Apple to unveil iPhone OS 4.0--is multitasking on tap?

Apple is expected to formally announce the latest version of its iPhone operating system during a media event scheduled for April 8. "Get a sneak peek into the future of the iPhone OS" reads the invitation mailed out Monday--the event, beginning at 10:00 am Pacific, will take place at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. campus. While details on what Apple has planned are scarce, conventional wisdom suggests iPhone OS 4.0 will introduce a multitasking solution enabling multiple applications to run concurrently and in the background. In March, AppleInsider reported Apple has developed a "full-on solution" for iPhone multitasking that leverages interface technology already bundled with Mac OS X, but sources did not supply details on how the solution would optimize resource conservation and battery life, two of the largest hurdles facing multitasking support.

Apple first announced iPhone OS 3.0 in March 2009, about three months prior to premiering the iPhone 3GS device during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. While many onlookers expected multitasking functionality at that time, Apple did include in 3.0 the long-promised the long-promised Apple Push Notification service, which offered developers a channel to alert users of new information regardless of whether application is running--the service enables developers to send text notifications, trigger audible alerts or add a numbered badge to their application icon.

Earlier this year Apple released the new iPhone 3.2 SDK in advance of its iPad tablet device, which debuted at retail on April 3. iPhone 3.2 is presently compatible only with the iPad. Prior to Apple's official iPad announcement, a study conducted by software solutions provider Appcelerator noted 72 percent of developers were very interested in possible multitasking features, compared to 77 percent of developers who expressed strong interest in the device's database/storage features, 75 percent who indicated strong interest in multi-touch gestures and 70 percent looking to exploit wireless networking features. "With multitasking and wireless networking will come an explosion in messaging apps that break free of the iPhone's prior limitations of a single application only being able to run in the foreground," Appcelerator contends.

For more on iPhone OS 4.0:
- read this AppleInsider article