Coming to iPhone OS: Advertising, Enterprise Support?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-07

10 iPhone OS 4.0 Features That Apple May Announce

As Apple prepares to deliver iPhone OS 4.0 on April 8, speculation abounds over what the company will show off. Apple, tight-lipped as ever, is unwilling to provide any details on what may or may not find its way into the new iPhone operating system. However, that hasn't stopped the rumor mill. Some Apple watchers believe that Apple will be offering multitasking in its next mobile operating system, while others contend that it will deliver Flash. In any case, it's all a guessing game at this point.

So, that's where we come in. Rather than wait for Apple to tell us what the next iteration of iPhone OS will offer, it might be worth taking a look at what may or may not come to the operating system. There's no guarantee that any of the following 10 items will actually make their way to the software, but based on consumer opinion and obvious issues with the software, it's entirely possible that iPhone OS 4.0 could be a major upgrade.

Let's take a look at some of the features that may or may not find their way to iPhone OS 4.0.

1. Flash

It seems that everywhere you turn, someone is wondering why certain sites, videos and games don't work with the iPhone. It's simple: It doesn't support Flash. I, like many others, have been calling on Apple to bring Flash to iPhone OS for quite some time. But I fully realize that the chances of that happening are slim. By not offering Flash on the iPad, it seems CEO Steve Jobs has made it his personal mission to kill Flash on the Web. That means the standard probably won't be making its way to iPhone OS anytime soon.

2. Multitasking

Multitasking has been one of the most coveted iPhone OS features since the device's launch. Users want to be able to listen to Pandora while they work on another application. It's not asking a lot. Anyone who owns a BlackBerry knows that they can use another app, like Pandora, and check e-mails, surf the Web and more. Realizing that, I think it's almost a sure bet that Apple delivers multitasking on Thursday. It's the most glaring issue with iPhone OS, and it's something that Apple's competition has used as a marketing ploy against it. If Apple can deliver multitasking, it will find more customers.

3. Tethering

Tethering is currently not available to U.S. customers because AT&T is dragging its feet. Well, it's time for that to stop. Look for Jobs to make an announcement that tethering will finally work with iPhone OS 4.0. Granted, it's more of an AT&T fix than an Apple fix, but Jobs is likely to be the person to break that kind of news. And it's becoming increasingly likely that he will.

4. Social networking

Some folks have speculated that social networking will be coming to iPhone OS 4.0. They believe that Apple has realized the value of social networks on mobile platforms. But the chances of that happening seem awfully slim. If Apple makes Facebook or Twitter a default application on the iPhone, it could further damage its relationship with developers that currently rely on users downloading apps to access those services from the iPhone. It's certainly possible that Apple will do that, but it's doubtful that the company will want to get into another tussle with developers.

Coming to iPhone OS: Advertising, Enterprise Support?

5. Advertising

When Apple announced earlier this year that it purchased mobile-advertising firm Quattro Wireless, just about everyone wondered if ads were coming to iPhone OS 4.0. It's certainly looking that way. Jobs isn't dumb. He realizes that Google is planning to use advertising to increase its own revenue beyond the sale of phones. He also realizes that if Google is successful in its mobile advertising efforts, it could easily generate even more revenue than Apple. With the help of Quattro Wireless, Apple can ensure that it gets in on the mobile-ad market. AT&T might not like it, but when has that ever stopped Apple?

6. Music-streaming integration

Apple recently acquired online-streaming service Lala. For now, the company has done practically nothing with the service. But based on the success of streaming apps, like Pandora and, it's entirely possible that Apple, as a music retailer, will attempt to get in on the action. Yes, it could cause trouble with developers, but when it comes to music, Apple doesn't care. It sees that it can turn a hefty profit on music streaming, and an integrated app that helps users buy songs from iTunes as soon as they listen to them is a great way to generate even more revenue from the iPhone. Lala could be a major player in Apple's mobile strategy going forward.

7. Better enterprise support

As Apple starts parlaying its success in the consumer market to other areas, it could attempt to improve enterprise support. Currently, Apple's focus on the enterprise is partial, at best. The company realizes that the consumer market is the most profitable sector for it right now, and it doesn't want to get bogged down in corporate issues. But it also doesn't want RIM to corner the enterprise space and keep it out. It's possible that on Thursday Apple will announce some enterprise-friendly features to satisfy its growing number of corporate users. It won't be the flashiest announcement at Thursday's event, but it could be the most important announcement to the enterprise.

8. Native printing support

One of the most frustrating issues with iPhone OS is its lack of native printing support. The iPad, for example, doesn't come with printer drivers, which means users can't print from the device. But now that the iPad is out and Apple is trying to market it as a mobile computer, the company might be more willing to bring printing to iPhone OS. It might not seem like a necessary feature for some users, but if Apple wants to be considered a real player in the computing space, printing support must make its way to the software.

9. Organization

Anyone who owns an iPhone knows all too well just how difficult it is to organize all the apps that can be added to the OS. The only option available to users is to move the apps around the different home screens. But that's not enough and Apple knows it. If Apple announces a new and more effective way of organizing applications, I'd like to see it include folders in some way. Both the iPhone and the iPad are in desperate need of folders to help organize content. Once again, the iPhone and iPad are supposed to be mobile-computing devices. To achieve that, they need better organization.

10. More efficient navigation

There are some odd quirks with iPhone OS that Apple needs to address. When users want to access content in, say, the iPod, it's far too difficult to navigate through the app. And the iPhone's Mail app leaves an awful lot to be desired. Hopefully, Apple will announce design improvements to native applications in iPhone OS to make them easier to navigate. Right now, it's sometimes frustrating to work with the operating system and its odd functions.

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