Apple recently released a third beta of iPhone OS 4.0 to developers. After spending a day with the code, developers have found a few new features previously undisclosed by Apple.
Apple recently released a third beta of iPhone OS 4.0 to developers. After spending a day with the code, developers have found a few new features previously undisclosed by Apple.The first new feature is simplified multitasking. In previous betas, turning off apps that were running in the background was as serious pain. It required users to press, hold, and then click to close each open app one at a time. No more. The simpler version in beta 3 allows users to press and hold one app, and then quickly close whichever apps they want quickly rather than cycling through each one at at time. This is a significant improvement in how multitasking behaves.
How's this for killer? The new version features file sharing. YES! This has been one of my biggest on-going gripes with iPhone OS, and I am glad to see that Apple is doing something about it -- even if only at the developer stage. Here's how it works. With your iPhone connected to iTunes, use the Apps page and scroll down. It provides a visible window through which users can drag-and-drop files from the iPhone back and forth with your PC. If this can be tied into the email application, Apple will have solved one of the biggest problems I have with iPhone OS.
Next up is an orientation lock similar to that found on the iPad. This tool lets users flip a (virtual) switch and force the iPhone to keep any open applications in either portrait or landscape orientation. Before, many apps would rotate when the phone was rotated, while others remained stuck. This lets users control the affects of the accelerometer to a degree, and will make the iPhone easier to use in some situations (such as when laying down).
The last new feature discovered is a new media player widget that lets users quickly interact with their music (play, pause, stop, etc.) without fully opening the music player.
Apple has been consistent in offering new developer builds of iPhone OS 4.0 each two weeks. We can probably expect another -- along with new features -- to arrive on or about May 18.
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