Steve Jobs is on stage at Apple's Cupertino headquarters this morning to unveil a new operating system, version 4.0 for the iPhone. However, he's starting off with some figures on how the iPad is doing.
450,000 iPads have been sold as of today, and 3.5 million iPad applications have been downloaded.
Over 4 billion app's have now been downloaded from the Apple App Store so far; 185,000 apps are available. 3500 of them are iPad apps.
The iPhone, according to Jobs, has a 64 percent share of the mobile phone market, dwarfing Android, Blackberry and other devices. 50 million iPhones have been sold. If you include the iPod Touch, which does many of the same functions (without a phone), sales have reached 85 million. With that kind of dominance, Jobs has gathered software developers to campus today to give them access to a new developers kit so they can start working on new applications that take advantage of new features of OS 4.0, the new operating system.
Among the biggest new features will be multitasking, which allows users to run more than one application at the same time as desktops and laptops do. Jobs said "we're not the first to do this, but we'll be the best."
One example of how multitasking will be an enhancement for the iPhone is Pandora, which allows iPhone users to play music on their device. With multitasking, users will no longer have to shut down Pandora when they want to browse the net or perform other functions. Now they can stream music in the background as they do other work. Pandora is an Oakland based company with 50 million registered users, 13 million of whom are iPhone users.
When you're on Skype, you can still stay on a call when you want to run another application with OS 4.0. Before, you had to disconnect and lose the call.
Multitasking will also allow an iPhone user to run background music and a GPS-tracking navigation program simultaneously; the direction voice commands will be heard over the background music.
To save battery life, users will be able to switch from power-hungry constant GPS tracking to cell tower based tracking, which may not be quite as accurate but would be acceptable for some applications.
The new OS 4.0 will also allow iPhone users to better organize the growing number of app's on their phone. They can create folders, which will end multiple flicking as users try to locate an app on multiple pages.
New features will also be added to the iPhone mail program. Multiple email accounts can all be delivered to one unified mailbox. Or you can continue to separate emails by provider. Mail can also be organized by thread. Attachments will also be easier to open.
The new iBooks reader that was developed for the iPad will be added to the iPhone. This includes access to the new iBook store. Buy a book once, and you can read it anywhere on the iPhone or the iPad. Jobs is musing that "Winnie the Pooh" will be available free for iPhone, just as it is for iPad.
Apple is also addressing the hunger for more enterprise-level features for corporate users. 80 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are using iPhone. With OS 4.0, email and attachments can be encrypted, and mobile device management will be anabled.
Finally, with over 50,000 game applications available for iPhone, Apple is adding social gaming network capability with OS 4.0. A user can invite others to play a game with them.
Jobs is now unveiling a new model for advertising on mobile devices, called iAd. He's trying to bring emotion and interactivity to mobile advertising while keeping users in their application. Apple will sell and manage the new service. What Jobs is suggesting is that current web-based ads take users to an advertiser's website when a person clicks on a link. His new iAd keeps them in the app so the user doesn't stray.
The ads will be placed within the app, and Apple will let the developer keep 60 percent of the revenue. His hope is that this will allow developers to keep free app's free.
Jobs points out that a goal is to expose users to 10 ads per day. With the number of Apple iPhones approaching the 100 million mark, that would create the opportunity for 1 billion ad impressions per day. The average iPhone user, he says, spends 30 minutes a day using iPhone apps.
Multitasking will work robustly on the iPhone 3GS and 3rd generation iPod Touch. It will not work as well for the 3G and 2nd generation iPod Touch.
OS 4.0 will come to the iPad this fall.