"iPhone OS 4.0"
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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
iPhone OS 4.0
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>> Hi, I'm Kent German, senior editor here at cnet.com. Today we're gonna take a first look at iPhone OS 4.0. Now, this is the brand new iPhone operating system update, brings some very important features called -- like multitasking, folders, unified email box. These are things we've been waiting for for a long time. So very excited to see those. Now, we are showing you this on the iPhone 3GS, and the reason for that is because the biggest feature we're getting, multitasking, is not gonna be available on the iPhone 3G, and it's particularly not on the original iPhone. You can get some of iPhone OS 4.0 benefits on those handsets, but this is the only phone where you'll get everything.
But first, let's talk about multitasking. This is something, yes, we've been waiting for for a long time. And multitasking, of course, is the ability to have multiple things open at once. You can have an app open, listen to music in the background, maybe you browse the web or you text or something like that. So the first thing you need to do, if you are on the home screen, you just double-tap the Home button. That'll bring up a bar down on the bottom, and it'll show you the current open apps. You can scroll right or left to get through them. Only shows four at a time; that's simply because the screen is only four apps wide. But you just choose what you want, and then if you press and hold -- and you remember you can do that to move things around on the main home screen -- you'll get a little icon that looks like a Delete button. You can just press that and it'll close the application for you. My other point that I've noticed is that, for instance, when I was going to the camera, I was taking photos, I was taking some screenshots. And then when I close out of the camera, I've notice that it doesn't exactly ends the camera. I do have to go to my multitasking. The camera looks like it's running. So we're gonna have to test that out as the update finally comes. But as far as I can see, the experience is pretty user-friendly. You can switch back and forth easily. You will be able to be on a call, maybe browse the web, look for a restaurant. They did show that in the demo. That is a nice feature. And like I said, you can listen to background music while you're using other things.
Another feature we've really been waiting for was folders. And of course, this is the ability to take multiple apps and put them in one space of the home screen. On the iPhone, what you do is you actually have to press and hold an icon. So you do this again when you wanna move things around. The icons will start to jiggle. Take that icon and you drag it on top of another one, and it'll create a folder. It's gonna be a square icon with tiny icons of the included apps inside. So if there are games, you'll get games, entertainment, whatever it might be. You can change that title if you want, but the default name is there just for your benefit. If you wanna see what's inside a folder, you just press it, it'll appear on the bottom. You can then move them out if you like, then -- or you can, of course, click the app you want to open it. It is a nice way to just keep everything in one place.
Next item is Game Center. Now, we can't really show you a lot about Game Center simply because it's not up and running. But what Game Center will allow you to do is, if you like social gaming, you can find your friends or play games with them. This does bring a different level of gaming to the iPhone, something we haven't seen yet. Camera zoom, yet another feature we've been waiting for for a while. This is the 5X camera zoom. Works pretty easily. You just tap on the screen and you can't -- and then you'll see a bar down below where you can just zoom in or zoom out. Again, it's nice to see Apple come on board with this and just add it in.
Related to that is the tap to focus in video. This is something that the iPhone 3G has brought. That is, when you're in the photo, you tap on the screen, you see the little blue box. That will actually focus the camera on that particular point. You can move it around, too; you can put it wherever you want. You know, in the center or you can put it on the side. But that feature wasn't available in video before, so it is there now. So just another nice thing. Doesn't work perfectly, but it is nice.
Rotate photo is another minor feature. You actually can go in, into the menu now, and just change that automatically. Spell-check, of course, is just a great addition, so when you're typing a long email, especially something at work, you know, you wanna spell everything correctly. You'll get that red underline on the word that's spelled incorrectly, or at least isn't recognized, that you see on other -- a lot of word processing applications. So that's a nice step.
Web search suggestions, specifically Google, you'll find this in the Safari browser. Let's say I search for CNET, and I've searched for it before, it will bring that up. But if I'm searching -- if I type in CN, I'll get CNN, I'll get CNET, and I'll get everything that begins with that that Google is suggesting. So that's a nice touch as well.
Home screen wallpapers. This allows you to actually change the wallpaper for the home screens. Now one thing we've noticed is that, if you change the wallpaper on the home screen, you can't go back in and actually change it to that black background again if you want. Apple may definitely change that by the time it comes along.
The last really important addition is a unified email box. So what that is, of course, you have multiple email accounts, you have a Yahoo account, you have Gmail, you have work or whatever might be, you can actually have them listed all in one box. So you can go down and select the message you want. And somewhat related to the new email function is the ability to search inside your text message application. This is just for text messages. So it's a little curious that Apple is just adding that now, but hey, you know, we're gonna welcome it.
So those are the highlights of iPhone OS 4.0. When the update is released this summer, and hopefully when we have a new iPhone, we will check back with you to give them the full review and tell you exactly what we think. But for right now, I'm Kent German, and this is a first look at iPhone OS 4.0
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