Steve Jobs has assured the rapturous Apple faithful that iPhone OS 4 will offer true multitasking support for third-party applications.
"We weren't the first to this party," trumpeted an enthusiastic Jobs. "But we're going to be the best. Just like cut and paste."
According to AppleInsider, the new feature allows users to launch multiple background apps and switch between various programs via a "multitasking tray."
"iPhone 4 (slated to be released this summer) will add seven different multitasking services for developers, each tuned to solve different multitasking scenarios," wrote AppleInsider's Prince McLean.
"One, demonstrated by Pandora's Internet radio streaming app, will allow apps like it to play music in the background, with playback controls available even at the lock screen. A second example involves VoIP (Voice over IP), which enables apps like Skype to continue to receive calls even when it is not the foreground app."
McLean explained that the third mechanism is related to background location, which can be used by apps such as TomTom or Loopt to calculate location from cellular sites, rather than constantly polling GPS points and draining battery power.
The fourth and fifth enhancement adds a new "local notifications" service that allows apps to post reminders or other events without routing through Apple's servers.
The sixth feature, dubbed "task completion," reportedly enables an app to start a job and continue running after the users switches away, i.e., uploading photos to Flickr.
Finally, the seventh multitasking mechanism is described as "fast app switching," which restores the state of an app when "you switch out and back."
"It essentially freezes the progress of an app such as a game while the user handles another task in another app," added McLean.