Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad devices will soon be able to run more than one program at a time, an ability that phones from Apple’s rivals already offer and that iPhone owners have long sought.
Currently, users must return to Apple's home screen, effectively quitting the open program, before starting a new task.
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“We weren't the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. The iPhone already permits some multitasking, but that's largely limited to Apple's own programs. Apple had not given users ways to seamlessly switch among all the software “apps” available from outside software companies, the way phones from rivals Palm Inc. and Google Inc. already do.
Jobs said that the company waited so long because it wanted to offer multitasking in a way that didn't drain the iPhone's battery or reduce the phone's performance.