Apple, with its forthcoming iPhone OS 4.0, has added more capabilities for enterprises and features such as multitasking, but there will be no change in the company's rejection of Java and Adobe Flash for the platform.
In a rollout of the OS Thursday at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., company CEO Steve Jobs heralded the release of a developer preview of iPhone OS 4.0 available Apple's developer Web page. Users will be able to get the OS this summer.
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Built for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and newly released iPad devices, Apple highlighted seven "tentpole" features. These include iTunes-less corporate app distribution, additional enterprise security, multitasking, folders, an enhanced email client, iBook capabilities, games, and the iAd advertising platform.
"iPhone OS 4 delivers over 1,500 new APIs for developers, a lot stuff that developers have been asking for," Jobs said. He called version 4.0 "the next generation of the most advanced mobile operating system in the world."
Emphasizing the developer bent of Tuesday's unveiling, Jobs said that Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones and that total iPhone and iPod Touch sales have reached 85 million. "If you're a software developer, that is a plum market to go after," said Jobs.
On the enterprise side, iPhone OS 4.0 offers improved data protection with email encryption. Developers will be able to access APIs for encryption. Mobile device management in the OS enables solutions from companies like Sybase to be used for deploying large numbers of phones.
Wireless application distribution in version 4 enables user companies to distribute applications wirelessly to iPhone units from their own server. Also featured is support for multiple Exchange mail accounts on a single phone and support of SSL VPN capabilities.
"The iPhone has made huge inroads in enterprises," Jobs said. "Already, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using iPhones."
But anyone holding out hope for Jobs to soften up on Apple's policy of not allowing Java or the Flash plug-in on iPhone OS had hopes dashed. Asked if Apple's stance in this regard would change with iPhone OS 4, Jobs responded with a simple "no." Jobs has cited an emphasis on the budding HTML5 specification as a substitute for the otherwise-ubiquitous Flash; Jobs also has been dismissive of Java on iPhone devices.
[ InfoWorld's Galen Gruman says that the iPad proves Apple is out to kill Flash. ]
Jobs touted HTML5 during a demonstration Thursday of a newfangled ad for the movie, "Toy Story 3," which was intended to show new interactive iAd advertising capabilities of iPhone OS 4. "All this stuff is done in HTML5, by the way," Jobs said.
Multitasking made the cut in version 4. "We've been using it a lot, and it really changes the way you use the iPhone," Jobs said. Apple says it has has configured its multitasking so that it can be implemented without significantly draining batter life. Jobs showed an iPhone being used to view a Web site and then switch back to mail.