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Apple enhances iOS 6 multitasking with new background navigation updates

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
As new iOS devices become more powerful and sophisticated, Apple is likely to continue to evolve the platform's multitasking features, as exemplified by Maps' new background direction updates.

Apple's strategy of taking its Maps solo in iOS 6 was initially described in Apple wants to wipe Google off the map with iOS 6, while a second segment detailed how the company will be levering vector graphics to greatly improve the Maps experience in iOS, a third segment outlined how Apple is adding 3D Flyover features to displace Google's Street View, and a fourth described its new navigation features.

Backseat directions



One of the novel features of Apple's new Maps is that directions can continue as a background task. In fact, iOS 6 will not only put up a standard "click to return" banner for the Maps app (similar to those presented for background audio playback, VoIP or phone calls), but will also now display live "street sign" turn by turn directions (below) visible from the app you're currently using.



This enables drivers to exit Maps to text (hopefully not while driving; too much multitasking can be a bad thing), play music or check email and still get updates of upcoming turns along their route.

While something similar could be accomplished with standard notifications, the "direction signage" badge used by Maps is new to iOS 6. It lacks the app icon typical of standard banner notifications, providing more screen space to the information of the message.

The feature may eventually become something third parties can exploit to provide similar kinds of long term, location-based or urgent updates, similar to the way the iPhone's voice call-style background banners were opened up to third parties when Apple first released support for background multitasking in iOS 4.

The future of multitasking



Apple is likely to make more substantial changes to how iOS multitasks in the future as mobile devices get faster and more powerful. However, the company has not sought to multitask purely as a marketing feature, resisting the concept of "freely" running any number of apps concurrently due to battery concerns.

At some point, however, it's likely the company will enable additional new background features including, for example, the ability to respond to an incoming message without leaving the current app.

Apple has already demonstrated integrated services that work between apps, such as new support for Twitter and Facebook that enable users to post updates or share photos without leaving the current app, and for some time as supported embedding web views or composing and sending emails from within another app.
post #2 of 20

Who is Zach?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #3 of 20
Good feature. But I hope the people using it are passengers, not drivers. Now people can text and drive, surf and drive, or what have you without missing turn by turn notifications. IPhone users will become new road hazards if not used wisely.
post #4 of 20
iOS already supports background navigation, and it works great; it’s just the banner at the top that is new (and very useful)!

For instance, I use Navigon MyRegion. I start navigating and I switch to Pandora or Music/iPod, and it continues to give me voice guidance. It even fades the music naturally during the Navigon spoken statements. Works great! And it has since iOS 4.

I can even multitask more than one GPS app: such as letting Navigon guide me verbally, while using some other app I prefer to display the live map: I can use Apple Maps, Google Earth, or whatever. The visible app keeps updating my position, AND Navigon keeps working too.

iOS 6 nicely enhances iOS’s already-great GPS multitasking.
post #5 of 20
Err, this has been possible since iOS 4, other than the notification bar at the top. I have had a Navigon satnav app ever since it first came out, and had it direct me from the background many a time.
post #6 of 20
I love how Apple limits (long term) background multitasking to their own services. It just makes me nervous the thought of other apps being able to install their own services on the phone. When I close something I want it closed.
post #7 of 20
Hope people aren't texting while driving...
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I love how Apple limits (long term) background multitasking to their own services. It just makes me nervous the thought of other apps being able to install their own services on the phone. When I close something I want it closed.

There is at least one background API that is long term for 3rd-party apps: GPS. My Tom Tom is used for hours that way.

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post #9 of 20

Nothing really closes on iOS, but rather goes into a background state. Those apps can also request background features and with iOS, it's fairly limited what can be done in the background such as playing audio or finishing downloads. These all require entitlements to be provisioned which ask the user's permission.  This is in contrast to Android that can easily run a service in the background that can do anything.  You may still need to give permission to allow a service to run, but you are not limited as to what it can do which compromises battery life and security.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

iOS already supports background navigation, and it works great; it’s just the banner at the top that is new (and very useful)!
...

 

I'm just waiting for someone to argue that it's too skeuomorphic cause it looks just like a real road sign.   :-)

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


There is at least one background API that is long term for 3rd-party apps: GPS. My Tom Tom is used for hours that way.

But isn't it the case that the actual background (GPS) process involved is an Apple one, and the third party app is just having it's callbacks called? i.e. third party apps can provide code to be run inside an apple process, but can't create their whole own process.

post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post
I'm just waiting for someone to argue that it's too skeuomorphic cause it looks just like a real road sign.   :-)

 

I LOVE that. Classic Apple attention to detail. Wish they could have used Highway Gothic, but maybe they're not allowed to.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strat09 View Post

Hope people aren't texting while driving...


Yes, they do. I can see one or two every day, speeding on the freeway, texting.
Even more frightening : some of them have P plates.
post #14 of 20

Funny that you talk about multitasking and banners on the day before the event.

 

Those navigation banners don't work perfectly with all apps, a great number of non-Apple apps may have the top of their UI cut off when this banner is displayed.

 

You'll note that Apple only allows these taller system status bars for situations in which you're not really supposed to use apps on your iPhone. Call in progress, audio recording, hotspot tethering and now navigation are tasks where it's less important if some third party apps have their UI obscured, as long as the basic apps work.


Apple cannot assume that any given third party app is able to resize its layout vertically if the available screen area changes. Some do and some don't. They also don't have a way to easily know which app work well at different sizes. Because of that, all third party apps will have to run with black bars on the iPhone 5 at launch! But doesn't this look a little ehm, weird? Apple releases brand new iPhone 5 hardware with a new taller screen and apps have black bars??

 

Couldn't Apple use this extra 640x176 pixels area for something else? Twitter feed, weather, latest notifications? Widgets? (Ads?)

 

Oh and look, what a surprise: the rest of the pixels is exactly like the screen of an iPhone 4/S at 640x960, which means that all applications will work perfectly even with a 640x176 widget bar visible. Updated apps would be able to use all off the iPhone screen area but only if the user hides the widget bar.


I can let you imagine the possibilities of such a widget bar, which aside from being useful, would make a definite visual statement about how iOS is still evolving and how it is able to visually multitask.

Funny that almost all of the iPhone 5 parts have been leaked but such a feature has remained a secret. I haven't seen any analyst seriously talk about this possibility, though for some reason Daniel got close with this article.

We'll see in a few hours if Apple proudly announces that the iPhone 5 with its new bigger screen will be able to run 400,000 apps with black bars. Or maybe Apple decided to have some fun with that extra 640x176 pixels...

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I'm just waiting for someone to argue that it's too skeuomorphic cause it looks just like a real road sign.   :-)

 

Yup, in the past two days that word has been thrown about by just about every armchair graphic designer on the internet ... :(

post #16 of 20
Zach? Wait, DED has friends?!

 

 


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Tim Cook using Galaxy Tabs as frisbees

 

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post #17 of 20
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Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

Zach? Wait, DED has friends?!

 

It's an alias for @Corrections

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post #18 of 20

One thing I'd like to see change with regards to MT'ing:

allow us to close multiple apps at once.  I hate having to "X"-out every little app on the hidden panel.  They need a better solution for this.

post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I LOVE that. Classic Apple attention to detail. Wish they could have used Highway Gothic, but maybe they're not allowed to.

I hate to be the one, but "Highway Gothic" is actually a nickname for the actual typeface font.  The proper name is "The FHWA Series fonts"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FHWA_Series_fonts

 

Also, I'm not sure what the actual font Apple uses is (it looks like standard Helvetica) but just on quick glance and wikipedia it looks like "Highway Gothic" will soon be replaced by "Clearview"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearview_(typeface)

post #20 of 20
ascii View Post
I love how Apple limits (long term) background multitasking to their own services. It just makes me nervous the thought of other apps being able to install their own services on the phone. When I close something I want it closed.

I absolutely agree. The only unfortunate part is all the Windows and Android switchers who think they need to close everything in the Recent Apps panel. No matter how many times I explain it, they still think iOS acts as sloppy as their previous platforms. None of them has outright asked me how to defrag their iPhone, but give it time.

 

Gazoobee View Post

I'm just waiting for someone to argue that it's too skeuomorphic cause it looks just like a real road sign.   :-)

Heh, it's inevitable. Give it time.

At least no one can scream 'bloat' because the background texture looks fairly small, repeating often.

 

antkm1 View Post

One thing I'd like to see change with regards to MT'ing:

allow us to close multiple apps at once.  I hate having to "X"-out every little app on the hidden panel.  They need a better solution for this.

Oh... oh dear.

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