iPhone OS 4.0 adds multitasking, coming this summer

OS 4.0: Available for iPhone/iTouch this summer, for iPad this fall
OS 4.0: Available for iPhone/iTouch this summer, for iPad this fall
OS 4.0: Available for iPhone/iTouch this summer, for iPad this fall

Apple today gave a sneak preview of the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 at their Cupertino headquarters. The upgrade will be available this summer and in the fall for the iPad.

The biggest new feature should address a long-standing weakness and nagging point for enthusiasts: multitasking. Now, much like a regular computer, you can run multiple applications simultaneously. For example, listening to the latest John Mayer album while reading some Deepak Chopra is now possible. But still ridiculous.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, “It really changes the way you use the iPhone. You bounce apps with tremendous fluidity.”

Reasons for not previously offering multitasking were the increased battery drain and resulting sluggish system response times. It seems that Apple engineers have solved this problem.

In addition OS 4.0 brings 100 other new features including bluetooth support, spell check, custom wallpaper, app folders, iBooks and enhanced email. Many of the new features address shortcomings that were attacked effectively by Google with its new Android mobile operating system.

Another big Apple announcement is related to the ad market, which is going mobile in a big way. Google with AdMob is still the gorilla, but others are attacking the space as consumers buy more smartphones, netbooks, laptops, and, yes of course, the shiny new iPad.  Called iAd and using HTML5, a rapidly emerging competitor to Adobe’s flash technology, the platform will give developers 60% of revenue.

Jobs announced that 50 million iPhone and 35 million iTouch devices have been sold to date, suggesting that the untapped potential for Apple and development partners is enormous.

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