Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. issued a note to investors in which he said checks with his sources indicate that iPhone OS 4.0 will be a full multi-tasking environment where third-party applications will be able to run simultaneously and in the background along with Apple's own built-in applications.
Those claims support what AppleInsider reported in March: that Apple plans to add full multitasking support in the forthcoming release of the 4.0 software update. Sources said that the company has developed a "full-on solution" to allow multitasking of third-party applications on the App Store.
Wu said while multitasking will be important for the iPhone and iPod touch, he believes the announcement will be an even bigger deal for the just-released iPad.
"We believe this will be particularly important for the iPad, due to its much faster processor and much larger screen where users will more likely want the capability to run multiple applications much like most do with their PCs and Macs," he wrote. "We believe this will allow AAPL to deliver a fuller and more differentiated experience on the iPad helping drive greater adoption."
Wu also mentioned Apple's forthcoming mobile advertising API, which is rumored to be dubbed iAd. The analyst said the financial impact of this service for Apple will be "minor to negligible," but the service will allow the company to further enhance its position with the developer community.
The advertising service will stem from Apple's purchase of mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless for $275 million in January.
In addition, Wu said he's heard word that better games for the iPhone OS platform are coming, and Apple could make an announcement related to that on Thursday as well.
"While we don't have fuller details, we are picking up indication that there will likely be gaming related announcements where AAPL will make it easier to develop more powerful and sophisticated games," he wrote. "We believe this makes sense for the iPad in particular with its much more powerful capabilities."
On Monday, Apple sent out invitations for its iPhone OS 4.0 preview event, scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday. The company has said it will give a "sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone software" at the company's Cupertino, Calif., campus.