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Apple rumored allowing real background apps on iPhone - Page 2

post #41 of 74
LOL, seems like WM task manger isn't so stupid now eh Steve. I wonder how they are going to spin the fact that they can't get Push working and now have to use background processes.

FYI: Backgrounder works fine. People who say battery life is worst....no shit, I have multiple apps open, it's expected. If I know I'm not going to be by my charger anytime soon, I don't run multiple apps, nor do I watch videos/movies. I've yet to be stuck somewhere with no more juice left in my phone.


HEY AI, WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GONNA DO A iPhone APP.
post #42 of 74
Apple is not going to add a task manager to the iPhone. That is -still- a terrible idea.
No-one is even -asking- for third-party multitasking. They just want the Push API.

And that's going to take more RAM. Considering third-party apps are already running out of memory and crashing, releasing any additional multitasking will cause more apps to crash and generally piss off more users.

Likely, Apple simply rolled the API into the next major OS release, where they were already tightening down other areas of the operating system to free up some memory. Apple being Apple, they're just holding 3.0 tight to their chest so the features have maximum PR value this summer.
post #43 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

LOL, seems like WM task manger isn't so stupid now eh Steve.

The WM task manager is still very stupid. It's a horrible implementation of background process control. Even people that try to copy this implementation seem to do a better job. But if this rumor about allowing background processes is true, they're going to at least implement it in a better way, if not totally different.
post #44 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Dude, right in the article less than an inch above your comment it says:

"... a 412MHz ARM processor and only 128MB of (RAM) ..."

That's just reality; not fabricated at all.

My first Mac at 20Mhz and 1MB of RAM could multitask. The iPhone's OS is far more advanced, but is also slimmed down to be very efficient. Is 412MHz and 128MB of RAM still insufficient? I find that difficult to believe. Maybe we can hear from some iPhone devs about their thoughts on the matter.
post #45 of 74
Quote:
With a 412MHz ARM processor and only 128MB of temporary memory, the first- and second-generation iPhone lines may struggle to support more than one or two background apps before becoming unusable.

This is a software problem not a hardware problem. Make the software efficient for mobile devices and users will be able to multitask all day long. Having a "desktop-class OS" on your phone sounds very appealing at first but the reality is that the developers have to made compromises to fit such a system on a phone.

I hope the rumors are true though. Background processes will make far more complex and compelling applications possible.
post #46 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

It probably stems from the Newton being shut down. Most likely, he was one of the protestors I passed on my way into work, the day the lights went out on Newton and Newton OS.

The Newton is still alive and kicking. Just not on Apple's agenda.
post #47 of 74
WM task manger is not stupid. It's very handy, and works very well. I no longer use it, but found it useful when trying to keep track of the many apps I use to run at the same time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arteckx View Post

The WM task manager is still very stupid. It's a horrible implementation of background process control. Even people that try to copy this implementation seem to do a better job. But if this rumor about allowing background processes is true, they're going to at least implement it in a better way, if not totally different.
post #48 of 74
I don't think Push is going to happen. But hopefully I'm wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Ingersol View Post

Apple is not going to add a task manager to the iPhone. That is -still- a terrible idea.
No-one is even -asking- for third-party multitasking. They just want the Push API.

And that's going to take more RAM. Considering third-party apps are already running out of memory and crashing, releasing any additional multitasking will cause more apps to crash and generally piss off more users.

Likely, Apple simply rolled the API into the next major OS release, where they were already tightening down other areas of the operating system to free up some memory. Apple being Apple, they're just holding 3.0 tight to their chest so the features have maximum PR value this summer.
post #49 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

If Apple were to do this properly, they would probably come up with a scheme like:

1) Background Applications are stand-alone Applications. They might even extend a new base class called, for example, NSBackgroundApp. Indeed implementation wise they could be nothing more than modules that are run by a background application scheduler that can schedule for best resource conservation.

2) These Applications are restricted in scope, but can of course use any system library apart from those that generate interfaces

3) Their running time might be restricted, their memory usage likewise. E.g., they might only be able to run once every 5 seconds, and not exceed 1MB in running application size. In addition there might only be three or four background application slots.

4) If you are actively using the phone, or if it is being charged, then considerations for battery life can be temporarily dropped. I.e., if you are browsing the web then running an internet radio application in the background isn't such a big deal, (but when the phone is trying to run on minimal power it would be).

Also why would you swap out the application code to flash? Surely you would mmap the code on flash anyway, bringing it into RAM as required, and simply invalidating the pages if another application needs them?

As for resources, there's nothing wrong with a 412MHz ARM and 128MB RAM. Even in low-power mode which it surely runs in most of the time it is 103MHz (? I don't know, but I presume the CPU clocks down). I had pre-emptive multitasking with shared libraries on an 8MHz 68000 (Amiga 500) that performs like a 2MHz ARM. I've even seen very basic pre-emptive multitasking running on a 4MHz Z80 with 128KB RAM (SymbOS) with a Win95-like desktop environment.

This is what I predicted on a TUAW post. To me this seems like the most logical way of handling the whole situation. An iPhone app bundle can have a background executable, which can be run on certain system events or on a timer. While internet radio would be out of the question, it easily enables messaging apps and stuff like gps loggers (for a system event such as "location changed").

I've never really understood the push system as a solution; It requires a huge step up from devs to include it - writing server code, hosting that code, making sure that server never goes down - suddenly a lone dev is spending a lot of time being a sysadmin.
Daniel Tull
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Daniel Tull
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post #50 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

WM task manger is not stupid. It's very handy, and works very well. I no longer use it, but found it useful when trying to keep track of the many apps I use to run at the same time.

It's not stupid in it's existence. It was necessary on that platform. It's stupid in the way it was implemented.

Of course it's handy because you need to keep track of those applications, and it would have been sad if it couldn't do two things well. But, for something that should be routine (exiting an application that you're done with), it was a pain to get to the task manager to do it.

If it was easy on your device, you probably had a third-party switcher application (maybe on the top bar) to help with that. Some device makers pre-installed them just to avoid users complaining that such a basic feature was so difficult to get to by default. If MS had just added easy access on their own, I wouldn't be calling it stupid.
post #51 of 74
Hahahah, well, well well, its seems apple cannot stand by and be apple anymore. They have to be like the others. If funny how they make all "the apple rules" about how multitask apps are not so need, how people only really need one app at a time. In my view, apple got the UI right on the iphone but as usual, gets the business aspect dead on wrong. The android or win mobile might not be pretty OS, but they covered a broader and wider scenario than the iphone os. Then comes the pre with as good a UI as the iphone as well as adding the broader and wider application scenario (like multiapp). Seems like apple is now catching up instead of being ahead in whats needed. I love apple but their ego is also what makes me not like apple. The first time the iphone come out- these were the no no's

No flash because thats what we have decided
No mutiapp because users only need one
Notification, oo well, you only need to compare it with android or pre

Heck, I even had to register to get iphone sdk. That was the first as a developer. I had to register to read the sdk help documents. Wow, now if you are a developer, you knows know what i mean.

Let just say I believe that beauty and price point can only go so far, after a while, competition will set in and it looks like that making apple bend their ego. Its always been about the money and not the cult (apple fans).
post #52 of 74
The primary design concern of background apps is battery drain. If you let a background app make a network connection every 5 seconds, it won't matter what the allowed memory footprint is. Someone will do it poorly and destroy battery life. Someone will find a way to leak memory. Someone will manage to throttle a shared resource, degrading the performance of the foreground app.

And there's simply no reason to allow people to write their own background logic. What are they going to do? Monitor device states, log event data somewhere and notify the user.

How is it better to let a thousand programmers of varying competence reinvent this wheel and run redundant code on the user's device?

The idea behind the Push API is that a tight piece of highly reliable and vetted code is handling the power-draining parts and notifying tiny third-party code of relevant state change information (network event, scheduled alarm, location change, raptors ahead) only when it matters.

It also keeps the whole ecosystem far more stable if developers don't have to worry about which other third party background apps (or combinations) cause resource problems in their app.
post #53 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielctull View Post

This is what I predicted on a TUAW post. To me this seems like the most logical way of handling the whole situation. An iPhone app bundle can have a background executable, which can be run on certain system events or on a timer. While internet radio would be out of the question, it easily enables messaging apps and stuff like gps loggers (for a system event such as "location changed").

I've never really understood the push system as a solution; It requires a huge step up from devs to include it - writing server code, hosting that code, making sure that server never goes down - suddenly a lone dev is spending a lot of time being a sysadmin.

Apple's Push concept is(was?) that Apple would be hosting the servers, everything would be going through that.

This means less work for the developers, and no worrying about having to buy, and maintain their own servers, or the expense of it, as Apple would be shouldering that load for everyone.
post #54 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmanuelbuah View Post

Hahahah, well, well well, its seems apple cannot stand by and be apple anymore. They have to be like the others. If funny how they make all "the apple rules" about how multitask apps are not so need, how people only really need one app at a time. In my view, apple got the UI right on the iphone but as usual, gets the business aspect dead on wrong. The android or win mobile might not be pretty OS, but they covered a broader and wider scenario than the iphone os. Then comes the pre with as good a UI as the iphone as well as adding the broader and wider application scenario (like multiapp). Seems like apple is now catching up instead of being ahead in whats needed. I love apple but their ego is also what makes me not like apple. The first time the iphone come out- these were the no no's

No flash because thats what we have decided
No mutiapp because users only need one
Notification, oo well, you only need to compare it with android or pre

Heck, I even had to register to get iphone sdk. That was the first as a developer. I had to register to read the sdk help documents. Wow, now if you are a developer, you knows know what i mean.

Let just say I believe that beauty and price point can only go so far, after a while, competition will set in and it looks like that making apple bend their ego. Its always been about the money and not the cult (apple fans).

In the beginning, there was no prtense from Apple that the iPhone was a business device at all. None! Apple even made remarks to that effect.

But, despite the lack of most business aspects, software, security, database support, etc., the phone kept sneaking into businesses anyway.

So, starting with the 3G, and the ver. 2 OS, they began to make a push.

But if you, or anyone else, thinks that Apple is finished adding to this, you'd be wrong.

It's easy to forget that the established business phones took years to get where they are today, and that they were added to over time. It's simply impossible to add every requirement in a ver 1 software release.

Android has a long way to go as well.

As far as your having to register, well, gee, what a big deal to complain about!
post #55 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

But if you, or anyone else, thinks that Apple is finished adding to this, you'd be wrong.

I certainly hope you are right... Hopefully they won't drop a new phone with version 3.0 and leave old devices in the dark. Thats been one of the most attractive elements to me thus far.
post #56 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

WM task manger is not stupid. It's very handy, and works very well. I no longer use it, but found it useful when trying to keep track of the many apps I use to run at the same time.

classic typo

from wikipedia:

A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food for animals (as in a stable). Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves. The word comes from the French manger (meaning "to eat"), or from Latin manducare (meaning "to chew").
post #57 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by S8ER01Z View Post

I certainly hope you are right... Hopefully they won't drop a new phone with version 3.0 and leave old devices in the dark. Thats been one of the most attractive elements to me thus far.

I agree with that, though at some point it will have to happen.

I think that if we can get at least three years of new OS versions, that would be pretty good considering how it's been done before. I would like to see four, with most new features, other that what may need the newer hardware. That would be more than fair. Four year old phone hardware would be pretty outdated with the way phones are moving these gays.
post #58 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

classic typo

from wikipedia:

A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food for animals (as in a stable). Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves. The word comes from the French manger (meaning "to eat"), or from Latin manducare (meaning "to chew").

It might be the right word, the way it forces you to "chew" through the slow software on that phone platform.
post #59 of 74
I looked three times, I was thinking WTH is he/she talking about.
Hahahah.
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

classic typo

from wikipedia:

A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food for animals (as in a stable). Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves. The word comes from the French manger (meaning "to eat"), or from Latin manducare (meaning "to chew").
post #60 of 74
Might be a even better typo, considering what some PC people think most Mac users are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I agree with that, though at some point it will have to happen.

Four year old phone hardware would be pretty outdated with the way phones are moving these gays.
post #61 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

Might be a even better typo, considering what some PC people think most Mac users are.

Oops! I don't want to change the history of the post since it's been noticed already.

But I will apologize.
post #62 of 74
I'm sure no one was offended.
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Oops! I don't want to change the history of the post since it's been noticed already.

But I will apologize.
post #63 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

In the beginning, there was no prtense from Apple that the iPhone was a business device at all. None! Apple even made remarks to that effect.

But, despite the lack of most business aspects, software, security, database support, etc., the phone kept sneaking into businesses anyway.

So, starting with the 3G, and the ver. 2 OS, they began to make a push.

But if you, or anyone else, thinks that Apple is finished adding to this, you'd be wrong.

It's easy to forget that the established business phones took years to get where they are today, and that they were added to over time. It's simply impossible to add every requirement in a ver 1 software release.

Android has a long way to go as well.

As far as your having to register, well, gee, what a big deal to complain about!

Yes it is that simple if you plan ahead and they did not. Like you said, it was not meant to be a business phone. Actually, I really rather Apple not try to make it into a business phone because they are bad at it. Good at marketing but bad in business vision. I say the good and the bad as I see it. With that said, I like apple's strenghts (UI, uniformity etc) and hate their weakness ([their ego] failure to involve the dev ecosystem etc). They always wait till there is competition and not when the supporting community suggests/needs it. That's my bottom line.

Now if you think I'm complaining about signing up before reading what an sdk can do, then you have been an apple cheerleader for far too long. An sdk documentation helps someone to better make a decision if their app will be supported by the api's provided by the platform. Now, signing up and finding out that my app cannot be supported on the iphone because it needs a background process is sheer stupidity and wast of my time and an extra account someone else doesn't need. In my case, i compromised and degraded my app to fit the iphone eco apps but still stupid if you ask me.
post #64 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmanuelbuah View Post

Yes it is that simple if you plan ahead and they did not. Like you said, it was not meant to be a business phone. Actually, I really rather Apple not try to make it into a business phone because they are bad at it. Good at marketing but bad in business vision. I say the good and the bad as I see it. With that said, I like apple's strenghts (UI, uniformity etc) and hate their weakness ([their ego] failure to involve the dev ecosystem etc). They always wait till there is competition and not when the supporting community suggests/needs it. That's my bottom line.

Apple isn't "bad" at it. They're new to it. Apple hasn't been interested in larg businesses, and small one have different needs and concerns. Apple has been good there, while ignoring big business, because they weren't, and didn't want to be set up to deal with that.

This could be changing, because even big business is placing more Apple equipment in their environments than they have in a long time.

Apple hasn't been interested in helping them do that, which is why you think that they are bad at it. You cant be bad at something that you are avoiding doing at all. The most they've done is to make concessions on interoperability at the OS level, which has been getting better over time.

As for the ver 2 phone OS, it's much more business friendly than was ver 1. As a result, may commentators have said that for most businesses, thought not all, it is enough to get them in.

I've no doubt that as Apple has seem the light here, ver 3 will be friendlier yet. It's interesting that in the last big survey, the iPhone was given much higher ratings from business customers in every area that was given the Blackberry. That says something interesting. It says that even with a possibly "half finished" product, it beat out the otherwise most highly thought of product in the business category.

You have to think of that as well.

Quote:
Now if you think I'm complaining about signing up before reading what an sdk can do, then you have been an apple cheerleader for far too long. An sdk documentation helps someone to better make a decision if their app will be supported by the api's provided by the platform. Now, signing up and finding out that my app cannot be supported on the iphone because it needs a background process is sheer stupidity and wast of my time and an extra account someone else doesn't need. In my case, i compromised and degraded my app to fit the iphone eco apps but still stupid if you ask me.

Please don't call people cheerleaders, fanboys, etc. It gets in the way of intelligent conversation. I respect your views in this even if I don't agree with them, and I expect you to respect mine as well.

I understand what an SDK is for, and I understand what the documentation is for as well. I also understand that signing up for it is not a big deal.

What app did you write BEFORE you signed up for the SDK and received the information and software required for writing it?

If this was all a waste of your time, why did you bother to do it? I don't understand that.

If all you had was an idea for an app first, then you didn't have much.

Are you also planning to write this app for the Android? That's about as open as you can get right now.

If you do, then let us know about the process.
post #65 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple's Push concept is(was?) that Apple would be hosting the servers, everything would be going through that.

This means less work for the developers, and no worrying about having to buy, and maintain their own servers, or the expense of it, as Apple would be shouldering that load for everyone.

No, that was part of it. But as a developer you had to notify Apple's server of any notifications you want pushed, so they could collate them to send to the iPhone.

With this method you still need(ed?) your own server to act as a go-between from whatever service to Apple.

Seems like a pain to me, but a decent solution for bigger developer groups such as AIM, who already have their own servers.
Daniel Tull
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Daniel Tull
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post #66 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Ingersol View Post

And there's simply no reason to allow people to write their own background logic. What are they going to do? Monitor device states, log event data somewhere and notify the user.

Sure, there are reasons. Take for example a simple thing like a step counter (I use steptrack) that simply stops counting because you answer a call or do anything else.

Or maps. I want it to continue to track my position (and possibly movement) so there's to re-acquire time when I pull the GUI back up after say googling something or answering a call.

There aren't that many apps I want running in background but the ones that I do want would work a lot better if I could push them into the background.
post #67 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielctull View Post

No, that was part of it. But as a developer you had to notify Apple's server of any notifications you want pushed, so they could collate them to send to the iPhone.

With this method you still need(ed?) your own server to act as a go-between from whatever service to Apple.

Seems like a pain to me, but a decent solution for bigger developer groups such as AIM, who already have their own servers.

The point is that you aren't needing a server to service your customers directly, which is a much bigger pain.
post #68 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The point is that you aren't needing a server to service your customers directly, which is a much bigger pain.

Well whether you are serving the customer straight to the device or through Apple's server, you still need to control a server to make a push notification app.

My point is it is harder for a dev to make a push app than to have the app (or a service part) run in the background to fetch data.

If I wrote a Flickr app that could watch someone's photostream and notify the user of any updates, I would have to write some server code to track any number of users watch lists and post back to Apple if one of them were updated. It's also worth noting that if my app took off, I'd have to scale quickly to maintain the push feature.

With a background process, I just write a component that checks for updates.

I'm not saying I prefer the background running of apps, certainly there's a huge elegance in Apple's push notification system from a system resource point of view. From a developer POV, it just makes things that much harder to achieve something relatively simple.
Daniel Tull
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Daniel Tull
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post #69 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielctull View Post

Well whether you are serving the customer straight to the device or through Apple's server, you still need to control a server to make a push notification app.

My point is it is harder for a dev to make a push app than to have the app (or a service part) run in the background to fetch data.

If I wrote a Flickr app that could watch someone's photostream and notify the user of any updates, I would have to write some server code to track any number of users watch lists and post back to Apple if one of them were updated. It's also worth noting that if my app took off, I'd have to scale quickly to maintain the push feature.

With a background process, I just write a component that checks for updates.

I'm not saying I prefer the background running of apps, certainly there's a huge elegance in Apple's push notification system from a system resource point of view. From a developer POV, it just makes things that much harder to achieve something relatively simple.

I haven't seen to many developers speak out against it. Most comments seem to be positive.
post #70 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

The Newton is still alive and kicking. Just not on Apple's agenda.

yup. there are still things that the newton does better than the iphone.
post #71 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple isn't "bad" at it. They're new to it. Apple hasn't been interested in larg businesses, and small one have different needs and concerns. Apple has been good there, while ignoring big business, because they weren't, and didn't want to be set up to deal with that.

This could be changing, because even big business is placing more Apple equipment in their environments than they have in a long time.

Apple hasn't been interested in helping them do that, which is why you think that they are bad at it. You cant be bad at something that you are avoiding doing at all. The most they've done is to make concessions on interoperability at the OS level, which has been getting better over time.

As for the ver 2 phone OS, it's much more business friendly than was ver 1. As a result, may commentators have said that for most businesses, thought not all, it is enough to get them in.

I've no doubt that as Apple has seem the light here, ver 3 will be friendlier yet. It's interesting that in the last big survey, the iPhone was given much higher ratings from business customers in every area that was given the Blackberry. That says something interesting. It says that even with a possibly "half finished" product, it beat out the otherwise most highly thought of product in the business category.

You have to think of that as well.



Please don't call people cheerleaders, fanboys, etc. It gets in the way of intelligent conversation. I respect your views in this even if I don't agree with them, and I expect you to respect mine as well.

I understand what an SDK is for, and I understand what the documentation is for as well. I also understand that signing up for it is not a big deal.

What app did you write BEFORE you signed up for the SDK and received the information and software required for writing it?

If this was all a waste of your time, why did you bother to do it? I don't understand that.

If all you had was an idea for an app first, then you didn't have much.

Are you also planning to write this app for the Android? That's about as open as you can get right now.

If you do, then let us know about the process.

Melgross, my apologize for my language if I offended anyone. Again, my apologize. I developed my app for the android and currently porting it to the iphone. I guess you are right that signing up is a small task. I would have like to know the details of the sdk before sign up. I guess because the api of the iphone is a way a subset of that in the android sdk api, I had to find a work away. I could have made the choice to ignore the iphone but I like it and believe it can be better. I hope apple becomes more open with it's thought and future road map for the iphone so developers like me can join in. Again, my apologize for my earlier post if it offered anyone and specifically, Melgross
post #72 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Because nothing a corporation says could ever be the truth? Or is it just Apple who you don't believe?

yeah you are right...

_______________________

http://blog.gethsemanefuneral.com


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post #73 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmanuelbuah View Post

I hope apple becomes more open with it's thought and future road map for the iphone so developers like me can join in.

Just to give you some background on how open Apple is with future road maps.

Apple did not bring a prototype to show AT&T executives when they negotiated for AT&T to carry the phone. AT&T agreed to carry the iPhone without seeing the phone. AT&T executives did not see the iPhone until a couple of years later, days before Steve Jobs announced it at Mac World.

Apple employees are not allowed to share information with other Apple employees who are not directly working on the same project. Employees within Apple who are not working on the iPhone have no idea what is going on with the iPhone.

The likely hood of Apple sharing the future road map of the iPhone is not likely at all.
post #74 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Sure, there are reasons. Take for example a simple thing like a step counter (I use steptrack) that simply stops counting because you answer a call or do anything else. Or maps. I want it to continue to track my position (and possibly movement) so there's to re-acquire time when I pull the GUI back up after say googling something or answering a call.

And my point is that if the step counter could get a consistent log of 'step' events (i'd imagine sharp accelerometer changes, or GPS data) and the map application a steady log GPS positions, from when they weren't running, there'd be no difference to the user whether those apps themselves ran in the background, or the push API just logged those events on their behalf.

And if the push API is the app running in the background, then other apps still have a reasonable expectation of what the device state will be when they're running and don't have to worry about remaining performant if apps X, Y & Z are running in the background.

Furthermore, X, Y & Z aren't duplicating the code of accessing the network/gps/accelerometer, occupying memory and writing data to flash, thereby draining the battery far faster than necessary.
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