iPhone to add multitasking, says report

With nearly five months until Apple is expected to release an update to the iPhone, rumors are beginning to pop up like weeds

Apple's iPhone will finally support multitasking for third-party apps as part of its iPhone OS 4.0 release, according to one of many rumors surfacing as interest in what's next for the iPhone mounts.

Naturally, Apple is tight-lipped over its plans for the iPhone we won't know anything for sure until launch day which isn't expected for another five months. But that hasn't stopped the blogosphere from speculating. Most reports come from unnamed sources, so it's recommended you take them with a grain of salt -- though some are worth putting into perspective.

Now let's roundup the rumors for the iPhone 4.0 software release, starting with multitasking support.

Multitasking for several 3rd party apps

The lack on multitasking on the iPhone, and soon iPad, was always controversial among smartphone enthusiasts. Apple only allows a select few of its own apps to run in the background, but this could change.

According to AppleInsidier sources, the 4.0 software to be delivered on new iPhones this summer will allow several third party apps to run simultaneously in the background, and according to Gizmodo, it may look a lot like Expose on Mac OSX.

Multitasking is one of the logical upgrades to the iPhone OS, especially as Android, Nokia or Palm smartphones have been supporting this for years. So if it's not just wishful thinking, third party apps multitasking on the iPhone is a welcomed addition.

Let not forget though, multitasking on the iPhone has been rumored before the 3G and 3GS models were launched -- and never came to be.

Video calling

A front-facing video camera on the iPhone would allow for video calling, a feature present in many smartphones over the past few years. Video calling has still not gained popularity among mobile users, but Apple is believed to have a trick up its sleeve.

Alongside iconography for video chatting found in the iPhone 3.2 system files, O2, one of Apple's wireless partners for the iPhone in the UK briefly changed its iPhone tariffs, stating video calls will come for the same price as voice calls.

The network was quick to retract this and claimed it as an error, but many were left salivating over the possibility. The likelihood of video-calling for the iPhone 4.0 is minimal, considering AT&T is yet to enable tethering, and video calling would eat up more bandwitdh as well.

Five-megapixel camera with flash

The iPhone 3GS has brought a better camera (3.2MP) over the previous model (3G with 2MP), so again, it would be logical for Apple to upgrade the camera in the upcoming iteration of the iPhone to 5.0 megapixels.

However, Apple was reluctant to introduce a flash for the iPhone camera, and pictures taken with the phone in darker circumstances are blurry or grainy. The flash could be more of a dream, but let's hope Apple comes with a surprise.

Even more rumors

New gestures are also expected in the next iteration of the iPhone, such as long tap and 3 taps, though it is unclear what they will be used of or how. The rumor comes as developers have dug deep through the iPhone SDK only to find file names pointing to new gestures.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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