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iPhone 4.0 to include multitasking, overhauled interface?

updated 12:35 pm EST, Tue January 19, 2010

More distance drawn between iPhone, tablet

Some of the first details of the iPhone 4.0 firmware have emerged, a report claims. An Apple source informs that the code will make several major changes, for instance expanding multi-touch gestures to be used across the OS, and not just in apps like Maps or Photos. There should also be "a few new ways" to run apps in the background, which is taken to mean multitasking.

Multitasking has been a long-requested iPhone feature, as the technology is standard on smartphones like the Palm Pre, and any number of devices based on Android or Windows Mobile. Apple currently resorts to push notification for background tasks in order to keep up the speed of iPhone and iPod apps.

iPhone 4.0 is also expected to bring many interface and graphical changes, and new sync functions for the Calendar and Contacts apps. Differences are claimed to be so significant, in fact, that it will make iPhones "more like full-fledged computers" than any phone so far released.

Unusually the source says that the firmware will be available only for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, which could cast doubt on the notion that it will be used for an impending tablet. The iPod touch is unmentioned however, which may suggest that the source is merely being strict in defining software versions. Modified iPhone firmware has always been used on the Touch.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What would be nice is to tell the OS what apps to let multitask vs. not multitask. Currently, a few Apple applications are allowed to multitask (I guess you don't have to practice what you preach), and I know for a fact that some web sites will just kill the battery power on an iPod/iPhone, even with the phone locked.

    Of course, Apple doesn't tell anyone that they do this, and the company line is "no apps in the background" so you just have to hunt around and figure it out.

  1. Feynman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A better way to organize apps would be good too. I have close to 100 apps and it's a pain to have to swipe the screen to get to the app I am looking for, plus it just looks messy (and Spotlight is not the right solution).

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Multitasking is much needed

    They HAVE to implement that. I'm sure many users don't understand why the iPod can play in the background but Pandora can't.

    Oh, and that picture is fake. The next build number will probably be 7AXX.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If they do,

    then there should be an "activity monitor" added so you can kill any apps that you don't actually want running.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    iPhone has multi-tasking, just not for third party apps due to battery and security concerns.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Might need OS support

    I wonder if Apple was working on a way to limit resource use of background processes first before they allow background apps.

    And really, we don't need background apps; we just need background daemons. You don't need your full UI loaded just to run a countdown timer, network data fetcher, etc.

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My guess would be that there will be a pop up asking you if you'd like to let the App run in the background somehow phrased so that no is the more likely option for those not paying attention. They'll probably also limit which apps are able to. IE if some company comes out with an IM app, it's still going to need to use push instead of simply running in the background. Something like Pandora or something like that would be allowed to keep a process running in the background.

    For Beejive it would be nice if some of the app could stay running in the background especially since it takes a second to load.

    That said I imagine the next version of the iPhone will probably had a good deal more RAM than the previous versions have had.

    I think they'll probably also introduce some sort of folder like paradigm. For example there's a lot of apps that I want to have only one tap to get to, my IM client, txting, phone, photos, but there's a lot of games that I'd rather just have a folder labeled games that would bring me to them. Though I imagine they might not like the idea of folders. I could also see perhaps something like the pull out app menu in Android, if they had like three tabs on the side that you could slide out that'd be pretty slick as well.

    My guess is they might even release some sort of theming options for the iPhone... the ability to change around icons would be nice, though I don't really expect that.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tech-heads are smarter than non-tech users...

    Apple is building products that the average consumer can make use of without running into unnecessary problems. I'm not sure about non-tech users being aware enough to kill apps they're not using. Apple is trying to make things as easy as possible for people that don't understand processes and stuff otherwise those uninformed people will just end up killing their batteries as they launch app after app. Apple should impose some sort of limit to how many apps can be open before some apps get shut down. Say three or so.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I find it funny that all these multi-tasking phone ads are for phones on CDMA/EVDO, which can't multi-task, and the iPhone, which can multi-task is labeled as a device that can't.

    - A

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