You won't get the new iPhone 4 until Thursday, but today you can download Apple's new iOS 4 operating system for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, and second- and third-generation iPod Touch models, as well as for the iPad — if you can get through, and if the system doesn't clog up.
The new operating system will have features like multitasking, so, for example, you can check e-mail while playing music; "smart" folders for organizing Apple's apps, or programs, by topic; unified e-mail so you can see all your e-mails in one list (vs. switching between e-mail accounts); and Apple's recent iBooks program, first shared on the iPad, which will let you sync your books and publications between Apple devices. You will also be able to buy books through iBooks for the iPhone or iPod Touch.
Those with the first-generation iPhone, which came out in 2007, and the first generation of the iPod Touch will not be able to use iOS 4 because hardware on those devices won't support the new operating system, Apple said.
i OS4 is free, and can be downloaded via iTunes 9.2 or later. If you're not sure which iPod Touch model you have, Apple says iOS 4 will work with late 2009 models that have 32 or 64 gigabytes.
The iPhone 4, which goes on sale Thursday, will come with iOS 4k, which was unveiled June 7 by Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he announced the new iPhone. The "i" in the revamped name of the operating system signifies the unification of the OS for Apple's mobile devices.