Apple will host an event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters on April 8 to demonstrate what it calls “the future of the iPhone OS.” The announcement could be an unveiling of iPhone OS 4.0, the next generation of the company’s smartphone operating system.
According to Reuters, Apple is casting the announcement as a “sneak peek” of upcoming smartphone software.
The announcement comes a few days after the April 3 release of the iPad, Apple’s tablet PC, which reportedly sold 300,000 units by midnight on that date. In an April 5 statement, the company suggested that more than 1 million apps for the iPad had already been downloaded, along with 250,000 ebooks. Developers can build applications for the iPad with the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK (software development kit), which includes an iPhone Reference Library, Sample Code, iPad Programming Guide and Human Interface Guidelines.
Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS update also comes on the heels of updates to its “Snow Leopard” operating system. Termed Mac OS X 10.6.3, the newest tweaking to that platform includes boosted reliability of third-party USB devices and QuickTime X and printers, OpenGL-based application compatibility, and security updates.
Rumors have abounded about what an iPhone OS 4.0 could contain. On March 31, the blog AppleInsider suggested that Apple might include multitasking for third-party applications in the platform, citing unnamed sources supposedly close to the development. Competing smartphone platforms such as Google Android have been touting their multitasking ability as an advantage over the iPhone, something to which Apple may eventually feel compelled to respond.
“The technology, detailed by people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware, will finally allow users to launch multiple apps in the background and quickly switch between them,” Apple Insider bloggers Kasper Jade and Prince McLean wrote. “Apple initially avoided an app model supporting multiple apps running at once to help preserve the battery life and simplify the user experience.”
Those sources also suggested that the iPhone OS 4.0 could take its design and functionality cues from the Mac Expose feature. “A key combination-reportedly hitting the Home button twice-will trigger an Expose-like interface that brings up a series of icons representing the currently running apps, allowing users to quickly select the one they want to switch to directly.” Once a selection is made, the phone then switches to that particular app.
However, Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about its upcoming products, as much evidenced by the ramp-up to the unveiling and release of the iPad, and so potential features for a new iPhone OS could change at any time. Apple has also previously followed a pattern of releasing a new iPhone iteration every summer-the original in June 2007, the 3G in July 2008 and the 3GS in July 2009.