Bizarrely timed and impressively unleaked, iPhone OS 4.0 is coming - at least as an announcement - this Friday. So what's it going to change, really? Here's what we think. And because it's about eight times as fun, what we hope.
These are the changes that seem most likely or that've been rumoured previously. Since we don't know anything for sure at this point, these are conservative.
• Multitasking: This could be anything from strictly managed multitasking for simple apps, to faux multitasking - process freezing that lets apps seem as though they've never been closed. This could almost be files under "hopes", though, since the iPad doesn't allow third-party multitasking as of now, and it's not inconceivable that Apple could stick to their guns on this one. Thing is, if they don't have this, what do they have?
• New UI elements: Don't expect an entirely new interface paradigm, since with the iPad, Apple's made it clear that they're happy with the basic iPhone OS concept. But except some new UI elements, probably inline with the iPad's.
• iPad adaptation: The iPad and iPhone don't interact directly right now, and in some ways (direct USB connection, for example) they never will. But the awkward way in which apps are shared between the two platforms now will probably have to be fleshed out a little.
• File syncing: The iPad does it, sort of, and there's no reason the iPhone shouldn't.
• Better notifications: Everyone, from Google to Palm to Microsoft (in Windows Phone 7) has a better notifications system than the iPhone. There's just too much going on your average iPhone now to rely on pop-up notifications, especially if they only effectively display one message, aren't stored anywhere and interfere with what you're doing.
• An active homescreen: Something besides an app grip would be nice. Even a slightly more informative lockscreen would work.
• iTunes streaming: Remote media streaming on the iPhone is great, but it's functionality you have to introduce with paid apps. A lot of people already have the media piled into iTunes, so native streaming - preferably over 3G - would be great.
• iPad tethering: It'd undermine AT&T and Apple's upcoming 3G model, but seriously, so many iPad owners already pay AT&T for "unlimited" data each month. Of we're not going to get full-on tethering, iPad tethering would be a step.
Your Predictions and Hopes
• MaxPoint wants to ORGANISE:
I'd like to see some sort of way to have your apps in some sort of file folder system so you don't have page upon page of icons. that was the first thing i thought when i got my first iphone.
Dave Zatz agrees, succinctly: "Folders".
• Modestmouse goes broad:
It may not to be too extreme to expect or hope that the reason Apple went with iPhone 3.2 on the iPad was because 4.0 wasn't ready yet. It's quite possible we could see a more powerful and well rounded OS replace the iPads current one when 4.0 comes out.
• Mark 2000 doesn't ask for much:
I want some very simple things. A pulser next to each email address as it's checked. Right now you have one indicator at the top for all. I have 5 addresses.
Multitasking would be nice, but I don't really want it for anything but audio apps. It would be better to let audio streamers tap into the ipod app so it could play after the app is closed and allow a popup play/pause/next controller. Other than that color me satisfied.
• jjpriest25 goes retro:
I seriously, whole-heartedly believe there will be an FM Radio app. I really, really do.
• MercuryShadow pleads for podcasts:
I, for one, hope that they start allowing podcast subscriptions to live on the iPhone. The idea that, in this day and age, one has to plug their phone into a computer to update their podcasts, is downright archaic. I know I can just go download them manually, but I should not have to.