Rumor: Multitasking coming to iPhone OS 4

Actually, the bigger surprise would be if Apple <i>didn't</i> add this long-awaited feature to the new OS. But now we have an official "unofficial" rumor that it's happening.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
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
The Palm Pre does a nice job with multitasking, and a lot of people want the same for the iPhone. David Carnoy/CNET

"And it's about damn time!"

Sorry, that was just my excited utterance upon reading Thursday morning's AppleInsider story about iPhone OS 4. It cites "people with a proven track record" in claiming that multitasking will finally make its debut.

Multitasking, of course, refers to the operating system's ability to run more than one app at a time and let you switch between them at will, just like you can do in Windows, Mac OS, Android, Palm WebOS, and just about every other OS on the planet--mobile or otherwise.

The iPhone OS currently offers limited multitasking: You can listen to music while, say, reading a book, and keep a phone call active while browsing in Safari, but that's about it.

According to AppleInsider's sources, "Apple plans to deliver a multitasking manager that leverages interface technology already bundled with its Mac OS X operating system." Sounds good to me.

Of course, only Apple knows if, when, and how that will be implemented. Personally, I just want a way to organize my ever-increasing app library--though hopefully that will go hand-in-hand with whatever interface changes bring multitasking.

How about you? Are you champing at the bit for this long-overdue feature, or do you have other items on your wish list? While you're mulling that over (and writing up insightful comments), check out David Carnoy's iPhone 4G: 25 most-wanted features. Hopefully we won't have to wait long for at least some of them.