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Apple announces iPhone 4.0, beta today, iPhone/iPod touch in summer, iPad in fall

Apple has announced iPhone 4.0, available for developers in beta form starting today and arriving for iPhone and iPod touch users sometime this summer, and iPad users in the fall. Highlights of the latest version of the mobile OS that powers the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad include the following 7 "tentpoles":

  1. Multitasking (iPhone 3GS/iPod touch G3 only)
  2. Folders with intelligent naming
  3. Mail with unified inbox, multiple Exchange accounts, threaded messages
  4. iBooks for iPhone
  5. Increased Enterprise support in iPhone 4.0
  6. Game Center social network
  7. iAd mobile advertising platform

iPhone 4.0 will also bring iPhone 3.2 (iPad) features like spell checking, Bluetooth keyboard support, Home Screen wallpaper, a 5x digital zoom (and tap to focus for video), as well as 1500 new API for developers (like -- finally! -- calendar access!)

How's that list looking to you?

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • And no hint of new hardware, just creeping abandonment of the majority of iPhones?
    MultiTasking: Ok. Maybe Skype was right not to do notifications.
    Folders: Yay!!! Long overdue
    Mail: Yay for Unified and threaded.
    iBook: Yawn. Stanza, B&N, EReader and Kindle. Been there done that.
    Increased enterprise: Laughable till they ditch iTunes requirement.
    Game Center: ok. iPhone games bore me.
    iAd: BOO! Hisss.
  • They'll likely announce a new iPhone later this year, which is fine by me since I'm due to upgrade.
  • @Brian:
    I'm in the same boat. Contract up, wanting more, but not willing to jump into a 3Gs at this time. Not with new hardware coming later.
  • Summer = Sept 25
  • I was happy with what I saw, but I'm looking forward to seeing a video of the event. Hopefully Apple will put one up pretty soon.
    It's still not clear how you QUIT an app that you have backgrounded. I'm happy about the way they did it, though. Most of the time it's music apps that I want backgrounded. Games on occasion, but usually it's Sirius/Pandora/Slacker.
  • Still hoping for that temporal antenna.
  • Was pretty happy with 4.0....only missing wireless iTunes sync... I wish we didn't have to plug in everytime we wanted to update content
  • also streaming with lala...since simplify media is going out of the music streaming, I am looking for a replacement product....
  • So wait a minute Multitasking for the 3GS/Ipod touch G3 only?
    don't tell me the Ipad won't be able to do it? that's just crazy......
  • hoping they wow us with the next Iphone, I hoping slightly larger screen with HD. I.e. HTC HD2
  • Bummed that iPad won't go 4.0 until Fall. I want multi-tasking on iPad sooner rather than later. Also bummed there's no dev beta of 4.0 for iPad.
  • I'm sure I'm way out of my league in this blog, but I have a DUMB QUESTION: When will the iPhone 4.0 be available for purchase? Did the announcement today give any hints?
  • Yeah, I loved the part about double-clicking the Home button. Did they take into consideration the amount of people who ALWAYS have to double (or triple/quadruple) click their Home buttons just to get them to work?
  • Am I the only one who thinks it is odd that there is going to be a 2-3 month window where the iPhone software is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than the iPad software? That just seems really odd to me because the phone has a power + portability feel, while the iPad has been marketed almost exclusively from a power/netbook replacement perspective. That said, once the iPad is outfitted with the new software plus any new ones that WWDC might bring, the iPad is going to inch closer and closer to a true multitasking netbook replacer.
  • @ Brad R - It is not something that you purchase per se (unless you have an iPod Touch in which case it tends to be around $9.99). This will be available as a free iPhone download on the day that the 4th Generation iPhone hardware is released, which will likely be late June or early July. Nothing is known beyond that other than what was said in the keynote. Depending on what you have (iPhone 2G/3G/3GS) will also impact the feature-set that you get with iPhone 4.0 due to hardware limitations on the older devices.
  • Hey guys,
    I'm registering your iPhones uiid do you can run 4.0 early. Simply paypal me $15.00 usd and I will register your iPhone as I am an apple developer. I have 93 spots left.
    Simply download the 4.0 online, and install it when I register you, otherwise, your phone will lock up!
    Paypal me at
  • Any news regarding notification management?
  • @Dr_Stein
    You don't quit the apps. Apple is taking a "set it and forget it" approach.
  • @ Al: Thanks so much for the info. I knew it was a dumb question... The reason I ask is because I currently have the AT&T Tilt (BLECH!) and I want to get rid of it and replace it with the iPhone, but want to wait until the newest iPhone is released. Sounds like from what you said that it may be June/July before that happens. Do you think it's worth waiting for? I REALLY hate the Tilt.
  • Bluetooth! Bluetooth to other phones and devices! Release Bluetooth at once!
  • @AL:
    Am I the only one who thinks it is odd that there is going to be a 2-3 month window where the iPhone software is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than the iPad software? That just seems really odd to me because the phone has a power + portability feel, while the iPad has been marketed almost exclusively from a power/netbook replacement perspective.
    The OS is still basically a phone OS, so it seems reasonable to do your development where you have a large userbase of testers and beta testers, where you have deployment experience, and everybody already has done an upgrade at least once.
    Updating the iPad will probably be a disaster the first time around anyway.
    Besides, the iPad will be rooted and running Linux by that time anyway. ;-O
  • Unless I am wrong, it said for the latest iPod Touch, so that would mean 2gen touch no luck?
  • Ok, but where's TETHERING? I know, it's not Apple ... but, c'mon already!
  • Hopefully a physical keyboard.... sheesh.
  • Now I phone users will experience more of what WebOS has been offering already.
  • awesome, ghetto multi-taking and iAd?so no the iPhone users will get advertising shoved at them all day...its just like tv! Wow, that's revolutionary!
  • My question is for the people that have been waiting to purchase an iphone, like myself. Do we go out and just get the 3gs or do we wait for the new one to come out in 2 months ? Because to me it just seems like software updates
  • so there's no multi-taking for iPad?
  • @ franco wait for two months is not only software but hardware also the 4g or g4 will be faster (probably)
  • @Franco
    I agree with Leo. You won't be disappointed.