What to expect from the iPhone OS 4.0 event

With Apple hours away from showing the world what they have in store for the next version of the iPhone operating system, we thought we'd take the time to reflect on what the rumor mill has led us to expect when Steve Jobs takes to the stage. This time around, things have been somewhat low key, as Apple unexpectedly sent our their announcement less than a week after the release of their tablet device, the iPad, showing that they have a busy schedule. Though things have been quiet, there are still some rumors floating about, some of which could be big news if they prove reliable. 

Multitasking:

It's almost certain that Apple has a full-on implementation of multitasking set for iPhone OS 4.0. Google's Android already offers the feature, so if Apple holds out another year (or perhaps longer) to bring the feature in, it could mean they fall behind in terms of both relevance and even market share. For those who are somewhat unsure, the iPhone OS currently allows applications to run in the background as long as they are developed by Apple; third party applications are simply closed entirely upon returning to the Home screen, making things difficult for those who have a lot to do on their phones simultaneously. Although a lot of people expect to see this, keep in mind that the very same feature was rumored for version 3.0 of the iPhone OS, and that obviously was a lie.

An advertising framework:

A little while back, Apple purchased an advertising company named Quattro Wireless. They took particular interest in this company as they do a lot of business with the iPhone, so upon the news that they had been bought out, a lot of people believed that Apple would introduce their own advertising implementation for developers. So far, nothing of the sort has been hinted at (at least without decent evidence), but with a brand new iPhone OS to be unveiled, the company may show off the plans they have for mobile advertising. Rumors as of late have led people to believe that the framework may be known as "iAd" or "AdKit", though these are pretty generic names that follow Apple's usual naming conventions. We're not sure how reliable this is, though with the amount of free applications that feature ads in the App Store, it could certainly become a possibility.

Printing support:

When the iPad was released, a disclaimer on Apple's page for the device stated that printing directly from the device was "not currently available." Obviously, this suggests that the feature is coming, and what better time than in a major release of the software? The difficult is, of course, the range of different printer drivers out there – according to AppleInsider, Apple may get around this issue by simply limiting the available printing options. This wouldn't be particularly surprising, but the only way to find out is to wait.

An overhauled user interface:

With other mobile operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone 7 bringing in interesting and useful new features for users, Apple's current UI looks dated. As shiny as it is, it is definitely lacking in feature, with no real way to obtain data from closed applications other than push notifications. Customers know this, and are definitely vocal about it. When the iPad was unveiled, Apple's choice to simply scale up the home screen currently found on the iPhone and iPod touch was curious, especially since they have a larger amount of screen real estate. With iPhone OS 4.0, a lot of people hope that Apple has revamped the current system, making things easier to navigate, with a way to quickly obtain data from applications when they aren't running. This would just make sense, and, no doubt, a lot of disappointment will be unleashed if the Cupertino company fails to deliver.

A lot of these hopeful improvements aren't relatively ground breaking (though expect to hear them described as such), but they will go a long way to quell complaints that Apple faces daily, as well as helping to sell more devices. Neowin will post the updates from the event as they arrive, so keep an eye out on our home page if you're interested in what Apple has to show.

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