Apple has lifted the lid on its next generation of operating software for the iPhone and iPod Touch, bringing with it a brand new game-centric network dubbed Game Centre.
The new service will allow developers to implement leaderboards, multiplayer matchmaking and player profiles in their titles – functionality currently offered by a range of similar and competing networks provided by third parties.
What this means for the likes of Open Feint, Plus+ and Scoreloop remains to be seen, but the standardisation offered by Apple’s platform will surely prove such an appealing prospect that it’s hard to see rivals surviving.
Many may instead turn their attentions to other mobile platforms and smartphones.
Also announced was the long-awaited implementation of multi-tasking for the device, though there’s bad news for owners of the original iPhone or iPhone 3G – multi-tasking will only work on the iPhone 3GS and very latest iPod Touch models.
On top of this there was the announcement of iAd, Apple’s own mobile advertising service that sees ads delivered as mini, interactive apps. They will support HTML5 and not, unsurprisingly, Flash – with Steve Jobs going as far as to rule out the possibility of Flash inclusion in the still mysterious next generation iPhone hardware.
Other inclusions in OS 4 is the introduction of Apple’s iBook store on iPhone and iPod Touch, with iPad owners able to transfer books from machine to machine, picking up from the last page they read each time.
New folder options will also allow users to arrange apps by type, ending the need to swipe through multiple screens.