iPhone Gets Online Gaming Network, Multitasking This Summer

Finally, after much bitching (by me) and at least one feature (by me), Apple is introducing a new gaming service to the iPhone that will provide a single online gaming experience for some of Apple's devices.


The Game Center will include a social gaming network, the ability to invite and track friends, matchmaking, leaderboards and, yes, even achievements.

Not much details here. I'd love to know if it's free, if other developers who now have their own thriving online networks are going to want to, or have to, adopt this new gaming network and when, beyond later this year, it's arriving.

Patience is not one of my virtues.

During the hour-long presentation at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters, Apple CEO Steve Jobs also showed off what he called the "tent poles" of the upcoming firmware update for his devices. He later said that all of these updates will work on the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3rd generation, and many will work on the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd generation.


Here's a run down:


Multitasking: This may not seem like a boon for games on the device, but the ability to play a game, quickly switch over to another App or the home screen and then flick back will be a great addition. Apple's multitasking works by tapping the home button. This brings up a multitask tray which you can use to switch between Apps. During the live demo the tray seemed to max out at four Apps.

Multitasking, it appears, will be limited to seven types of services: Audio, voice over internet protocol, location tracking, push notification, local notification, task completion and fast App switching. This is a fancy way of saying that the iPhone doesn't have true multitasking, but that their version of it will cut down on killing off your battery power or slowing your App to a chug.


Folders: The new firmware update will allow you to create folders on your device so you can, say, put all of your games in one folder and not spread them!out all over your home screen. With folders you can now have up!to 2,160 apps on your device, space permitting.


Other stuff you don't care about: Fancy new wallpaper ability, better email browsing, iBook support, annoying in-App advertising, yada, yada, yada. If you really care about the nitty, gritty, hop on check out all of the details from Gizmodo's live coverage of the event which just wrapped up.

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