Apple iPhone OS 4.0: What's New

Apple iPhone OS 4.0 vs. the Competition: How Does it Compare?

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While Android and WebOS have made some significant steps toward gaming in the last year by adding support for 3D graphics, the iPhone is still king.

And with the new Game Center coming later this year to iPhone 4, the iPhone will become the ultimate social gaming mobile platform. With Game Center, you can easily challenge your friends to games, find and play against players with a similar abilities, and display your achievements to your network.

One platform to keep an eye on, however, is Windows Phone 7, which will ship with a mobile version of XBox Live support. Like the iPhone Game Center, you'll be able to connect with other gamers, keep tabs on their achievements, and communicate with them in game play. Users will also be able to purchase games and apps easily from the Windows Marketplace as well.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation and Maps

When Apple acquired mapping company Placebase last summer, rumors swirled that the company was developing its own maps and navigation application for the iPhone.

Right now, you have to pay big bucks for a turn-by-turn GPS third-party application (the Tom Tom app is a cool $100).

Tom Tom GPS
While the TomTom app is quite good (as are other navigation apps in the App Store), it just doesn't make sense that Apple wouldn't develop its own Maps application.

Google Navigation is free and available to all Android phones, as is Ovi Maps for Nokia Symbian phones. And all Windows Phone 7 devices will come with Bing Maps.

Perhaps there's an iPhone Maps app coming down the pipeline later this year--or perhaps it is one of those 100 new features in iPhone OS 4 that Jobs didn't highlight--but as of right now, you'll have to rely on Google Maps or a third-party app.

Social Networking and Flash Support

Motorola Cliq phone with Motoblur
Another feature Apple seemed to turn a blind eye at is an aggregated social networking app. This is a hot feature across the phone OSs, particularly on the various flavors of Android like Motorola MotoBlur and HTC Sense.

These apps essentially list all activity on your various social networks in a seamless, integrated view. I have mixed feelings about these apps; I find them a bit annoying. Heavy social networkers, on the other hand, probably find them pretty useful though. But unless there's a third-party solution, there's no social networking aggregator on iPhone 4.0.

Naturally, the F word came up during the Q&A after the event--Flash, that is. Flash Player 10 is coming to all of the other mobile platforms. When asked if we could expect Flash or Java support on the iPhone, Jobs gave a one-word answer: "No."

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