Apple unveils new iPhone operating system
Apple will add multi-tasking, mobile advertising and an ebook reader to its hugely successful iPhone when it releases the fourth version of the phone's operating system later this year.
Announcing iPhone OS 4.0 to developers at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters in California earlier, Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, said the new operating system would allow multi-tasking to the iPhone for the first time.
He said: “We weren’t the first to this party but we’re going to be the best.”
The iPhone and iPod touch already allows multi-tasking for certain apps made by Apple but Jobs said his company had been trying to find a way to allow third-party apps to multi-task without slowing the device to a crawl or draining its battery life.
The new OS will mean that third-party applications such as Spotify can continue to play music while the user checks email or surfs the web.
However, multi-tasking will work only on the iPhone 3GS - older versions of the phone and older models of the iPod touch will not be able to use it.
Jobs also announced Apple’s move into mobile advertising with a platform called iAds. Jobs said: “We think most of this mobile advertising really sucks and we think we might be able to make some contributions.”
iAds allows for adverts to run inside mobile apps, allowing users to view interactive video content without leaving the app. Jobs said Apple would keep 40pc of the revenue from iAds, which he said would “deliver emotion” as well as interactivity.
Other features comprising what Jobs described as seven new “tent pole” features for the OS included the addition of Apple’s bookshop, iBooks, a gaming platform - called Game Centre - that allows peopl to challenge their friends, and a unified email inbox, allowing users to bring multiple email accounts into one place.
Ernest Doku, of mobile price comparison website, Omio.com, said: "With OS 4.0, Apple has finally addressed the issue that many iPhone users have been clamouring for by unveiling multitasking."
"Also, the introduction of the iBooks Store and Game Center network turns the iPhone and iPod touch into a portable e-reader and a fully fledged online gaming machine, broadening the appeal of the Apple's handset beyond mere communications.”