Apple Rumor: iPhone Multitasking Enabled

by Sachin Balagopalan on February 3, 2009 · Comments

If there is one thing that’s really frustrating to a lot of iPhone owners is the inability to open up multiple apps and have them running in the background. Apple’s “workaround” for not allowing apps to run in the background was the push notification system that was supposed to be delivered in September ‘08.

It looks like push notification could be on the back burner if this MacRumors post is true. Apparently Apple is considering real background processing instead of a “cludge”.

Apple does not currently allow 3rd party iPhone applications to run as background processes. Instead, apps must shut down completely after use. Push notifications was Apple’s solution to allow applications to receive notices while they are not the active application. Certain services, such as Instant Messaging, would benefit greatly from this feature.

By now, it’s clear that something is holding up the Push notification service. While we aren’t sure what the specific issues are, we’ve heard that as an alternative Apple is considering allowing apps to run as user selectable background processes. If so, this feature would likely come in the rumored iPhone 3.0 software update but would be limited to only one or two processes on current hardware. The next generation iPhone, however, would likely see less restricted background process support due to its improved hardware.

While this may be a rumor I think Apple might actually follow through especially since Pre and Android support background processing. However I hope they don’t abandon push notification totally. I would not want certain apps like Twittelator open and running in the background all the time, rather have updates/tweets pushed to me. On the other hand it makes sense for IM apps like AIM to run in the background for obvious reasons.

I hope this rumor comes to fruition.

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