Welcome, iOS 4

Apple's latest iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 4, is available Monday. Before you download your own update, CNET tells you about all the new features to expect.

iOS 4 is available Monday. James Martin/CNET

Update at 9:10 a.m. PDT: The iOS 4 update is not yet available. We expect it to go live about 10 a.m. PDT.

Update at 10:10 a.m. PDT: The iOS 4 update is now available for download.

As the iPhone 4's Thursday release inches closer, Apple whets our appetite Monday with the release of its latest iPhone and iPod Touch operating system. First announced in April, iOS 4 adds a gallery of features, from the long-awaited and expected to the small and surprising.

For a refresher on the look and feel of iOS 4, check out our initial hands-on of the developer release.

To get the update, simply connect your device to iTunes and follow the steps . It's free for both iPhone and iPod Touch users--in the past the latter group users had to pay a small fee--though iOS 4 is not compatible with first generation models of either device. Also, remember that the iPhone 3G will not support the new multitasking feature.

We'll follow up with a review of iOS 4 later Monday, but here's a recap of the new features in the meantime.

Multitasking
Finally, the iPhone joins its smartphone rivals with the ability to run multiple apps simultaneously.

Home screen folders
Now you'll be able to save home screen by organizing related--or even unrelated--apps into folders.

E-mail in-box
Among other things, you'll you get a unified e-mail in-box, support for multiple Exchange accounts, and the option for viewing e-mails by thread.

Enterprise
IT departments will welcome enhanced data protection, mobile device management, and wireless app distribution.

iBooks
You can share books between the iPhone and the iPad with one purchase.

Game Center
This feature is scheduled for release later this year so we won't get it right away. But when it comes it will bring options like a social gaming network, the ability to invite friends to games, and the opportunity for setting up two people to play.

Additional changes

  • Spell check
  • Larger fonts for e-mail, texts, and alerts
  • Persistent Wi-Fi
  • Tap to focus in video recorder
  • Customizable wallpapers for the home screen
  • Search text messages
  • Choose image size in mail messages
  • Recent Web searches
  • 5x digital zoom in camera
  • Gifting of apps
  • Birthday calendar
  • File and delete mail search results
  • Web search suggestions in universal search
  • Rotate photos
  • Playlist creation on the device
  • Support for Bluetooth keybords
 

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