According to AppleInsider, the next major update to the iPhone OS will include multitasking functionality which has been so often demanded by those critical of Apple. In the iPhone 4.0 update multitasking will be allowed using a “full-on solution” developed by Apple, according to AppleInsider’s sources. There is no mention of how it would specifically work, but it could be implemented in the update rumored to arrive this summer. The current iPhone 3.x OS that runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the upcoming iPad, includes restrictions that prevent applications from being allowed to run in the background. Apple’s bundled applications like Mail are excluded from this restriction, which shows that a locked down form of multitasking already exists.

Before the iPad was announced there were rumors that the new iPhone 4.0 update would add multitasking along with many new features. It was presumed that this would be announced alongside the iPad, but instead Apple decided to use version 3.2 for the OS running on the tablet. Multitasking is one of the most popular features being talked about in the next update. Currently if you tried to use a music streaming app like Pandora while using Safari, the OS would close it before you switched to Safari. This makes it especially difficult for third party audio streaming applications like Pandora to work properly. Doing a simple task like listening to audio over the internet while checking your email or browsing the web becomes impossible.

Last year Apple released a new feature called Push Notifications that helped solve part of the multitasking problem. This allows applications, such as instant messaging, to notify the user of an incoming message even if the application is not running at the time. While this solution works okay for quick messages, it is easy to see based on the example above that true support for background applications is still necessary for certain tasks like streaming audio. One way that Apple could add multitasking in iPhone 4.0 is by using the App Store submission process to let them determine which applications can use it. This is just one idea that Apple could use, but until more details are obtained we will just have to add this to the existing pile of rumors.