Inside the new iPhone operating system

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today gave a sneak peek under the hood of a new operating system for the iPhone and iPad. It won't work as outlined on older iPhones; only the 3GS and iPod Touch models will benefit fully from the upgrade.

Sorry, folks, there is still no support for Adobe Flash or Java on the mobile devices. There also wasn’t any talk of the "tethering" feature Jobs promised some months ago. Tethering lets users connect computers to the Internet using the connection from their mobile phones. Many other smartphones have this feature.

The iPhone 4.0 operating system won't be ready for phones until this summer and iPad users will need to wait until fall for their upgrades. I followed a live blog of the OS 4.0 preview event by John Lowensohn of Cnet News this morning in which Jobs spoke from Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

You can see Lowensohn's blog at:

Here are some features of the new operating system outlined today by Jobs.

— Multitasking: Jobs demonstrated this by running 12 apps at once. He didn't mention a limit, but a dozen at once is a lot. Just as when Jobs delivered the copy-and-paste upgrade last year, he said about multitasking: Apple is "not the first, but the best."

— Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Skype will work on the iPhone! Game players will like this, as they will be able to play a multiplayer games and talk with their cohorts.

— Background location. This is important for GPS services, as users will be able to run location-based services, such as mapping, while also running other apps.

— Push notifications. Users will be able to see in the menu bar whether they have mail or text messages waiting for them.

— Local notifications. This feature will let third-party apps push a notification without going through the Apple servers.

— Task completion. This feature will alert users when a background app has finished a job, such as uploading photos to a sharing site.

— Folders. Users will be able to organize apps by category. This should reduce the number of screens you need to wade through to get to all of your apps.

— Unified e-mail inbox. The new mail system also includes multiple Exchange accounts, fast inbox switching, threaded messages and the ability to open attachments with apps.

— IBooks coming to the iPhone. Just as with the Amazon Kindle, readers can enjoy books already available on their iPads on their iPhones and iPod Touches. The program will sync to remember where you stopped reading no matter which device you use next.

— Better support for enterprise users. This is for businesses using the iPhone. There will be better data protection, including encryption of e-mail, attachments and personal identification number codes.

— Game center. A social network for gaming. This will include matchmaking, friend invites, leader boards and achievements.

— The iAd mobile advertising platform. At last there’s a way for developers to make money beyond charging for their apps and services. Jobs said people spend an average of 30 minutes daily with apps on their devices; that's enough time to serve 10 ads per device per day. Apple is hoping to deliver 1 billion ads by year’s end.