Did the iPad Look Unfinished Because Apple is Hiding iPhone 4.0 Features?

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TiPb mentioned this a couple times in passing -- that the iPad perhaps didn't show things like multitasking and better notifications because it's running iPhone 3.2 and those will be iPhone 4.0 features, likely only to debut in March -- but now Boy Genius seems to think (hope?) this is a real possibility as well.

It would certainly fit with Apple's hyper-secretive modus operandi, and if you remember back to 2007, the original iPhone received additional features (a glass screen, YouTube app) before it shipped. Granted, there's only 2-3 months here and not 6, but would it surprise anyone to see the iPad ship with 3.2, only for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad to all see 4.0 beta in March, and general release in June/July?

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Did the iPad Look Unfinished Because Apple is Hiding iPhone 4.0 Features?

40 Comments

well unless it unveils a hidden ichat camera when it comes out in 90 days, I'm not on board with this project. iPad is a real stinker. It's completely niche-marketed and it doesn't even do any of the hundreds of amazing things it could be doing that were predicted. The things people really seem to find impressive are the animations when flipping pages in iBooks. Seriously.

i hope to GOD that they release 4.0 with all the mising feautures.
or ill switch to webOS or android

Thank god! I wondered what we could rumour over now the iPad has transitioned to the real world. Let's talk 4.0. Yes, I hope and believe 4.0 will add a lot that is missing from the iPad - some shine, maybe a few apps (Voice Memos, Clock, Weather, Calculator, Stocks), multitasking, etc.

Watch the video again when he opens the PDF from the Mail app. While viewing the PDF notice in the right hand corner there's a grayed out button that says "Open With" which may allow content to be sent or shared with other apps.

4.0 probably doesn't exist they have been wasting their time and money with this stupid maxipad.

I hope 4.0 comes soon and that it has that which has been predicted. As much as I love the iPhone other phones are leaving it behind especially when it comes to things like the homescreen.

Wishful thinking at its best. For this to be true, Apple would have to:

  • At an event with unprecedented media scrutiny, show less than their best, or, at least Intentionally hide features and give a misleadingly poor impression of their new product, just so they have something to announce at the far, FAR lower key WWDC.
  • Have a motivation to hide upcoming features of their hottest selling products, the iPhone/iPod touches. The only way this would make sense is if announcing the features would hurt current sales, and the only way that makes sense is if these new features were not going to be available on the 3G/3GS.

Otherwise, no -- it makes no sense for Apple to cripple their grand unveiling of their "magical" product. Maybe iPhone 4.0, whenever it comes out, will have other features, but it is silly to think they would sabotage their iPad unveiling just to keep those features silent.

I agree, unless something is announced to re-energize the iPhone OS platform, today's "big announcement" was a waste of my time and bandwidth! I'm getting really tired of having to scroll to page after page to find my apps...Apple should be past that elementary interface concept by now. If this truly was Steve Jobs' idea of a "magical" device, I think his once great genius mind has seen its best days already. Very disappointing day...sad actually.

Unlikely. Why get developers working on apps with the 3.2 SDK if the iPad is going to ship with 4.0?

I hope there is an apple keynote in April and they annouce "April Fools" I think the ipad was a huge douchebag of a product. I think the 2nd and third version (front facing camera, better software, better screen resoultion, more storage space) will work for students and a book reader. But I admit huge dissapointment. I don't see how they changed the game with this (yet) to many things have been left out to be excited. iPhone 4.0 needs to come out quick cuz the fallout on this product is gonna get ugly

Off topic sorry....
can someone please help me switch the iphoneblog site to the mobile theme the option is not there anymore!!!!!!!

Did anyone stop to think what this means for iPhone 3.2? All of the reviewers who got hands on experience said that the iPad is running iPhone 3.2 (not 4.0), and the product launces in 60 days. Hmmm...doesn't 60 days put us well into March? And WHEN has apple released iPhone updates in the past (hint: somewhere between February and April)?
Here's what I think, before the iPad officially launches, we will get our first look at iPhone 3.2, which will come preloaded on the iPad. This update will feature homescreen backgrounds, a landscape homescreen (these two were showcased on the iPad earlier today), and maybe some features that you've predicted for 4.0. The rest of these features that we might see on the iPhone in the near future, such as multitasking (with 10 hours of battery life, this iPad could definitely handle multitasking), will debut in iPhone 4.0 sometime before or at the announcement of the next gen iPhone, in June or July.

I'll be pretty upset if I get everything up and running on 3.2, only to be told to re-work much of it as it will now launch on OS 4.0!

I wasn't impressed at all. This is EVOLutionary not REVolutionary. I didn't buy the first iPhone , or first Air. I'm not buying the first pad. The name bothers me. Why didn't they go with islate ? Smh.

I just can't wait to see people handling this thing. I feel like it won't be business people hauling a the play toy around, only spoiled children. Also, these things will break like crazy. How many iDevices do we see everyday with broken screens? This will be the most broken mobile device of '10

Glass and YouTube App were minor touches, nothing no-one cared about or thought of at the time. Multi-tasking is in the mindset of the majority gadget geeks, which Apple is conscious of as well. I doubt it'll happen since they decided not to show it during the keynote.

@Dev:
I disagree with both of your major points.
For the first point, witness the version one iphone.
Then witness the arrival of iphone 3g, with.... Horrors, Web apps.
Apple does this routinely, and it helps prolong the hype, and make customers swoon because they got new functionality on stuff they already bought.
For your second point, hiding features, Apple does this all the time too. (Hell, they hid copy/paste for two years, then stole it lock stock and barrel from QuickOffice.)
I don't thing Apple needs a "motivation to hide" something. Its far more likely 4.0 just wasn't ready yet, but the iPad was good enough to go and impossible to keep secret any longer.

No webcam = fail. Unless there's one hiding under that top bezel, and nobody who's used it and blogged about it has noticed it (look in to the liiiiight), and OS 4.0 opens it up for vidconf use, I still think the iPad has missed a huge trick and thus = fail. for me. and all those old people who want to vid chat with their children around the world.

I think people are missing the point of this device. Sure, it doesn't look that special at first review. However, the potential is there once developers start creating iPad apps. I think of it more as a large control screen for all your other peripherals and machines. Just imagine you are on way home from a business trip, listening to the playlist you just created, while browsing the latest issue of your favorite publication, on your iPad. You finish the article you were reading open up an app that turns your heat on in your house, turns on your lights, and plays the same playlist on your home stereo system. Your home now, catching up on a few emails on your iPad. You finish and rent a movie to play on your HDTV. Sure, I wanted an iChat camera too, but this device does have the potential to be the 'next big thing'. Get out of the box people.

I really think the negative reaction to the iPad is because people need to be shown apps designed for it that open their minds. And people are ignoring the revolutionary aspect of the data plan, which is the first of its kind and so far exclusive to the iPhone.
Anyway, I don't really think of the iPad as being crippled as such, but I do agree that Apple, by introducing a new device into its iPhone OS ecosystem, has to update all of the individual OS's at the same time. Its primary goal with the iPad has to be complete compatibility with iPhone apps, especially at launch when 99.999% of the apps available for the iPad were written for the iPhone. Think of it from the standpoint of keeping things seamless for app developers, and it makes sense to proceed the way Apple is handling it.
If (and likely when) Apple announces the iPhone OS update in May or so, it will have all the features they want on the next iPhone. There's no way to extend the exact same OS features on devices as disparate as the iPad and the iPhone 3G, IMO.

@icebike
No offense intended, but you are missing the point as to motivation. Apple is secretive, no doubt about that. However, the iPad launch was Apple's signature moment of 2010. It was, to paraphrase Jobs, "the most important device he has ever worked on." ANYTHING that makes that unveiling look bad hurts Apple in the tech press, and Jobs personally. Secretive or no, value of keeping alleged iPhone update features secret has to surpass the injury caused by a substandard IPad launch.
The only way those alleged secrets have value is if revealing the secret would depress current sales, and the only way that can happen is if those secret features will not be available to currently selling models (the 3G and 3GS.) Otherwise, Apple is either acting irrationally by holding valueless secrets in higher regard than their signature launch, or they are incompetent in meeting their self-publicized time goals.
You appear to think the latter -- that the iPad was simply good enough to go and impossible to keep secret any longer -- but 1) Apple held the bigger secret of the iPhone even longer, and 2) Apple specifically broke away from Macworld this year in order to have precise control over the timing of their major announcements. It is unreasonable to think Apple's ability to keep secrets has slipped so much that they would find it appealing to present a half-baked launch of their "most important product" ever in order to preserve other, essentially valueless secrets. To believe that, you have to think Apple is either irrational or incompetent.

@Dev, my guess is iPad sapped enough resources that 4.0 wouldn't be ready to show off in January, especially since it's usually only ready in Beta form by March, and Apple wants to slot iPad release cycles in March to go three months before iPhone, which is three months before iPod touch. March/June-July/September lets them spread out the launches and have everything in place by the holidays they so treasure.
So, iPad is shown off with and likely ships with 3.2, but just as it ships we see 4.0, which will be a free upgrade in June/July, and enticed those who weren't early adopters.
Apple makes colossal PR blunders at times, but they usually do okay with consumer electronics.

I think the ipad looks unifinished in the sense of no multitaksing cuz of 4.0 on the horizon. and maybe 3.2 didnt come to iphone yet cuz you will be able to put backgrounds and they did not want anyone to find out yet. I myself will be getting an iPad because it is a nice alternative to having to take that to school, trips, and other things. when all you would do is just watch youtube, check some websites. and have to carry that instead of a heavy laptop. and i see the future of the iPad to be looking very bright. remember the first iPhone how so many people bashed it for missing so many things. Look at it now. give it time everyone and those not wanting one will eventually want one.

The biggest shortcoming of the iPad: NO FORWARD CAMERA.
This takes away what would have been a killer app on the iPad, video chatting over WiFi. That would put no strain on the network since it's WiFi, it's just the cost to them of putting a little camera in there. EVEN THE CHEAP NETBOOKS HAVE ONE.
I wanted to buy one of these for my retired parents, and a lot of friends I know were thinking that too. Perfect gift for parents, it's like a laptop that's always on and ready to display pictures, video, internet, play games and email your relatives. But without the killer video app? That would have cost Apple what, $20 to put in? There is just no excuse. I will have to wait for iPad 2, this is just too glaring an omission and frankly insulting.

There going to sell millions of these IMO, and it will change the whole portable PC industry.

The I Pad will be a huge hit, if apple gave u everything at once then it will be expensive toy and not affordable. Bugs have to get worked out. By the time this tablet drops it will be a different story and the greatest device ever made.

I feel a few here have touched on the main point of the why 3.2 over 4.0 issue.
Apple have obviously finished the Hardware Design of the iPad and are manufacturing it but their 4.0 software is unfinished. The 3.1.2 software has been updated to run on the iPad as 3.2 so that they can get the thing to market.
Seems justifiable to me and people will buy it as it is.
Why rush 4.0? End up putting a device to market with a lot of bugs (I know iPhone had some when it first entered the market so why make the same mistake twice - the 3.1.2 code base is pretty stable now).
They can now take their time polishing and adapting the 4.0 code to run 3.2 iPad and 3.1.2 iPhone software and all the extra goodies that come with it (Hoping decent multitasking, notification system etc).
With some luck they will demo 4.0 in the near future have it available mid year as usual and both iPad and iPhone users will get a fantastic rush again!
Despite all the debate there will always be haters and lovers of the device and converts both ways depending on the uses the developer community dream up for it. A second round of purchasers later in the year when 4.0 hits wont hurt Apple either.

If apple is doing this, they're working backwards, and now Steve is bashing on Google for other news and this only says that he is reading all of the negative stuff and reviews about the iPad if u have an iPeriod

I think mr. steve jobs needs to get his head on straight. they are ignoring what the people want most and that will be there demise. people want flash for iphone make it an optional update for those who dont want it. A fwd facing camera for the 3gS would have been nice considering all the hype with video calling. the iPad is a joke, heres an idea, want to read? buy a fcking book. want an electronic reading device buy a laptop for 500$. Apple better get the next iphone version right because i dont see many staying loyal for nothing. Myself, i am already looking away from apple.....GET IT RIGHT THIS SUMMER APPLE!!!!!!

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