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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 (s aapl) 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.


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.


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 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.


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.

17 Responses to “iPhone OS 4.0: Mail, Folders & iBooks”

  1. Haha, you are joking… I would upgrade my phone because the old one broke… maybe… But for a few new features I would just jailbreak my iPhone!! No multitasking for iPhone 3g, just jailbreak and/or new iPhone. Whatever else is 3gS/4g exclusive will come to jailbreak and encourage people to jailbreak. The old iPhones still work and run mostly the same apps, I’m not bothered enough to upgrade or particularly excited by os 4.0… More what should have been in 3.0… Or even 2.0. By now I was expecting it to hover and make coffee… Not just add some ‘old’ jailbreak features and features which have been on other devices for years. Yawn… Apple boring… Next please.. Oh and try making a phone which last more than a year before it dies there’s only so many people who can send broken iPhones back before you run out… :)

  2. I was initially underwhelemed until I watched the keynote of the new features and then it all made sense. Even the iAds looked intersting and the potential to be even a source of entertainmnent particularly if you are interested in a movie for example you will be able to see loads of exciting stuff about the movie (potentially).

    What I missed though was no new notes, no extra collaboration features for sharing things like Calendars and notes with other iPhone even iPad users. Whether this is to keep the app developers happy so Apple does not discourage people from buying them or just in the “can’t be bothered” basked is hard to know or maybe its all going to happen in a much needed Mobile Me Upgrade.

    In either case, you can see where this is all leading and these techologies merge together and don’t be remotely surprised when Apple release an update Apple TV all singing and dancing with games that can be downloaded and played with your devices.

    Also, this definately paves the way for a web cam on the iPhone 4.0

    I also suspect the late release of this update for the iPad is so that the iPhone users can help iron any wrinkles so the iPads release is almost flawless when its made available for that in Autumn (Fall for the Americans out there)

    • Whether this is to keep the app developers happy so Apple does not discourage people from buying them or just in the “can’t be bothered” basked is hard to know

      Theres rarely a “cant be bothered” attitude towards programming in any company. And those that have it fail fairly quickly.

      adding new features to an operating system isnt just a case of whether or not to add it. Theres how to code it, how it will tie in with other features, how will the UI work, can the device support it, is it possible given the way other compnents work… etc.

      Adding new features to an OS is not a drag and drop exercise. Or just a do it and tick the box job. Heck, sometimes its not possible simply because of the infastructure of the rest of the code!

    • Yup if only. There was no mention of that, but to be honest, I just don’t get why we can’t delete those Apps included on the phone by default, – stupid, totally stupid and makes no sense why we are forced to keep them cluttering up our space – drives me insanse.