Apple has missed a self-imposed deadline for bringing background-processing capabilities--of sorts--to the iPhone.
When Apple revealed that iPhone applications would not be allowed to run in the background during its March iPhone SDK event, developers, as they are wont to do, grumbled about the slight. So in June 2008 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple promised to give developers a workaround that involved using Apple's own servers to notify iPhone users running one application when fresh data was available for another application not in use.
However, as Macworld notes, Apple had promised to deliver that capability by September. It's now October. With one major iPhone update out of the way in the form of 2.1, and with 2.2 expected to focus more on cosmetic changes, it doesn't seem that Apple is planning to introduce this service any time soon.
Dan Moren at Macworld makes the point that Apple perhaps decided that given all the problems associated with the 2.0 software update, fixing those bugs with the 2.1 release took precedence over rolling out the notification service. That certainly makes sense, and given Apple's overtures to iPhone developers this week, perhaps the rollout is around the corner.
But this is an important capability that Apple needs to get up and running as soon as possible. Granted, iPhone development doesn't seem to be hamstrung by the lack of background processing to date, but given the choice, I'm sure developers could employ that technology to great effect.