Submitted by Thomas Estilow on
As any iPhone user knows, only bundled Apple software like the iPod app will run in the background while your phone is doing other things. Now AppleInsider reports this is all about to change.
Third-party applications will be allowed to run in the background in iPhone OS 4.0, the next step in iPhone firmware development. Although version 3.0 is capable of full multitasking, Apple has limited all but its own apps from staying open while running other software. Right now the Phone, Messages, iPod, Voice Memos, and Mail apps run in the background, along with some others.
The next version of the iPhone OS and hardware is expected this summer, as Apple has so far stuck to an annual refresh of their iPhone product line. Multitasking will be useful for playing Internet radio stations on apps like Pandora, instant messaging (AOL Instant Messenger), and many other applications.
Sources have claimed that Apple would include an interface for switching between apps based on existing designs in Mac OS X. There were no details provided on how Apple plans to deal with the two issues most commonly cited as the reasons why multitasking was left out of iPhone OS: security and battery life.Other smartphone manufacturers have allowed background applications to run for some time, and the feature is viewed by some as necessary for Apple to keep its iPhone line competitive.