Yes, iOS 4 runs all the same apps you know and love from previous versions of the iPhone operating system. But with a heavy-duty overhaul that cuts the chains on many previously restrained functions and new tools in developers’ laps now available, apps written specifically for iOS 4 can do more than ever before. Check out some of our favorite app updates that showcase everything iOS 4 has to offer. Although multitasking steals the spotlight for most of them, many leverage the newfound ability to pull some interesting tricks.
If any app needs multitasking like Steve Jobs needs a belt, it’s Pandora. While free, on-demand streaming radio stations catered precisely to your tastes has made Pandora one of the most popular iPhone apps out there, leaving a rousing rendition of Du Hast to check for an urgent e-mail from your boss has always been a bit of a bummer. No more. Even better, you can still control it from outside the app with quick controls.
The lack of multitasking on the first release of this turn-by-turn GPS navigator was one of many arguments leading us to dismiss the iPhone as a standalone GPS killer. Well, there it goes. The latest version of Navigon’s iPhone app now pipes in voice navigation in the background, even if operations in the foreground cover up the map view. Now you too can discover the dangers of driving in an unfamiliar city while taking directions from a computer while playing Solitaire.
The ultimate cloud-based notepad, scrapbook and journal has always done a fantastic job funneling all your most vital information into one place, but without unless you make a habit of opening it over and over, it usually needs to play catch-up when you do. Multitasking allows Evernote to stay synchronized even when you’re not paying attention, so it’s at the ready when you need it. It also runs in the background for tasks like recording audio notes while you fish around on Safari in the middle of a lecture.
Zagat to Go$9.99
Isn’t it nice when apps get along with one another? Zagat to Go go can now work with your built-in iPhone calendar. Planning a date for next week? Dig around on Zagat to find your destination, then pin it in your calendar – with all the vitals pulled over automatically – so you don’t forget.
The “magic pocket” that acts as a repository for all your stuff across all platforms works great, but it also hogs the foreground when you need to push big files back and forth across it – like all 1,205 vacation photos from your iPhone. Now it can quietly shove those bits and bytes in the background, choking up your 3G connection while you enjoy some Angry Birds in the foreground.
New York TimesFree
The newspaper that lives in your phone is now one step closer to the newspaper that’s… well, printed on paper. The latest version cuts down the delay you normally experience between opening the app and reading an article with fast switching, which preserves your spot perfectly and prevents the phone from having to totally reload the app after switching to another app.