CNET First Look
Apple's iOS 4Though Thursday's release of the iPhone 4 is getting the most fervent attention, Apple's iOS 4 is just as significant.
>> I'm Ken Sherman, Senior Editor here at CNET.com. Today, we've got iOS 4. Now, that is the newest operating system for the iPhone and most iPod Touch devices. This operating system will not work on the original iPhone and the first iPod Touch, and only certain features will work on the iPhone 3G. The biggest thing we see from iOS 4 is multitasking. To start with the multitasking, go down to the home menu, you double tap it, and you'll see that this menu pops up down at the bottom. Everything that you're using currently is displayed here. When you want to select an app, let's go over here to Doodle Jump, you click that, and you'll go right into the game. If you want to get out, click the home button again, and once you're back in, if you want to close something, you hold that down, and you'll see that the buttons stop, the icons start jiggling, and you just press that. So that's a way to close something once it's open. So you do need to go in and end things if you really want to be persistent about doing that. So it's just an important thing to note. Also, you need to note that because pressing that home button twice now takes you to that multitasking menu, you no longer have the option in the settings menu where the double tap takes you. Probably the second biggest addition with iOS 4 is home screen folder. Finally, we do have it. Works pretty well. All we need to do is press and hold down on the home screen. So, again, your apps are going to jiggle. We'll take let's say the Amazon app, we'll slide it over, and we'll drop it on top of the Ebay app. When you do that, both apps will be highlighted. And then it will say you have a new folder. The folder does get a default name that's determined by sort of what category the apps are in. Because I put in Ebay and Amazon, I got lifestyle. You're free to change that default name. Once you've created a folder and you want to remove an app from it, open that folder again, take the icon and drag it back to the home screen. So pretty much works quite well. Under the email app, we now have a unified inbox. When you open that, you'll see all of the messages from your multiple accounts organized by the date received. So newest will be on top. You can go through and you get organized in that thread, so you can delete them, you can move them to folders, you just can't access folders, the individual folders inside the other accounts from that universal inbox. But it is really nice to see that, another new option. And you can delete emails directly from search results. Also, you get threaded emails. You'll see a little number next to the message, and then you can delete and manage them there, as well. So pretty nice. IOS 4 does bring you home screen wallpaper, so this will be the ability to change that black background behind all the icons. You just go to the settings menu, you click on the wallpaper option, you click on it, and then it will say set lock screen, set home screen or set both. Once you remove that black background, so that standard black background that you've seen, once you remove that, there's really no way to get it back. You can take a picture of, I don't know, the night sky, a black wall or a dark room, but it's really not going to be the same thing. Finally, note that iOS 4 does give you some new wallpapers, and it does take some away that you've always had. So you'll just need to remember that. Other options in iOS 4 include the ability to search text messages. You've always been able to do this in emails, but now you can go directly into the search text message folder and search from there. And the photo gallery, if you're using iPhoto or Aperture, you can actually get face recognition for photos. You can also now geotag photos. Kind of interesting. Also get a camera zoom for the still camera. It's a 5X. In the 3GS, we did see taptofocus for the still camera. We never really thought it made that much difference. But now the video camera has it. You do have a spell check where you're typing, so when you're typing and you spell something incorrectly, you do get a little red line down below. There are a few options that we haven't tested quite yet, but are coming. Gets a lot of new enterprise features. You get the support for iBooks. You also get Game Center. Game Center is not available yet. It will be available a little bit later in the year. We'll have to investigate that when we get there. But for right now, all we know is it's coming later in the year. So on the whole, I'd say iOS 4 is just as exciting as the iPhone 4, which, of course, comes out later this week. Brings these really important features. Multitasking is the biggest one. We also have the universal inbox and the home screen folders. These are things that we've really been asking Apple for for a long time, so it's great to kind of check them off your list. I'm Ken Sherman, and this is the first look at iOS 4.