Apple today released iOS 4.0, the latest version of the operating system for iPod Touches and iPhones. iOS 4 for iPads is expected later this year. Take a look below for the features of the new operating system and how to get it now.


Major New Features

iOS 4 is packed with over 100 new features — here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect after you install iOS 4.

Multitasking allows apps, in certain instances, to keep running in the background while you switch to other applications. Some of the biggest expected uses of multitasking include playing Pandora in the background while doing other things, uploading large images to web services, VOIP calls, and many things no one has even thought of yet. In addition, for all apps that allow it, quick-switching is supported allowing you to suspend an app right where you were and return to it nearly instantly, right where you left off.

While Apple resisted multitasking for a long time, we’ve seen on other platforms how it can really drain the battery and reduce overall system performance. Apple has created a simplified and restricted multitasking system that allows the most common tasks to be done in a way that impacts the overall device usage at a minimum.

In addition, Apple have created a few new forms of notifications that can be sent from local programs and not need the support of a server. Location notifications can pop-up a notification when you are near a certain location and local notifications allow organization apps to remind you of tasks and appointments anytime.

App Organization Folders allow you to group applications in any way that you wish. You create a folder by dragging one app onto another. From there you can drag other apps to the folder to include them. A folder is opened by tapping it’s icon to reveal the apps icons of the what is included. Folders will allow you to greatly increase the number of applications you can manage on your iPhone — up to 2160 from the current 180 under iOS 3.x.

Email changes include a unified inbox allowing you to combine all of your inboxes into a single inbox. You can still view the inboxes individually if you wish, a single inbox is an optional view of your email.

Digital Zoom has been added to the camera app. But caution, digitally zoomed images will not be as sharp as full range images.

Notes Syncing has been enhanced to allow you to sync your notes over the air.

Photos enhanced to include faces and places information from iPhoto.

Playlists can now be created on the device in the iPod application.

Wallpaper changes allow you to change your home screen wallpaper. We’ve always been able to change the wallpaper on the lock screen, but now you can choose the same of a different wallpaper for your home screen. A purely cosmetic new feature, but one that a lot of people seem to want.

For an amazingly detailed rundown of what you will find in iOS 4, check out the write up on TIPB by Rene Ritchie.

What about the iPad?

iOS4 isn’t currently available for the iPad. Apple has stated that it will be available later this year for the iPad but have made absolutely no indication of when we will see it or what features we will see. We’ll keep you posted.

How to Download

iOS4 is a free update for all iPod Touch and iPhones except the first generation iPod Touch and original iPhone. While some features, like multitasking, aren’t supported on older models, all versions will benefit from this upgrade. And did I mention it’s free?

To download and install the update for your device, connect it to your computer and fire up iTunes. The first thing you should do is complete a full sync to make sure that there is a good backup on your computer so that the restore process goes easy.

Once that is done, click the Check for Update button and follow the prompts. It will take a while to complete, so make sure you have time to let the process finish. You can not interrupt it and continue later.

Next, enjoy the amazing new features! Let us know in the comments what new features you think you will end up using the most.

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