Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices soon will 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, reports the Associated Press. The changes are coming this summer to iPhones and this fall to iPads. Currently, users must return to Apple’s home screen, effectively quitting the open program, before starting a new task. “We weren’t the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared April 8, as bloggers, software developers, and others in the audience greeted the news of such “multitasking” with applause. 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. That will change with the updates known as iPhone OS 4. Apple generally makes such updates available for free, and often automatically, as a software download. Jobs said 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…

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staff and wire services reports