posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Apr 2010 17:28 UTC
IconThe iPad's barely out the door, and Apple has already announced an upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 event - for April 8, which is coming Thursday - to be held at Apple's Cupertino campus. Similarly, Microsoft sent out mystery invitations today for an event held in San Francisco April 12.


Apple

So, what can we expect from Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 event? Well, obviously, I haven't a darn clue, but I can say what I would want, as an iPhone user. First of all, and most importantly, I want a decent notification system. Currently, the iPhone employs archaic modal dialogs as notifications, which are extremely disruptive and annoying.

I'd also like something of a decent home screen. I dislike how on the iPhone there's no central location where it displays upcoming appointments and other relevant information. This home screen can easily be placed as the left-most "desktop"; the Spotlight search field would be integrated into this home screen as well.

Everybody expects version 4.0 of the iPhone OS to include support for multitasking, one of the most often cited shortcomings of the device. I don't think this feature is as simple to add as many seem to think - the entire iPhone and all of its software have been designed with single-tasking in mind, so Apple would need to make sure applications don't misbehave (and there's well over 130000 of those) as well as come up with a satisfying user interface. Rumours suggested an Exposé-like task switcher using icons (instead of windows), but that sounds cumbersome to me.

A bigger problem is most likely the fact that the iPhone has relatively little RAM; the original and 3G models have 128MB, and the 3GS has 256. Compare this to the Nexus One and Palm Pre Plus; 512MB, both of them. I think that if multitasking arrives, it will be restricted to a new iPhone model, with more RAM. It just doesn't sound very Apple-ish to confront users with "out of memory" error messages.


Microsoft

Microsoft's press event is shrouded in a lot more mystery. There's no subject - just a cylinder with a rolled up message in it. All it says is "It's time to share", followed by the where and the when.

This invitation could mean one of several things. First of all, it most likely won't be about Windows Phone 7 (they dropped the "Series"). This operating system has been announced and demonstrated often enough, we know when it'll be here, and there's little left to announce.

Another possibility - one that would amaze me - is Microsoft's mysterious "Pink" project. This project is supposed to deliver the follow-up to the Sidekick phones, but nobody really knows what software it will run. It surely won't be based on Windows Phone 7, so what else will it be? Does it really make sense for Microsoft to introduce a new mobile platform, just when they got everybody excited about Windows Phone 7?

The last remaining possibility is the one that has me the most excited: Courier. Could it be that Microsoft will unveil the Courier dual-screen tablet, concept videos of which have made some serious impressions on the web? It would be bold - so short after the iPad launch, and in San Francisco no less - but it remains to be seen if the Courier is ready for a big unveiling.

I really, really hope it's the Courier.

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