Apple iPhone to Get Long-Sought Multitasking

AP and Reuters

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says the company's iPhone and iPad will soon be able to run more than one program at a time. It's a feature that owners of the popular iPhone have long sought and that phones from Apple's rivals already offer.

Apple's iPhone 3Gs

The news of such "multitasking" was greeted with applause at an Apple media event in Cupertino, California.

The updates to the operating system running both iPhones and iPads will be available this summer. Apple generally makes such updates available for free as a download.

Since the launch of the iPad on Saturday—touted as a new class of gadget that will bridge laptops and smartphones—users have downloaded 600,000 digital books and 3.5 million applications, the Apple chief said Thursday.

Jobs also said the company has sold 450,000 iPads since its launch. The company earlier said it delivered more than 300,000 iPads on Day One, though that included pre-orders and units shipped to retail stores such as Best Buy but not necessarily purchased.

Jobs said users had also downloaded more than 4 billion applications for the iPhone, the popular smartphone that competes with Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

Apple is helping foster a market for tablet computers that is expected to explode to as many as 50 million units by 2014, according to analysts.