Corroborating reports from a few weeks ago, AppleInsider is reporting that the next major update of the iPhone OS (4.0) will include support for third party multitasking and that Apple’s implementation will be somewhat similar to how Expose works on the Mac. While the current iPhone OS does include multitasking support, only Apple’s homegrown apps such as the iPod music player are able to take advantage of it.
Those familiar with the design of iPhone 4.0 said that the user interface will resemble Apple’s desktop Expose feature, in that 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. When a selection is made, the iPhone OS zooms out of the Expose task manager and transitions to that app.
When a user activates Expose on the Mac, the screen quickly displays all actively running windows. This implementation would naturally be messy and counterproductive on the iPhone’s small screen, so Apple decision to instead display all of the icons of actively running apps makes a lot of sense . AI points out that this is somewhat akin to using the alt-tab feature on the Mac to navigate quickly between open applications, and will enable users to quickly switch back and forth between apps on the iPhone as well.
Lastly, AppleInsider’s sources also corroborate a report from a few days ago, and from Steve Jobs no less, that the next iPhone OS will include support for a universal mail inbox. One new feature rumored to be included in the next iPhone OS update will be the ability to place individual contacts on the iPhone homescreen “such as a button that will call “Mom” or “Dad” directly.”