iPhone OS 4.0: Mail, Folders & iBooks

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iPhone fans around the world will rejoice with the improvements coming in Apple’s iPhone 4.0 OS this summer. Support for organizing applications within folders, an improved Mail app and the new iBooks app are among the most notable.

FoldersFolders

Many have desired a way to better organize apps on their device. When Apple introduced the App Store, it also gave us multiple home screens. Organization got a bit easier with iTunes 9 which allowed for organizing home screens directly from within iTunes. Taking the idea even further, device-wide Spotlight made it easy for users to find apps no matter which home screen they were on, or even if they couldn’t be displayed because of display limitations. When iPhone 4.0 launches this summer though, users can also organize their apps into folders.

As you’d expect from Apple, the process is quite simple. Just tap and hold an app until it starts to wiggle, just like you were going to move its location. Then drop the app on top of another app’s icon and a folder will be created. The device will use the genre of app (Business, Games, etc.) to define the folder name, but this is, of course, changeable.

Allowing organization within folders will mean that users can now keep many more applications on their devices than before. In fact, Apple says that you could, in theory, store over 2,100 apps on the phone now.

Mail

If there’s one thing that constantly seeing “Sent from my iPhone” has taught me, it’s that iPhone and iPod touch (and now iPad) users all love checking their email. The next version of the iPhone OS will bring some improvements to this much-loved app. The one I’m most excited about is support for multiple Exchange accounts (which is great since I have two at work).

Like Mail.app on the Mac, this new version will also support a unified Inbox, allowing you to see messages from all of your accounts in one view. It will also support threaded messages, making correspondence easier if you’re an email junkie. It’s also easy to switch between inboxes with “fast inbox switching.”

Finally, the new version will also allow you to open attachments that are associated with third-party applications.

iBooksiBooks

The success of iBooks on the iPad is unquestionable. With the iPad not even a week old and only available in the United States, Apple has announced that over 600,000 iBooks have been downloaded.

Just like it’s iPad cousin, the iPod touch and iPhone version if iBooks will allow you to browse and buy books directly from the iBookstore. If you’ve already been buying content for your iPad, all of that will sync up through iTunes to iBooks on your iPhone. In addition, your bookmarks and information on the last page you were on will be synced as well.

What do you think of these announcements? Some of these features may only be available to iPhone 3GS or third-generation iPod touch users. Is it time for you to upgrade? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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