Dissecting iPhone 4.0's Sources of 'Me-Too' Inspiration

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)
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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its iPhone 4.0 OS today and the big news is that it now multitasks. Why didn’t I jump out of my chair? Because other mobile operating systems can do that. In fact, many of the iPhone 4.0 buzz revolves around technologies I vaguely recall elsewhere.

Let’s recap the highlights:

Multitasking: Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the company wasn’t into the multitasking bandwagon first, but will be the best. In any case, Google Android, RIM’s BlackBerry, Nokia’s Symbian and Palm’s WebOS also do the multitasking shuffle.

Customized wallpaper. Sam Diaz can explain this one from his live blog.

A quick demo of how to customize wallpaper for the home screen, the lock screen or both. It’s pretty easy and also pretty widespread on other devices - but Jobs has a way of making it look like innovative breakthrough technology from Apple.

A unified inbox. The iPhone now allows for more than one Exchange account. You can also organize email by thread. And attachments can be opened with apps. Inspiration here: RIM’s Blackberry and Android.

Gallery: Apple adds multitasking to iPhone 4.0

iBooks and e-book reader for iPhone OS. Your iPad books will now come to the iPhone and iPod touch. There will be wireless syncing to hold your place. Sound familiar? See Kindle Apps.

Better data protection and enhanced encryption. VPN support. Inspiration: BlackBerry among others.

Social gaming experiences. You can invite friends to play games with you. Inspiration: Xbox Live. Nintendo DSi.

Add it up and Apple’s latest iPhone 4.0 push has a lot of me-too features involved. If you swapped Steves (Jobs for Ballmer) at this keynote, the guy from the Redmond would get crushed with these features. The Steve from Cupertino gets applause. The best item from Apple here is the iAds app advertising by far. That’s original thinking. As for the rest of the event, Jobs should have linked out to the mobile platforms that had these features first.

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