Apple’s big iPhone OS 4.0 announcement event today reveals some important updates relating to mobile apps: not only will there finally be 3rd-party app multi-tasking but also local notification and background location features. Both of these new features will benefit improved used of mobile apps such as social networking and location sharing.
As per live reporting from Gdgt.com and other sites, here are some of the relevant new ‘location’ features, as announced today during Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 event:
- Tracking of GPS location in the background, even if you’ve switch from a navigation app to something else. Since this is a battery-draining use, you wanted your device to be externally-powered, such as with a car charger.
- Indicator in the status bar when one or more apps are tracking your location on iPhone and iPad devices.
- Fine-grained control on a per app basis, to allow/ disallow location-tracking.
- Checkmark indicator showing pending “current location” queries by apps, up to 24 hours previous.
- Local notifications added to the pre-existing push notifications features.
The full value of these features might not be immediately realized, but they’ll probably quickly make their way into upcoming editions of iPhone apps. (While iPads have much longer battery life, they might be a little awkward to carry around while walking. What’s more, Steve Jobs indicated that iPad will not have OS 4 until this fall, so don’t expect iPad apps with these ‘location’ features soon. iPhone and iPod Touch devices will have the SDK available this summer, though a preview is available now.)
The ability I’m most excited about is during winery or other local tours with my wife. I’ll be able to use Google Maps, listen to Pandora, take pictures, and check-in on Foursquare simultaneously, in the car or while walking. Road trip, Apple-style, anyone?