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Digital River - Talk to the Experts

Apple Yanks iPhone Out of iPad's Shadow

By Erika Morphy MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Apr 6, 2010 11:13 AM PT

Apple is apparently not taking a breather following the iPad's high-energy launch. The company is inviting journalists to a press event on April 8 that will provide a sneak peek at the iPhone's next operating system, version 4.0.

Apple Yanks iPhone Out of iPad's Shadow

Following so closely on the heels of the iPad's Saturday release, the announcement on Monday took many by surprise.

From a marketing perspective, refocusing on the iPhone so soon seems like a questionable choice, as it could draw attention away from the iPad. That said, the iPad was hyped to unprecedented heights before its release, so perhaps a little cooling off is in order.

More than likely, Apple decided it couldn't wait another week to get the SDK into developers' hands if it is planning to follow iPhone tradition with a summertime release, Rob Walch, host of Today in iPhone, told MacNewsWorld. The iPad's delivery was delayed by a week, which may have thrown Apple off its stride.

It's even possible that Apple intends to continue riding the iPad wave by drawing attention to the company's next new thing. Already, there's plenty of buzz about what will be supported -- or not -- in the iPhone's next iteration.

Follow the Jailbreakers

It's no doubt safe to assume that Flash will not be supported. Users hoping for tethering functionality shouldn't look to 4.0 for that, Walch said, as it is already fully supported in earlier versions.

"You can lay the blame for not having that at AT&T's feet," he remarked. Outside of the U.S., tethering is supported by other carriers and works "fine and dandy."

Walch is betting that 4.0 will contain many, if not most, of the features that users have incorporated in jailbroken 3.0 devices.

There will likely be more functionality around the customization of background images and themes in 4.0, possibly the ability to share the iPhone screen with a Mac computer, a five-icon dock, more security features and wider support for BlueTooth, predicted Walch.

What Would Android Do?

It is also a good guess that Apple will look to shore up areas perceived to be weaker than its competitors, especially Android.

For instance, it is likely to beef up multitasking capabilities -- an area that competing platforms have been pointing to as a big iPhone weakness for a long time -- said Azita Arvani of the Arvani Group. "The iPhone currently supports very limited multitasking with respect to its core applications," she told MacNewsWorld.

"So, it is very likely that Apple will introduce a more enhanced multitasking capability," she said, "but I think Apple will keep it controlled in the name of protecting the user experience."

The integration of contacts with social networking profiles has been introduced in most of the competing OS platforms, Arvani noted, so, it would make sense for Apple to add such functionality to the iPhone OS.

If Apple wants to convert more BlackBerry users, it needs a more robust push email, she added. For that reason "integrated email may also make it in this next release."

Speech to text as input to searches, texts and emails also are likely to make it to this release, predicted Arvani, as Android 2.1 supports this functionality.

Also, turn by turn navigation with voice in the core Google map application will probably make it to the new release as well.

As for more advanced customization, it is nice but not a "must have," Arvani said, although Apple may well include it.

"If we could have live icons to deliver ambient information, that would make for a friendlier user experience," she suggested. "So, similar to Calendar icon, you would see the weather icon showing the latest weather in your favorite city, or the clock would show the current time and so on."

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