Apple is finally going beyond two digits, allowing users to perform multitasking gestures that currently require a somewhat complex dance between the home button and touch screen. New four and five finger gestures are coming to iOS 4.3 and they look pretty slick, though I don’t expect to see them on the iPhone because of the smaller screen size.
A pinch gesture using five fingers will return users to the home screen allowing them to avoid the home button. There’s even some speculation that the home button will be removed, but I’m not convinced just yet.
Swiping up with four fingers allows the user to bring up the application “task manager”, while swiping left or right allows switching between apps. This will greatly simplify multi-tasking on iPad.
Though i haven’t seen it, I’m hoping Apple also adds the ability to do history forward and back within apps using three fingers. That gesture is already available on the Magic Trackpad and I love it.
It’s Interesting to note that these new gestures can be turned off in settings. I suspect this is for compatibility reasons. There may be some apps already using these gestures and it would be pretty jarring to suddenly leave the app. I wonder if Apple will ask these apps to eventually remove the gesture.