Sat 12/4 iPhone OS 4.0 First Thoughts

iPhone

Does anyone else feel disheartened by Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 announcement? Never before can I remember an Apple announcement less about customer’s interests, and more about Apple’s profits.

Things started off great with the long awaited unveiling of multitasking on the iPhone. But even this feature was blemished by the fact that every application currently available will have to be rewritten to take advantage of Apple’s new multitasking APIs. Furthermore older iPhone hardware like the iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, and iPod Touch 2G will not even be able to support multitasking, iPhone OS 4.0’s most important feature.

Phone OS 4.0’s second tent pole feature, the ability to organize applications into folders will take the maximum number of apps you can see on your iPhone from 180 to 2,160! The people who will benefit most from folders are the user’s who continually provide Apple with regular 30% donations by way of the app store. Folders are a temporary fix, and not a solution, to application launching on the iPhone. I expected more from Apple than a reiteration of the thirty year old desktop metaphor on the iPhone.

Mail is playing catch up in iPhone OS 4.0. Apple is releasing features such as a unified mailbox, multiple Exchange accounts, and a thread view that are already common place on the desktop and other competing mobile platforms.

iBooks came to the iPad this week, and will come to the iPhone and iPod Touch early in the summer when iPhone OS 4.0 ships. iBooks is Apple’s answer to the emerging eBook market pioneered by established booksellers like Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. iBooks’ DRM will lock customer’s into the Apple’s eBook platform and eliminate competition just like iTune’s DRM locked people in and eliminated competition for the iPod.

iPhone OS 4 offers features for the Enterprise like in app encryption, centralized device management and deployment management tools that allow wireless app distribution for internal applications. Nothing would make Apple’s stock price soar like the greater adoption of iPhone OS in the enterprise.

Despite Nintendo’s claims to the contrary, the iPhone platform is becoming a mobile powerhouse for gaming. Apple wants to make that experience even better by adding a social network, and tightening their control over gaming, the biggest money maker on the iPhone.

Traditionally Steve Jobs keynote’s end with a groundbreaking product or feature veiled with the proclamation of “one more thing.” The end of the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement instead brought us iAds, and the potential of one billion ad opportunities per day with a 60/40 revenue split in the developer’s favor. Apple has enforced restrictions on developers serving up ads in their applications in the past, but with iAds Apple can earn forty percent by serving up HTML5 based ads with “emotion.”