Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.

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