-supported. Any paid application with ads is readily downvoted by the users.

  • by terjeber (856226) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:34AM (#31785852)

    without once bothering to wonder whether it's appropriate on a small-screen embedded device. It isn't.

    Calling someone a "douchebag" just because he has a more functional brain than you do is not nice. Remember, most people are far more intelligent than you, don't hate them for it.

    If multitasking isn't appropriate on a small-screen device, why has the iPod and the iPhone had it from day one? They have you know. The difference between pre 4.0 and post 4.0 is that this functionality is now available to comapnies that are not called Apple. As you should know if you have ever used an iPhone, the Apple music player goes on playing in the background when you do other stuff on the phone. Try it. Press the "iPod" icon on your phone. Start playing music. Hit the home button - can you still hear the music? Sure you can. Bring up Echofon and check what Twitter is all about. Can you still hear the music? Of course you can. You can because the iPhone has had multitasking always, but only for Apple.

    You are a moron sir, for calling people names just because you are so in love with Steve Jobs that you can not take valid criticism of his products. A sad moron in fact.

  • Re:"beaming"? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dakameleon (1126377) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:02AM (#31786284)

    "Beaming"/bluetooth contact/file transfer worked pretty bloody well for my Nokia and Sony Ericssons. Indeed, iSync made it wonderfully easy to wirelessly sync updated contact info to my Mac. Why is this missing for the iPhone?

    (indeed, why didn't Apple use iSync for the iPhone?)

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:01AM (#31786528) Homepage

    um dude....its always said that!

    Not so. Here's section 3.3.1 of the iPhone OS3 license agreement:

    3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.

    And here's 3.3.1 for iPhone OS4:

    3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

    They explicitly say that -- even if you are using documented api's -- you may not use any language other than c, obj-c, or c++ to do it.

  • by makomk (752139) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:40AM (#31787184) Journal

    The new agreement doesn't just require that the application be written entirely in C/C++/Objective-C. It also requires that you access the iPhone APIs directly without using any cross-platform portability layer. Any game engine that runs on more than one platform or is designed to be able to is going to violate this.

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