One of the most requested iPhone features ever since third-party apps were added to the device has been the ability to multitask. As it stands right now, any time you want to use another app, you have to quit the current one, return to the home screen, find the one you want and then you can use that app until you repeat the entire process. While that may not seem like that big of a deal, if you want to continue listening to music via Pandora while you check your e-mail, it becomes a huge nuisance.
While there have been many theories as to why Apple hasn’t allowed this ability for third-party apps, but yet allows it for apps it builds, it seems that the general consensus is that the ability will finally be added to the system in iPhone OS 4.0 that will probably be released this summer. According to AppleInsider, the system will work like Expose on the Mac OS X system:
Those familiar with the design of iPhone 4.0 said that the user interface will resemble Apple’s desktop Expose feature, in that a key combination — reportedly hitting the Home button twice — will trigger an expose-like interface that brings up a series of icons representing the currently running apps, allowing users to quickly select the one they want to switch to directly. When a selection is made, the iPhone OS zooms out of the Expose task manager and transitions to that app.
This doesn’t sound that much different than what you have to do already with going to the home screens to change programs except that you will be able to continue listening to music or keep other streaming apps running as you do other things.
Since the iPhone OS now runs the iPad also, multitasking seems like it has to happen now. while there have been other false starts and rumors over the years, this time it seems like it has to happen or there may be a revolt of users. On a device the size of the iPad, not being able to listen to music as you check e-mail almost seems inexcusable. Hopefully it will prove to be true this time, but we probably won’t know until June or July when it is expected Apple will reveal the fourth version of the iPhone.
What do you think? Has the time for multitasking finally come?