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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53 Comments

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I don't want a WHOLE revamped UI, the home screen is fine and functional. All I would like UI wise is that it looks like the iPads. All light and the keyboard <3

I think the current iPhone UI looks just fine. Simplicity is bliss.

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.

Woah! "Lie", really? Who lied exactly? The people spreading the rumor? Neowin helped spread that rumor, were they lying?

tonyunreal said,
Someone forgot to list the "this update will cost $9.99 for you ipod touch suckers" feature.

I'd rather pay $9.99 then a montly contract to AT&T.....

"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..."

Now, are you lying? Or starting a rumor? When something says "not currently available" and you translate that to "Obviously, that suggests the feature it coming..." - that is called starting a rumor, or at the very least, perpetuating one. It doesn't "suggest" anything, other than what the text clearly says, that it is not currently available.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
"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..."

Now, are you lying? Or starting a rumor? When something says "not currently available" and you translate that to "Obviously, that suggests the feature it coming..." - that is called starting a rumor, or at the very least, perpetuating one. It doesn't "suggest" anything, other than what the text clearly says, that it is not currently available.

Not currently implies at this time but we are working on it, "not available" implies not coming anytime soon... that word currently makes a big difference

"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."

A lie? Care to rethink the wording of that sentence? First it was a rumor, then it was a lie?

"Apple's current UI looks dated"? seriously? How about OSX? It's basically the same thing from 2001 just some new colors, textures, and slight changes

neufuse said,
"Apple's current UI looks dated"? seriously? How about OSX? It's basically the same thing from 2001 just some new colors, textures, and slight changes
So does writing this in an article about the iPhone (and not OS X) negate that thing about OS X?

Northgrove said,
So does writing this in an article about the iPhone (and not OS X) negate that thing about OS X?

Since the iPhone is running a stripped down version of OSX its kind of the same thing... just a more touch frendly version....

Azies said,
Expect nobody but the latest iphone 3G and iPad to upgrade to this firmware, in typical Apple fashion.

i could have updated my iphone g1 no probs and i assume my 3g if i dont upgrade to new hw will be capable. From my experience the old winmob & nokia were the only phones not officially upgraded.

Azies said,
Expect nobody but the latest iphone 3G and iPad to upgrade to this firmware, in typical Apple fashion.
Why do people always bring up this point? It's plain incorrect. Up to today, people on the original iPhone, that one that was unveiled in January 2007 and released that June, were getting software updates with new features. Show me one other phone that has gotten a major feature like universal search added to it 2 years after it was initially released.

Original iPhone contracts are, if I recall correctly, set to expire this June, or already expired last June (can't remember how long the AT&T contracts were, 2 or 3 years). Obviously Apple and AT&T want to move on from the phone, and so do developers - it's less powerful, it's lived the longest life of any phone I've seen, and it's time to lay the original iPhone to rest.

It's worded poorly but yeah it's true. You can continue to listen to music while doing other things for instance unlike other media players.

Sawyer12 said,
"applications to run in the background as long as they are developed by Apple"

Are you sure about that?. . .


Yes. And this is likely because of CPU constraints where Apple want to make sure not some junk application starts eating battery life. By only allowing their own to run, they have a greater confidence about these things.

However, IMHO they should implement some throttling mechanism and open up this for 3rd party apps, and maybe they are going to do just that in 4.0.

Smigit said,
Haha who knows. How can a rumor be a lie? It's just an incorrect guess.

A guess is not a rumour, a rumour is just of unknown origin, at some point someone stated it as fact.

Apple are stupidly good at unveiling things just as they release a new product.

"Buy this now with old software. Wait three days, and we'll release a new version of it, which of course, you will have to purchase before you can use it!"

James Brooks said,
Apple are stupidly good at unveiling things just as they release a new product.

"Buy this now with old software. Wait three days, and we'll release a new version of it, which of course, you will have to purchase before you can use it!"

I seriously doubt the iPhone 4.0 is going to cost anything for current iPad and iPhone users.

crazyfish said,

I seriously doubt the iPhone 4.0 is going to cost anything for current iPad and iPhone users.

It wont surprise me...

James Brooks said,

It wont surprise me...

Well then you are ignorant. Apple's policy is to give the updates for free to iPhone users. Their upgrade policy remains to be seen for the iPad (I'm guessing that it will be free for 3G+WiFi models, but not for WFi-only models)i. They do charge for updates for the iPod touch though.

roadwarrior said,
Well then you are ignorant. Apple's policy is to give the updates for free to iPhone users. Their upgrade policy remains to be seen for the iPad (I'm guessing that it will be free for 3G+WiFi models, but not for WFi-only models)i. They do charge for updates for the iPod touch though.

AFAIK, Apple has no official policy regarding updates, has charged for them in the past in some situations, and seems to be charging for them more frequently lately. If they didn't offer a free update to 4.0 for iPad users (not necessarily iPhone 3GS users), you can be sure there would be a class action lawsuit. iPad shouldn't even have been released without 4.0 being included in the first place.

me too, not for the pirated apps but all the good stuff i got from the cydia store that apple refuse to offer on their app store.
such as IBlacklist.

Do we really need it though? Unlimited texts, email and msn/aim/yahoo/facebook messenger. Don't need another way to communicate.

Most people that I know of that own BlackBerries don't even use BlackBerry Messenger. It is, quite simply, junk compared to any of the other IM apps available, and it is limited to BlackBerry phones. What is the point?

roadwarrior said,
It is, quite simply, junk compared to any of the other IM apps available, and it is limited to BlackBerry phones.

I wouldn't go as far as saying its junk but it is simple and anyone that has a BlackBerry uses it anyone saying they don't use it is clearly in denial.

Edited by SH3K0, Apr 8 2010, 12:07pm :

SH3K0 said,

and anyone that has a BlackBerry uses it anyone saying they don't use it is clearly in denial.

Over half of the people I know with smartphones have BlackBerries, and NONE of them use it. It simply doesn't have the same level of features of other IM clients. Maybe people using BlackBerries for business use it, but I really doubt very many people use it for personal use.

roadwarrior said,

Over half of the people I know with smartphones have BlackBerries, and NONE of them use it. It simply doesn't have the same level of features of other IM clients. Maybe people using BlackBerries for business use it, but I really doubt very many people use it for personal use.
A LOT of people use Blackberries for personal use.

roadwarrior said,
Over half of the people I know with smartphones have BlackBerries, and NONE of them use it. It simply doesn't have the same level of features of other IM clients. Maybe people using BlackBerries for business use it, but I really doubt very many people use it for personal use.

... and what features would those be? There is text and smiley faces, and BlackBerry IM was laid out very well for both while the IM apps were less than appealing. We're not talking about PC IM Clients here...

The problem with BBIM is that not everybody has BB's, so you had to have an IM app to keep up with everyone else anyway.

lflashl said,
so im about to get me a 3Gs iPhone should i be holding off.

yes.. especially since they might release a newer version in the coming months.

lflashl said,
so im about to get me a 3Gs iPhone should i be holding off.

No. The iPhone OS 4.0 is going to be an update for the current iPhone 3GS.
Whilst it's possible that Apple will also announce new hardware today, it's quite unlikely and you'll still be waiting several months till you'll be able to get hold of the iPhone "4G" (not to be confused with the iPhone 3GS working on 4G networks State side).
I'd buy now, get the software update when it comes, and not wait around 6 months till some slightly updated hardware is available. The improvements announced today will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS you can buy today.

lflashl said,
so im about to get me a 3Gs iPhone should i be holding off.

I would wait, there is no telling what the h/w update will be like. Could offer 64GB, improved camera etc. For the sake of a few months i would.

mattm591 said,

No. The iPhone OS 4.0 is going to be an update for the current iPhone 3GS.
Whilst it's possible that Apple will also announce new hardware today, it's quite unlikely and you'll still be waiting several months till you'll be able to get hold of the iPhone "4G" (not to be confused with the iPhone 3GS working on 4G networks State side).
I'd buy now, get the software update when it comes, and not wait around 6 months till some slightly updated hardware is available. The improvements announced today will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS you can buy today.

Terrible advice.
He should wait til June for the next version of the hardware. Its only two months, versus buying a phone now and being ****ed when the new version comes out and it has XYZ that the 3GS doesn't.

Also, the 3GS does not work on 4G networks. At all.

Edited by episode, Apr 8 2010, 12:48pm :

mattm591 said,

No. The iPhone OS 4.0 is going to be an update for the current iPhone 3GS.
Whilst it's possible that Apple will also announce new hardware today, it's quite unlikely and you'll still be waiting several months till you'll be able to get hold of the iPhone "4G" (not to be confused with the iPhone 3GS working on 4G networks State side).
I'd buy now, get the software update when it comes, and not wait around 6 months till some slightly updated hardware is available. The improvements announced today will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS you can buy today.

Wat?
Don't listen to this guy.^^
Id wait til June.

episode said,
Terrible advice.
He should wait til June for the next version of the hardware. Its only two months, versus buying a phone now and being ****ed when the new version comes out and it has XYZ that the 3GS doesn't.

Also, the 3GS does not work on 4G networks. At all.

+1... although truly the terrible advice is recommending the iPhone in the first place. Get an Android phone (can you say HTC Evo 4G?) or wait until WinMo 7 comes out.