Five predictions for iPhone OS 4.0

Apple didn't even wait for the iPad dust to settle before summoning the media to its next big event. On Thursday, journalists will gather once again ostensibly to hear about the next-generation of the iPhone operating system, and possibly an unveiling of the next-generation iPhone hardware.

[Seth Weintraub will be liveblogging the iPhone 4.0 announcements for Computerworld starting from 1 p.m. Eastern]

There have been predictions and wish lists for iPhone OS 4.0 since ... well, since iPhone OS 3.0 was released. Many of those items will fail to materialize and will become the seeds of the iPhone 5.0 wish list.

There is a fine line between a prediction and a wish--especially when it comes to forecasting technology. But, I'll take a stab at it. Here are my top five predictions (wishes) for what Apple will announce at the media event tomorrow:

1. Multitasking. Apple has maintained that true multitasking is too much of a battery drain, and introduces security concerns for the smartphone. Both of these assertions are true. I don't agree with eliminating multitasking on the basis of battery life, though. I think it may be more about possible limitations of the iPhone's processor than authentic concern for user experience.

That said, I also feel that there are suitable workarounds for multitasking and that true multitasking may not be necessary for the iPhone. However, the iPhone now shares an OS with the iPad, and the iPad would definitely benefit from true multitasking.

Where I do feel for Apple on the multitasking issue is with security. It has already been demonstrated on jailbroken iPhones that the ability to run multiple apps simultaneously opens the door for malicious apps to be running in the background without the user's knowledge. If Apple does, in fact, introduce multitasking, it may be faced with a spike in security issues on the platform.

2. File Management. I can sync files to my iPhone and iPad. I can put music files into the iPod app. I can import documents and spreadsheets to work with their designated iWork apps. What I can't do is simply transfer whatever file I might want to transport via my iPhone or iPad.

Why can't there be a general data repository where I can place any file type I choose? If I had that, the iPhone could also fill the role currently occupied by the USB thumb drive attached to my key ring.

On a related note, Apple needs to fix the iWork for iPad apps to make them more functional. They are fine for creating docs, and they are adequate at editing existing docs--as long as you remembered to sync it via iTunes while your device was tethered to your desktop or notebook. However, you can't simply open a file. I should be able to store data on the iPhone or iPad, and open docs, spreadsheets, and presentations using iWork for iPad without such a convoluted process of syncing and importing.

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