In a bid to bring its smartphone back in to the limelight, Apple is preparing the fourth revision of the iPhone OS.

What will iPhone OS 4.0 bring to the party? The iPhone 2.0 update introduced the App Store while iPhone 3.0 added long-awaited and much-missed features like copy-and-paste and MMS.

Here are seven features that we hope to see in iPhone OS 4.0, whenever it might appear for good.

Pervasive multitasking

Yes, yes, the iPhone OS can multitask - let's get that out of the way up front. But right now that superpower is possessed only by Apple's own apps; it's not extended to third-party applications.

Apple has touted push notifications as superior to true multitasking, which, to Apple's way of thinking, drains battery life and slows down device performance.

But as we all know, it's a classic Apple stratagem to downplay a feature right up to the very moment the company unveils it.

We're willing accept a pretty broad definition of multitasking: it could be as simple as making it easier for apps to save their state when you quit them, so that you can relaunch right where you left off.

Even being able to switch between apps without having to go to the Home screen every time would be a big improvement for those who want to do juggle tasks.

With rival mobile operating systems Android and webOS capable of running as many applications as you darn well please, and the arrival of the iPad's ginormous screen, it seems an opportune moment for Apple to deliver its solution and quell the doubters.
Dan Moren

Home screen and app management improvements

We've wanted a better home screen back since before iPhone 3.0 (and, with the introduction of the iPad, we crave it all the more).

Sliding apps around one at a time is getting old - even the app management features in iTunes 9 feel like a stopgap: Why should we have to be connected to a computer to rearrange our iPhone's apps?

It's time for a better solution, though it's hard to say exactly what that is - folders, for example, feel a bit retro and out of place in this new future.

While we're at it, though, we'd love the ability to use all that extra space on our Home and lock screens to display useful information: how about bringing us some Dashboard-like widgets for things like the weather, stocks, or sticky notes?

Workarounds do exist, but they're not nearly as elegant as what Apple could do.
Dan Moren

NEXT PAGE: Better notifications

  1. The functionality we want Apple to introduce
  2. Better notifications
  3. Streaming media
  4. Better Bluetooth support