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iPhone 4.0: iAds, multitasking, and 98 tweaks

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In the yawner of the day, Jobs announced that the iBooks app recently introduced on the iPad will make its way to the iPhone and iPod touch in iPhone OS 4.0 - another blow to Amazon's Kindle. However, as Engadget noted, "Even Steve doesn't seem that excited about this."

Jobs did seem excited, however, to note that since the iPad was introduced last Saturday, 600,000 books had been downloaded from the App Store, along with 3.5 million apps. True to Jobsian form, however, he didn't note how many were free and how many were paid for.

There will be, according to Jobs, 100 new user features in iPhone OS 4.0, supported by 1,500 new APIs. Among the new features that were merely displayed on a Keynote slide and which weren't discussed from the stage were the ability to gift apps, the addition of the Places feature in the Photos app (which the iPad already has), universal spellcheck, changeable homescreen and lockscreen wallpaper (which, actually, Steve did gush about a bit onstage), 5x digital zoom in the iPhone's camera, the ability to search SMS and MMS messages, support for Bluetooth keyboards, CardDAV support, web-search suggestions, CalDAV invitations, nested playlists, and more.

Availability

Not every owner of every iPhone or iPod touch will be able to reap the benefits of iPhone 4.0.

The iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod touch will get the whole enchilada when 4.0 is released sometime "this summer" - presumably in concert with the next-gen iPhone. The iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch, on the other hand, will be able to run "many things," but not all the new features - with the most glaring omission being multitasking.

The iPad won't benefit from iPhone OS 4.0 at the same time as do the newer iPhones and iPod touches. iPadders will need to wait until "this fall" before a version is released for their brand-spanking-new devices.

And the poor ol' original iPhone - the one that was limited to EDGE and for which early adopters paid $599 for an 8GB model in June 2007 - wasn't mentioned at all. ®

Bootnote

In a Q&A after the formal presentation, one brave soul had the temerity to ask Jobs whether Apple had any plans to allow the iPhone to run "unsigned" apps - that is, apps not vetted by and distributed through the App Store. According to Engadget, Jobs' reply betrayed some of the enmity he may still feel for Eric Schmidt's fiefdom, despite the two CEO's recent coffee klatsch: "You know, there's a porn store for Android. Anyone can download them. You can, your kids can. That's just not a place we want to go."

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