Among the blizzard of rumors about the Apple tablet, one fact stood out for iPhone fans: Apple is rumored to be revealing the new software next week too, and it might hint at the hardware. We've rounded up the iPhone 4.0 rumors for you.
The biggest and juiciest rumors came yesterday courtesy of BoyGeniusReport, who'd learned a number of alleged "facts" about the iPhone 4.0 code from one of their "trusty Apple contacts." Whether or not this contact is as trustworthy as BGR claims is a mystery, of course, but the most headline-inspiring rumors says the iPhone 4.0 firmware will be bringing multitasking to Apple's prize smartphone for the first time.
This is a bit of creative thinking based on the Apple contact's statement that there'll be "a few new ways" to run tasks in the background, but it certainly seems to point at multitasking powers. Of course Apple has always maintained that multitasking is irrelevant, and it eats both CPU resources and battery life, but that hasn't stopped a vocal element in the iPhone's geeky audience from clamoring for it. It's certainly possible that Apple has now optimized the iPhone OS to the point it could consider enabling some form of multitasking--under very strict conditions so that it doesn't degrade the user experience. If, as other rumors are suggesting, iPhone OS 4.0 is also the backbone of the Apple tablet, then multitasking powers would seem pretty likely (since it's extremely possible the tablet will run a more capable processor, and will have significantly bigger battery capacity.)
BGR's source also hinted that multitouch gestures will be implemented across the entire OS (again chiming nicely with tablet rumors) and that there are "many" changes to the UI and device navigation. That's interesting, since Apple's been incrementally working on this issue, recently adding a management tool to iTunes and adding the spotlight function to make finding apps easier. But now that apps are so popular, Apple needs a paradigm shift. Remembering that Apple's also recently filed patents for dynamic home screen icons, this rumor gets even more appealing.
BGR's rumors conclude with the enigmatic suggestion that Apple employees are "excited" by the new OS which makes the iPhone more like a computer and less like a phone.
But what of the hardware? If some of these rumors are true, it seems likely that the new OS will only run on the iPhone 3G and 3G S and the upcoming iPhone 2010 version--largely because the original iPhone's processor won't be able to cope, whereas the 2010 version certainly will. Apart from this deduction, there's precious few rumors about the iPhone 2010 itself though, except for a single suggestion from analyst Peter Misek that Apple's got much further with a CDMA Verizon compatible iPhone than had been thought. Mizek is suggesting that Apple may even announce that a Verizon version is due in June at next week's event--and it certainly would be a headline-stealer.
Oh, and then there's this bizarre leaked image, which purports to be the glass faceplate for the Apple tablet, snapped by an insider at its manufacturer's site. Looking at it, I suggest it's highly unlikely it's for the tablet: Those corners have too severe a radius, and the button and earphone slit look incredibly similar to the existing iPhone's. I think this may be an iPhone 2010 front glass, and the fact that the earphone slit and button are pushed slightly toward the edge of the device implies a bigger screen, which is almost certainly something we'll see this year. As for that tiny pinhole, dare we ponder on a front-facing Webcam?