Apple has provided a sneak peek at a developer preview of iPhone OS 4.0, the next major version of its operating system for mobile devices.
Billed as a "developer preview” in iPhone OS 4, Apple announced a social-gaming network called Game Center, which seems poised to compete with services such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. You’ll be able to invite friends, participate in online matchmaking, compete in leaderboards, earn achievements, and more. While available first to developers—presumably so they can integrate the functionality in their apps—Game Center will roll out to end users later this year.
As was widely rumored, Apple announced its own built-in advertising system for the iPhone OS, iAd. Developers to incorporate ads into their application and use both video and interactive elements without taking users out of the current application. And the system is built entirely on HTML5.
“It’s all about helping our developers make money through advertising so they can keep their free apps free,” said Jobs.
Availability and compatibility
While Apple is releasing a developer preview of iPhone 4.0 on Thursday, it won’t be available to end users until this summer. And not all devices will be able to reap all the benefits. Owners of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch should be able to run all the features, but iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch owners will only support some of the features—for instance, those devices will not be able to use the multitasking features.
As for Apple’s newest device, the iPad, Jobs said that iPhone 4.0 will arrive on the tablet device sometime this autumn.