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Apple Unveiling iPhone OS 4 On 8 April

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Now that the furore surrounding the iPad launch has begun to cool down (it officially sold 300 000 units on day one and has already been jailbroken), the focus has sharply switched back to what some jovially refer to as the 'second gen iPad': the iPhone.

Catching everyone off guard, Apple has sent out a teaser (it rarely does any other kind) to journalists proclaiming "Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS" and dated it for 8 April 10AM PT (6PM GMT).

Naturally enough the rumour mill has already hit breakneck speeds with Engadget claiming there will be three distinct flavours of new software (4.0, 4.1 and 4.0.1). Yes, this could hint at multiple new iPhone models - though more likely it refers to iPhone OS 4.0 on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
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Will we finally get multi-tasking? It's tough to call since you'd think Apple would have unveiled that with the more powerful iPad if it was on the horizon. Let's stay positive though. Furthermore, while we're announcing our wishes we'll list a few simple, common sense additions that should have been long sorted out by now:

  • The ability to group apps into folders (eg games, music, travel, etc)
  • Homescreens above and below, not just side-by-side
  • A dynamic weather icon to match that of the calendar
  • Homescreen access to the on/off settings for WiFi, 3G and data roaming
  • Reordering browser tabs
  • Caching webpages so back/forward navigation doesn't result in reloading the entire page
  • Safari integration with email, Maps integration with Safari (opening one doesn't exit the other)
  • Multiple Exchange account support
  • Enabling the battery charge percentage indicator on models other than the 3GS
Surely not too hard? As for the likes of Flash support (via Flash 10.1) and LTE I'd suggest they are pipe dreams for now given the state of the relationship between Apple and Adobe in the former and the horrendous battery drain still evident in the latter.

That said, iPhone OS has stood relatively still for the last six months while Android in particular has come on leaps and bounds so - for possibly the first time - Apple really does need to pull something special out of the bag to reassert itself.

We'll know by Thursday. Until then, fingers crossed...

Update: To pre-empt questions: I suspect whatever is unveiled on Thursday will not be available until June and likely tied to the release of a fourth generation iPhone. Apple has form in doing this, having used that approach with iPhone OS 3.0 (also known as the firmware that brought cut and paste!).

Link:
iPhone UK Homepage

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