Today, Apple has begun emailing iPhone app developers to let them know they’re now accepting iOS 4-compatible apps in the App Store. Just as it does each time before a new OS launches (such as earlier this year with the iPad OS, which was iPhone OS 3.2 — yes, it’s a little confusing), Apple wants to make sure it has apps to show off when the new OS hits on June 21 (three days before the iPhone 4 launch).
And this launch is important because it brings the ability for third-party applications to run in the background for the first time. Earlier today, Pocket-lint noted that “massive delays” were expected for multitasking apps. But there were two major problems with this report. First, it seemed to suggest that the iPhone 4 was the key to multitasking. In fact, it is iOS 4 that brings the ability to multitask, and it brings it to the iPhone 3GS and latest generation iPod touch as well. More importantly, they noted that “in our initial testing, only Apple apps, like the Clock, Mail and Safari, can multitask. That’s it!” Um, that’s because there are no third-party apps available yet that have this built in. That’s exactly why Apple is sending out emails that they’re going to start accepting them now.
Here’s my favorite line from the Pocket-lint story, “When we spoke to a number of developers, that aren’t keen to be named in this article for fear of backlash from Apple, they all confirmed to Pocket-lint that, for any app to take advantage of the new multitasking features, it will have to be updated.” Uh, yes. That’s exactly what Apple has been saying all along. I’m not sure what backlash a developer would face for pointing that out.
FUD aside, developers can begin submitting these iOS 4-compatible apps now. And from what I’ve heard from developers, it’s not that hard to do. In fact, a number of them got apps up and running in time to work on the demo units Apple made available after the WWDC keynote address on Monday. For example, here’s Pandora running in the background. Foursquare was working as well, as were other apps.
But it’s not all good news for developers. When Apple makes a call for these new, specific applications, they usually shove other ones aside to make sure the can approve these special ones in time for a launch. We saw this with the iPad launch. Based on what we’re hearing from some developers now, it appears that regular (non-iOS 4) apps are seeing approval wait times that are longer than normal already.