With the iPad fully birthed to the world and ready for its coming out party, Apple can now turn its attention back to the iPhone. New details on the upcoming software upgrade due this summer have emerged compliments of AppleInsider. Multitasking is the key and Apple plans to accomplish it through an interface familiar to OS X users.
According to the article in AppleInsider, OS 4.0 will use an Expose-like interface for multitasking capabilities. If you’re not familiar with Mac OS X, Expose is a feature that displays all of the applications a user has running in thumbnails on the screen. The user can select the application they want to use and are immediately taken to it. Windows 7 has similar functionality. In the forthcoming iPhone OS version, the user will double-click the home key to bring up a list of icons or thumbnails of the currently running applications and touch one to open it.
The one thing I think few people realize about the iPhone OS is its current capability for multitasking. It was originally written, envisioned, and exists today as a multitasking operating system. This fact is displayed every time you listen to music while surfing the web on Safari. When people say they want multitasking what they are really saying is they want Apple to remove the artificial block they’ve placed in the software. This block keeps third party applications from making use of the operating system’s multitasking capabilities.
And isn’t it about time they did? One of the main things all the Android fanboys wave around as proof of their technical superiority is multitasking. I understand Apple’s reasoning behind putting a block on multitasking but now that the operating system has matured, and is most likely the future of Apple computing, it makes perfect sense to enable it for all. Especially now with the iPad relying on it as well. It will be interesting to see both how they implement it and the user interface on it.
One of the problems with multitasking on a mobile device versus a full computer is resourcing. While mobile devices are becoming more powerful everyday, they still do not rival a full blown computer. I would bet Apple limits the running applications to 4 or 5 to keep a reasonable battery life and keep some person from running 20 apps at a time and then complaining about performance.
So on this day the first of April the official iPad reviews came out (and you can read my favorites here from Andy Ihnatko), let’s look ahead to what Apple has in store for us next. We may be a restive bunch of users but Apple never fails to impress us. I think iPhone OS 4.0 won’t be any different.
What do you think of the introduction of full multitasking to the iPhone and iPad? Is it the last great missing piece of the puzzle or too little too late? Will multitasking finally convince you to take up an Apple device? Let us know in the comments.