Home Beyond Multitasking: Our Wishlist for iPhone 4.0

Beyond Multitasking: Our Wishlist for iPhone 4.0

Just a few days after the launch of the iPad, Apple plans to reveal more details about the next version of the iPhone operating system tomorrow. As with any Apple product, rumors about the new iPhone OS, which runs on the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad, are already floating around the Internet, but the reality is that nobody outside of Apple really knows what the company plans to unveil tomorrow.

Here are a few features we would like to see in the new version of the iPhone OS.


The iPad, which is far more powerful than the iPhone, still runs what is basically a modified version of the current iPhone OS. Currently, Apple still doesn’t allow developers to access the OS’s multitasking features and prevents them from running their programs in the background. We expect to see some support for multitasking in the 4.0 release, but it isn’t clear what form this will take.

The latest rumors point towards an Expose-like interface for switching between apps.

Even if Apple just allowed some music apps to stream in the background or allowed some apps to regularly send location pings or wake their programs up remotely or at regular intervals, this would already be a huge step forward for what developers can do with the iPhone OS.

Better Notifications Management

Push notifications were supposed to be a stop-gap measure until Apple opened up the floodgates for background applications. However, for breaking news updates, email alerts and Twitter notifications, these push alerts will still be useful (if only to maximize battery life). Right now, however, the iPhone OS doesn’t manage these notifications well. There is no way to see all recent notifications in one place and no way to just turn off notifications for certain hours of the day (and night) without having to turn them off altogether.

New Home Screen

This new notifications system could be integrated into a new home screen that shows new email, notifications and text messages instead of just dropping users into a list of apps.

File Management

As Apple continues to push the idea that the iPhone OS family isn’t just for surfing the web and gaming, but also for using serious productivity tools, managing and transferring files becomes a must. That, of course, represents a serious challenge for Apple’s user interface designers, so we don’t expect to see this anytime soon – but we still hope that Apple will surprise us.

Reduced Need for iTunes

iTunes wasn’t designed as a file management tool and it’s starting to show. With the iPad, you now have to use iTunes – a music player – to manage your books and documents. Why can’t we just get this data right from our email inbox or just use a dropbox folder on the iPad and iPhone to drag data onto the device?

Easier Podcast Management

Sure, you can use third-party apps to manage your podcasts, but why Apple hasn’t included an easy to use podcast client is beyond us. We can see why Apple wouldn’t want people to transfer hundreds of megabytes over the cellular network, but why not just make this a WiFi-only service? Instead of having to sync with iTunes on a laptop while traveling, for example, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just use the hotel or airport WiFi to download all of your podcasts with one click?

Of course, we will bring you all the news about the new iPhone OS tomorrow. The announcement is scheduled to begin at 10am Pacific.

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