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Apple Unveiling iPhone OS 4 On 8 April

Gordon Kelly

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Apple Unveiling iPhone OS 4 On 8 April

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.

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

GoldenGuy

April 6, 2010, 9:35 am

Dynamic weather icon - never thought of that - that'd be a nice addition. I'm always checking that. (BTW, I unintentionally wrote 'touch' before instead of addition and instantly hated myself for it.)

savant

April 6, 2010, 1:06 pm

and dynamic clock icon.

iel

April 6, 2010, 1:22 pm

Forget dynamic icons, we need multitasking! I've had an iPhone since the original but now it's getting tiresome. No multitasking, no upgrade, no iPad, Android and netbook (hackintosh possibly?) here I come. Sorry Apple, but enough is enough.

Jmac

April 6, 2010, 5:39 pm

Dynamic weather and analogue clock icons would be great - I've thought that was an omission since I got my iPhone in November. Full multitasking on a phone is never something for which I've understood the need (I only want to do one thing at a time on a 3" screen, and I'm happy to sacrifice the ability to keep apps alive in the background for the sake of ensuring the device is responsive, stable, and doesn't run out of resources), but it would be great to have some kind of limited ability for apps to register trigger events and/or run limited scheduled tasks. For example, I thought of a cool app the other day that isn't workable with the current limitations - it is an iPod geotagging app, which records where you were when you played a track and posts it (anonymously if desired) online. It wouldn't be particularly useful from a practical perspective (like 99.99% of the apps in the App Store!!) but over time with a decent installed base you'd build up a fairly cool aggregated map of who played what and where.





Reordering browser tabs, grouped apps, Flash, battery percentage indicator, multiple Exchange support - meh. All window dressing.





I'm all about allowing push notifications over 256 bytes and/or storing multiple push notifications per app (currently a newer push message to a given app erases any older ones that the app hasn't picked up yet (because it hasn't been launched since the older message arrived)), separating the on-off switches for wi-fi and 3g (and giving the option to put them on the home screen), smarter caching of web pages, and synchronising browser history with Safari. I can see a use for private browsing on there as well...





I like the idea of home screens up and down - you could have 5 home screens in a cross shape with the centre being the default. Then you have access to 84 apps (5 screens, 16 per screen + 4 sticky ones) within one swipe.

Gordon394

April 6, 2010, 5:56 pm

@John - agree with almost all of that. Disagree with reordering browser tabs, grouped apps, Flash, battery percentage indicator, multiple Exchange support as 'window dressing'.





All perform key roles in organisation and added functionality. Notably with the likes of Gmail using Exchange you can't have personal and work email on the same phone - crazy. I'm pretty sure Flash would prove fundamentally useful too and while I'm glad you like the homescreen idea half my point is we shouldn't need 5 screens - one 'games folder' on the homescreen, for example, could lead to 16 titles immediately. <br />





Completely agree with some limited multi-tasking. Apps like you mention, plus Spotify and HD Tune really are curtailed without some limited form of background operation

JellyUK

April 6, 2010, 6:30 pm

While i agree with many of these criticisms, most of them can be achieved by jailbreaking your device.





The ability to group apps into folders (eg games, music, travel, etc) - Done with categories


Homescreens above and below, not just side-by-side - This would be cool


A dynamic weather icon to match that of the calendar - Done with WeatherIcon


Homescreen access to the on/off settings for WiFi, 3G and data roaming - Done with SBSettings


Reordering browser tabs - Meh, not that important IMO


Caching webpages so back/forward navigation doesn't result in reloading the entire page - Yes please


Safari integration with email, Maps integration with Safari (opening one doesn't exit the other) - - Yes please


Multiple Exchange account support - YES PLEASE


Enabling the battery charge percentage indicator on models other than the 3GS - Can be achieved by jailbreaking very very easily





Multitasking is easy with Backgrounder and to control it i personally use Cycler. Home screen information is easy with LockInfo.





However much i can explain away apple's shortcomings using JB apps, at the end of the day, they should be native. And if they are native, they will function better. Having said that, there are some JB tweaks/apps that i simply could not live without. At the end of the day, if i couldn't JB my iphone, i would sell it and get an android phone.

Gordon394

April 6, 2010, 6:58 pm

@JellyUK - I know these things can be done with jailbreaking (including putting 3D, WiFi and data roaming settings on the home page), but they should be native. You are spot on.

Jmac

April 6, 2010, 7:02 pm

@Gordon - cheers for the response. Point taken re Exchange. I have a BlackBerry for work and use the iPhone just for Gmail, so not an issue for me, but I see your point. Flash and grouped apps are of no interest to me, but I can see why some might want them. Thought of one feature they really should have added ages ago - wireless sync. Not necessarily over the air (though that would be nice), but Bluetooth and/or Wifi would be good. A "wireless sync" button on the home screen would be nice, but even better would be the option to have it sync automatically when it comes into wireless contact with the computer to which it is synced. I'm not bothered about wireless sync of music and movies, but updating play counts etc. would be nice. Also contacts, calendars etc., but I guess that would put a torpedo through MobileMe...

KMJB

April 6, 2010, 7:02 pm

With the arrival of the iPad it is difficult to imagine any real changes in the iPhone OS. One of the iPads main selling points was a user experience that millions were already familiar with. Having commonality between the iPad and iPhone also makes app developers life a whole load simpler. I expect some of the functionality on the iPad to make it's way to the iPhone, limited multitasking (checking mail, maybe texts), no doubt access to iBooks and perhaps a bit more spit and polish.

Retset

April 6, 2010, 7:28 pm

I also have jailbroken my 3GS (still on firmware 3.01). I did it purely for Backgrounder and SBSettings which answer the points about multitasking and easy control of WiFi etc. I also added an app that gave 5 rows per screen and helped me cut down on the number of screens. I multi task so that the PGPSWorld speed cam warnings can run next to Google Maps for the traffic display - toggling between them wasted loads of time and was dangerous.





If v4.0 answered these few issues then I would happily reverse my JB and upgrade (if allowed to on a 3GS ..... )

Niraj Goyal

April 7, 2010, 1:35 am

I actually nearly returned my iPhone before discovering the jailbreak which allows it to become an almoy perfect device (except flash). For those wanting to use 2 exchange accounts there is a cydia app that allows that. I now use a NHS.net and google account without any problems. Battery life a little worse but definitely worth it. It's called AddExchange if interested.

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