Rumor: iPhone OS 4 multitasking to work like Mac Expose

A quick double-press of the Home button will bring up an icon view of running apps. Tap one to switch between them. Sound good?

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Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
The Palm Pre uses a "card" view for switching between apps. iPhone users may not be so lucky. Palm

Earlier this month, the rumor mill reported that multitasking would make its long-awaited debut in iPhone OS 4. Now, according to "people familiar with Apple's plans for the new firmware" (as reported by AppleInsider), we're starting to get an idea as to how it will work.

As we noted previously, multitasking refers to an operating system's ability to run multiple programs (in this case apps) simultaneously and let you switch between them at will.

iPhones can do that already, but on a very limited basis: only a handful of the core apps support it. In most cases, switching from one app to another means closing the first app before running the second.

According to AppleInsider's report, iPhone OS 4 will employ a multitasking system similar to the Mac OS' Expose:

Those familiar with the design of iPhone 4 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.

Sounds like a reasonable implementation to me, though I'd rather see something closer to the Palm Pre's Card view, which provides oversize thumbnails of the apps themselves rather than just their icons.

Of course, it's all still rumor at this point, as is iPhone OS 4 itself. But if it's true, what do you think? Will you gladly take multitasking, whatever its form, or do you think Apple needs to rethink this approach?

Me, I'm still more interested in an app manager/organizer than I am in multitasking. Of course, I fully expect both--and I expect them in June. Come on, Apple, chop-chop!