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iPhone 4.0 Announcement Wrap-Up: Game Center, iAd, and More

This is coming in a little bit late, my apologies.  Driving around in San Francisco takes a bit longer than I thought… but with all that aside, let’s get to the nitty gritty: iPhone OS 4.0.  This is by far the largest announcement by Apple since iPhone OS 2.0, and I was very impressed by it.  Among the 100s of features, Apple introduced seven “tent-pole” features, meaning most likely the major features of OS 4.0.

The seven tent pole features are as follows:

  • Multitasking
  • Folders
  • Mail enhancements: one inbox for all mail accounts, threaded conversation view, and opening attachments
  • iBooks for the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • Enterprise: better data protection, wireless app distribution, multiple Exchange accounts
  • Game Center: social platforming network similar to OpenFeint, Plus+, and AGON
  • iAd: advertising in-game, price cut is 60-40 split with Apple

The coolest thing announced, in my opinion, was the Game Center.  It should, one way or another, bring together all social platforming networks into one.  If it didn’t, then all this excitement is for naught, as this is the only reason Apple would be interested in making such a feature.

Another feature that could be interesting is bluetooth keyboard, bringing about a whole new wave of accessories for the iPhone.  Everyone, including me, is speculating a slide-out keyboard case that someone may think about making, and it would totally make sense for people who don’t like the touch screen to start buying the iPhone.

Other features that weren’t announced but shown on the screen are shown below.  iPhone OS 4.0 will be available in the summer, with 4.0 for the iPad coming later in the fall.  Multitasking will not be available for the 1st gen iPhone and iPod Touch, and the 2nd gen iPhone and iPod Touch.

Interactive iAd for iPhone OS 4.0

Game Center for iPhone

[images via Engadget]



  1. D. DeJong on Friday 9, 2010

    Wow, Apple is finally getting around to officially adding the features to the iPhone OS that I’ve had on my jailbroken iPod Touch for a year. I’m still probably not gonna update from 3.12 until geohot manages to jailbreak 4.0, though. I love Winterboard just that much.

  2. Matt on Friday 9, 2010

    This is all fine and dandy, but it’s also a very one-sided view of the new OS. While it brings many much desired features to the iPhone family of devices, it’s also pushing many developers and development platforms out the door. It wasn’t announced on stage, but Apple has made a change to the wording in the company’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, to which all aspiring app developers must agree. The revised agreement reads:

    “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).”

    Most pundits see this as a direct attack against Adobe’s Flash technologies, and the upcoming Flash-to-iPhone compiler featured in Adobe Flash CS5. Several months back I wrote an editorial on the possibilities of Flash gaming coming to the iPhone. Well, forget it.

    But it’s not just Flash that could be getting the cold shoulder in this move. The new language would also seem to prohibit apps created using Titanium, Unity 3D and other technologies as well. And, of course, this isn’t the first time that private APIs such as Unity have had troubles with Apple’s rulings regarding the app store.

    Many popular app store titles are based on the Unity engine, including Samurai: Way of the Warrior and Ravensword: The Fallen King. I’ve also found indications that Gameloft’s Modern Combat: Sandstorm may be using Unity, though I have not been able to confirm this one way or the other.

    Naturally, it will be up to Apple what happens next. As yet, there’s no telling how these changes may affect existing titles such as Ravensword, or forthcoming titles already in planning and/or development.

  3. Matt on Friday 9, 2010

    Zombieville USA is also Unity-based. Given that, it would not surprise me if it were also the case with OMG! Pirates!.

    Monospace, Touch KO, Battle Bears, Castle Warriors, Monster Trucks Nitro, Gene Pool, Thor: The Son of Odin, Monster Ball, Lockdown and Volcano Planet are just a few additional Unity titles I’ve managed to come up with.

    Unity developers remain optimistic, but have as yet had no word from Apple on how the new terms will affect Unity developers or software. The Unity Technologies Blog is probably a good place to keep up with things.

    As for the others, I haven’t looked too hard into Titanium. Adobe is very displeased, but plans to keep the Flash-to-iPhone converter in CS5, leaving it up to Apple whether or not to accept apps created by it.

    I think all of this is cause for concern.

  4. [...] iPhone 4.0 announcement: iPhone OS 4.0 is coming in the summer with over 100 new features.  Included is Apple’s own social gaming platform Game Center and mobile advertising system iAd.  You can catch our wrap up of the event here. [...]

  5. Daniel on Friday 9, 2010

    Interesting article on Mashable about the whole thing: http://mashable.com/2010/04/10/steve-jobs-adobe/

    I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to code and computer talk, but this is definitely big news if developers are not allowed to code using Unity 3D and such.

  6. Matt on Friday 9, 2010

    “We’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.” – Steve Jobs

    Yeah, I’m just not so sure about that. The number of Unity-based games that have ended up in the app store’s What’s Hot list seems to defy his point. Ravensword, Zombieville, Samurai … pretty ridiculous for Apple to promote its platform on such apps, then ban their underlying technologies from the device. :-/

  7. [...] iPhone 4.0 announcement: iPhone OS 4.0 is coming in the summer with over 100 new features.  Included is Apple’s own social gaming platform Game Center and mobile advertising system iAd.  You can catch our wrap up of the event here. [...]