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Apple invites iPhone developers to test live Push Notifications

post #1 of 68
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Apple on Thursday began inviting many of its iPhone developers to begin live testing of applications that will make use of the company's upcoming Push Notifications service.

"Start testing your applications using the Apple Push Notification service today," the company said in an email blast to registered iPhone developers. "Log in to the iPhone Dev Center and review the Apple Push Notification Programming Guide and Getting Started video."

Apple explained that Team Agents can log in to the iPhone Developer Program Portal and proceed to the App ID section to perform the necessary steps needed for developers to enable and test applications using the new service.

Under development for nearly a year now, the push notifications service is Apple's alternative to allowing true background processes -- which chew up system resources and rapidly drain battery life -- on its iPhone and iPod touch handhelds.

Instead, the iPhone maker's approach calls for applications that can quit but continue to "listen" for data on a universal network channel capable of sending messages and other notifications. This frees up system resources while still permitting applications, such as instant message clients, to keep an ear out for incoming transmissions.

While previewing iPhone Software 3.0 last month, which will be the first version of the software to support the push service, iPhone software chief Scott Forstall said devices running rival mobile operating systems from RIM and Microsoft see standby time fall by 80 percent or more with background processes enabled.

In contrast, Apple's tests show its push notification system inflicts only a 23 percent hit on standby time when enabled. It will allow developers to push a handful of different notifications to users who request the updates, namely icon badges, text messages, and alert sounds.



Until today, live testing of the push notification service was believed to be restricted to an extremely small subset of developers. While seeding iPhone Software 3.0 beta 2 last week, Apple told developers that they could begin writing applications that make use of the service, but warned that access to test those applications live would be limited at first, gradually expanding to more developers over time.

In its email Thursday, Apple also encouraged developers to join the Apple Developer Forums to communicate with other developers using the Apple Push Notification service, reporting any issues they uncover using the Apple Bug Reporter tool.
post #2 of 68
It's good to see that things are moving forwards.
post #3 of 68
This is one of the features I am really excited about.
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post #4 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's good to see that things are moving forwards.

Yes it is. This was the main reason I decided to install v3.0 Beta on my iPhone knowing that I couldn't ever go back to v2.x after doing it. There are some nice updates coming but Push Notifications are the most important to me. Now bring Beta 3 and release Meebo w/Push to the App Store.
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post #5 of 68
Tick, tock ... I can't wait!
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post #6 of 68
I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.

Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.
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post #7 of 68
QotD: We've seen Apple's vendor controlled and run App Store being copied* by Google and RiM, should we also expect that Push Notification servers will be copied as well, even if other vendors allow for bona fide** background apps***?

* I know that there were app stores before Apple did it, but the way Apple is doing it seems to be the most successful and seems to be catching on.

** By "bona fide" I am referring to the Palm Pre really just offering their WebKit-based browser using HTML5's new local caching feature actually just being one app with multiple sessions running. But really, how many of these WebKit-based apps can be running at once before the system because bogged down and a battery drain?

*** It's possible to offer 3rd-party app developers the option for using Push server and/or an actual background app, depending on the application type. For instance, an IM app could use a Push server while, right next to it a streaming audio app could run the background.
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post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.

Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.

It's because (imho, of course) the weakest aspect of the iphone (note: includes iPhone 3.0 features) is how the iPhone handles notifications. In my opinion, notifications on the iphone are simply horrid. It's here where Apple could really learn from their competitors. I'm still amazed that Apple went with the "pop-up metaphor" for notifications. We all know how popular pop-ups were on the web.

I really hope in iPhone OS 4.0 that Apple revamps the entire notification system ESPECIALLY now that Push notifications are in the horizon.

w00master
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.

Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.

I'm with you and the unified notifications. Every time my phone vibrates I'll have to swipe through 4 or 5 pages of applications to figure out which one got a notification. A pull down menu like in android would be sweet. Or possibly a downwards swipe on any page of the home screen could bring up a special notifications page.
post #10 of 68
Yeah I'm agreed on this one. I don't think another home screen is the solution but they need something because the pop-up notifications are really annoying and intrusive. You have to click them and can't do anything until you choose one option. The Pre seems to handle this pretty well and I've heard Android does as well. Also, I think as some have mentioned, we need notifications on the unlock screen. I would love say an option to click a Mail icon when there is a read message and then perform a slide to unlock to jump directly to the Mail app with the new messages shown. The slide to unlock could maybe change color and the other icons (if there are some), could be faded. If you change your mind about jumping to mail you could tap anywhere beside the unlock or the Mail button, which would return you to the regular unlock screen. Something along these lines would be great I think.

Furthermore, let's see better app organization. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe Apple is leaving this to an updated iTunes when 3.0 is released though...

Thoughts???

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.

Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianMac2008 View Post

Yeah I'm agreed on this one. I don't think another home screen is the solution but they need something because the pop-up notifications are really annoying and intrusive. You have to click them and can't do anything until you choose one option. The Pre seems to handle this pretty well and I've heard Android does as well. Also, I think as some have mentioned, we need notifications on the unlock screen. I would love say an option to click a Mail icon when there is a read message and then perform a slide to unlock to jump directly to the Mail app with the new messages shown. The slide to unlock could maybe change color and the other icons (if there are some, could be faded). If you change your mind about jumping to mail you could tap anywhere beside the unlock or the Mail button, which would return you to the regular unlock screen. Something along these lines would be great I think.

Furthermore, let's see better app organization. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe Apple is leaving this to an updated iTunes when 3.0 is released though...

Thoughts???

Agree 100% on these thoughts. With all of the updates coming for iPhone 3.0, personally I really don't have that much more that I am missing EXCEPT for 2 things (as listed above): a revamped notification system (I like the Android/G1 methodology) and a way to better organize apps on the iPhone.

I like the swipe idea, where if you swipe down, you'll see all of your notifications. Love that. Apple, are you listening? LOL

w00master
post #12 of 68
How long until someone mirrors the instructional video? I'd like to see it.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

Agree 100% on these thoughts. With all of the updates coming for iPhone 3.0, personally I really don't have that much more that I am missing EXCEPT for 2 things (as listed above): a revamped notification system (I like the Android/G1 methodology) and a way to better organize apps on the iPhone.

I like the swipe idea, where if you swipe down, you'll see all of your notifications. Love that. Apple, are you listening? LOL

w00master

3.0 Sounds pretty perfect for me, pretty much everything I wanted all along and then some nice additions. Spotlight I am very excited for.

However, while Push is good, there are some limitations obviously. Three things I'm thinking of:

a) If you have an app like Loopt or an app that, as Palm has mentioned, lets you know where GPS is, will you get push notifications dependent on say your location? It doesn't seem like it will and that you would need the app open.

b) Will apps like To Do's actually be able to remind you about an appointment? I'm guessing no once again, unless the app had a server side copy of your information in the app. That way your appointments would be stored in the cloud and simply synced up when you have a new one, like Mail, where you would download once you open it. This would be limited though from say Calendar as you would need a connection with the cloud. I'm not a developer so I don't know completely how the whole system works.

c) No streaming audio. Say I have Pandora... it would be great if Apple could enable an API for streaming audio with only one being allowed to run at a time, ala iPod. Double click of Home could also be allowed to control whatever music is playing at the time, regardless of the source.

Right now it sounds like Push will mainly be good for online services such as IM, Facebook, etc etc in other words services that already reside in the cloud - less useful for on device info.

Anyone want to add their opinions on how flexible Push will be?

Specifically in terms of what it will and will not be able to do? For example, could there, as I mentioned, be a server for a To-Do app that stores your appointments in the cloud and then pushes them to the Apple server? When you open the app it would then sync the tasks that are on the server. Thus the server would do the processing thus eliminating the need for background.
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianMac2008 View Post


Anyone want to add their opinions on how flexible Push will be?

Obviously there are things it can't do.

But I think that Push is just a step along the way. Once the capability of the device grows enough, has enough RAM for program space, and better power managements from all ends, then we'll see background apps running.

It's not as though Apple has totally disguarded the idea.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Obviously there are things it can't do.

But I think that Push is just a step along the way. Once the capability of the device grows enough, has enough RAM for program space, and better power managements from all ends, then we'll see background apps running.

It's not as though Apple has totally disguarded the idea.

Oh no, I agree. I think Push is a great idea and applaud Apple doing so rather than going the easy route and simply enabling backgrounding. Given how my iPhone performs now without it, I definitely don't want backgrounding without better processing power.

However, my question was more in reference to developers who might have some idea as to how well certain programs would function. As I do not have access to the SDK, I have no real way of knowing what exactly is possible. Push is great but I'm curious as to what will and will not be possible.
post #16 of 68
Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?

Or, let's say you want to go for a jog and use the "running gypsy" application which is great to track where you went running, time, distance, pace, etc., and you have your ipod and want to change the play list or podcast, and since you can't truly run it in the background, the application won't work anymore, no notification system can solve this problem, I need the GPS data, pace data and once the app is quit, it won't be recorded. Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?

The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...

The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.

An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.

Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by arsan View Post

Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?

Or, let's say you want to go for a jog and use the "running gypsy" application which is great to track where you went running, time, distance, pace, etc., and you have your ipod and want to change the play list or podcast, and since you can't truly run it in the background, the application won't work anymore, no notification system can solve this problem, I need the GPS data, pace data and once the app is quit, it won't be recorded. Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?

The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...

The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.

An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.

Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!

So given all that, let me ask you a question that I've asked before, in a different context:

Why do you think Apple is approaching this the way they are?

Is it because they are lazy? Incompetent? Stupid? Is that that they inexplicably want the iPhone to be less competitive? They hate their customers? Steve Jobs is insane?

According to you, the barriers to multitasking are trivial. All their competitors can do it, kids in their basement with jail-broken phones can do it, and Apple's "excuses" are all laughable. It's not really about CPU heft or battery life or complexity. They're lying.

Why? Apple seems to have done pretty well with the iPhone, to date, so they can't be complete idiots/hellspawn/crazy. In fact, failure to implement such a vital feature, which is so simple to do, would be seem to be a genuinely bizarre lapse, given Apple's track record here.

Can you maybe clarify what you think Apple's motives are, for failing to deliver a wonderful feature that would require almost no effort, have no down side, and massively enhance the iPhone's desirability?
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post #18 of 68
Actually Apple did file new patents on notifications late last year. So its very possible Apple has not yet shown all of the UI changes to iPhone 3.0.



Today's implementation is completely text-based, somewhat poorly formatted, and disappears once the user unlocks the handset -- leaving the user to rely on memory and the individual red icon notification badges in order to retrieve and reply to those transmissions.

The iPhone team's filing instead proposes a more properly formatted notification panel -- in one of approximately a half dozen potential layouts -- that would not only remain visible once the phone is unlocked, but actually provide direct links or buttons to the missed communications.

"In response to detecting an interaction by a user with the device, the plurality of icons display notification information for the plurality of communication modalities," the filing explains. "In response to detecting an unlock interaction by the user with the device, the device is unlocked, and a communication in the plurality of communications is presented that was received while the device was in the locked state, or information about the communication is presented."



Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.

Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by arsan View Post

Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?

If Apple only had a dime for everytime someone prophetically declared that something Apple did was not going to work. I guess they do, billions of them.

Its a bit early to declare push notification a half baked effort that won't work. No other smartphone platform has the apps that were shown at the SDK introduction.

I think what you are missing is the fact that the iPhone can contain 148 apps soon to be 176. Their is no practical way you could allow all of those apps to potentially run in the background.

It would be supremely unpopular for Apple to cherry pick which apps they will allow to run in the background. Developers would be extremely upset if they felt certain apps were given special treatment over others. I think its wiser to treat them all equally.

One day when Apple feels they have found a good way that does not sacrifice the user experience they will allow third party apps to run in the background.

Quote:
Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?

You don't have to tolerate that you have the option of using a different device you feel that better meets your needs.

Quote:
The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...

This is because you don't understand the difference between the WM, BB, Pre and the iPhone. They all use very different types of software. None of those other platforms use development tools as rich and featured as the iPhone's.

The Pre is using localized web apps which are not nearly as rich as the iPhone apps.

Quote:
The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.

Who made this claim? Apple spent most of the 90's attempting to develop a new OS that included multi-tasking. The problem was they were not able to successfully do this until they bought NEXT and developed OS X.

Quote:
An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.

Backgrounder isn't offering anything new. Multi-tasking is already built into the iPhone, backgrounder is simply allowing 3rd party apps to use it.

Quote:
Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!

If multi-tasking on a phone was as important as you make it sound, why did the iPhone come into a mature market with several established competitors and dominate the way it has?

I don't think you can make a declaration like this right now. We will have to wait and see how it all works out. There have been plenty of examples of companies touting functionality that does not properly work, or can even be detrimental to the user experience.
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by arsan View Post

Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work!

I'm not going to quote all of that.

We aren't saying that this is the best method.

Gee, APPLE isn't saying this is the best method!

It isn't useless as your over the top post states.

For many purposes it's just fine.

At some point, Apple will likely have background apps as well
post #21 of 68
developers have put enormous efforts into break out of what pre-historic pagers did. Business case, however, hasn't changed in a least iota since then. Everything customers want and everything marketing is selling them remains old good paging...

Where's all that money gone?

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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

QotD: We've seen Apple's vendor controlled and run App Store being copied* by Google and RiM, should we also expect that Push Notification servers will be copied as well, even if other vendors allow for bona fide** background apps***?

Background apps can be achieved by jailbreak, but to put backgrounding issues into perspective:

- People have ranted and raved about 'poor' battery life on the iPod and any other devices Apple realeases, eveven when an iPod can get three days worth of charge.
- Everyone says smartphone 'x' allows for background tasks. Sure, but how long do you go between charges and what is running in the background? I want figures and data.
- My experience with some smart phone is a difference between two days charge and 4 hours, when applications are backgrounding.
- How big should the battery be before people start complaining the iPhone is too fat?
- Dedicated hand-held GPSs only get a day on charge, and this is the main task, so if this is in the background of a phone, this will hurt.

I am sure Apple will allow background applications at some point in time, but if allowing means 4 hour charge times, even more complaints about battery times, then I am sure Apple will resist techs that insist on background applications.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

Background apps can be achieved by jailbreak, but to put backgrounding issues into perspective:

- People have ranted and raved about 'poor' battery life on the iPod and any other devices Apple realeases, eveven when an iPod can get three days worth of charge.
- Everyone says smartphone 'x' allows for background tasks. Sure, but how long do you go between charges and what is running in the background? I want figures and data.
- My experience with some smart phone is a difference between two days charge and 4 hours, when applications are backgrounding.
- How big should the battery be before people start complaining the iPhone is too fat?
- Dedicated hand-held GPSs only get a day on charge, and this is the main task, so if this is in the background of a phone, this will hurt.

I am sure Apple will allow background applications at some point in time, but if allowing means 4 hour charge times, even more complaints about battery times, then I am sure Apple will resist techs that insist on background applications.

There are also some logistical issues involved for a company like Apple.

— If they do allow normal background apps, and not just locally cached webpages like the Palm Pre, how many do they allow at once?
— What if you get to your limit and wish to turn another on do you get another app that comes up to let you kill one of the other apps (ala Task Manager)?
— Do they make it a set number of background app or does it adjust that number based on the requirements of the apps themselves after they are running?
— Do you get to set with apps are notification or background capable?
— Does Apple and/or the developer get to choose which apps or parts of apps are background capable?
— Will we get an Activity Monitor app so the average person can see which apps are hogging the CPU cycles, RAM and sucking the battery?

That is the logistical aspect and I think it's all too much for Apple to put in the typical techtarded consumer's hands for a very long time, if ever.

PS: I think if Sprint is training people on the Pre now that it will be released as previously rumored on April 30th. I look forward to seeing how well it runs with their multipaging WebKit browser and how long the battery lasts. I'd like to see Palm not only survive, but thrive, with this new device. I think if the Pre doesn't work for them I am not sure they will ever have another chance.
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post #24 of 68
As you say, the consumer is often brain dead. I can see them loading up on 20 or 30 free location, and other apps, that insist on running in the background, and everything grinding to a halt.

When people compare older phones with the iPhone, and say that it works just fine (not from what I've seen all too often), it's mainly because there is a select number of consumers who are buying these phones, and a relatively small number of apps that do this.

The iPhone customer base is, at least at this point of time, much more broadly based. I really don't think a lot of them will have the willpower to resist Apple's wonderful iPhone ads that promote apps. And we know that once this thing becomes possible, Apple will promote that as well, just like they will do about notifications this summer.

It's one thing to have two or three, maybe even four or five apps in the background, but what happens when there are that 20 or 30?

The phone will need much more app RAM, and as this article correctly points out already, a much better processor:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/09/app...partner=alerts
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's one thing to have two or three, maybe even four or five apps in the background, but what happens when there are that 20 or 30?

The phone will need much more app RAM, and as this article correctly points out already, a much better processor:

And the battery proving to be a limiting factor.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

And the battery proving to be a limiting factor.

That too.

There will also be a crapload of contention going on. How do you allocate processor cycles between 20 to 30 programs? Especially when there aren't that many processor cycles to begin with?
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

So given all that, let me ask you a question that I've asked before, in a different context:

Why do you think Apple is approaching this the way they are?

Is it because they are lazy? Incompetent? Stupid? Is that that they inexplicably want the iPhone to be less competitive? They hate their customers? Steve Jobs is insane?

According to you, the barriers to multitasking are trivial. All their competitors can do it, kids in their basement with jail-broken phones can do it, and Apple's "excuses" are all laughable. It's not really about CPU heft or battery life or complexity. They're lying.

Why? Apple seems to have done pretty well with the iPhone, to date, so they can't be complete idiots/hellspawn/crazy. In fact, failure to implement such a vital feature, which is so simple to do, would be seem to be a genuinely bizarre lapse, given Apple's track record here.

Can you maybe clarify what you think Apple's motives are, for failing to deliver a wonderful feature that would require almost no effort, have no down side, and massively enhance the iPhone's desirability?

The question "Why" is a good one, I think one can only guess. One can further extend the series of WHY questions:

- when people were crying for third party apps on the iphone platform, WHY did Steve Jobs insist on having a half baked (you can use the same duct tape metaphor here if you like) web applications instead of native applications?

- when people did the jailbreaking, why did Apple finally give up its grip (a little bit) and created an app store with native third party apps with a severely limited SDK?

- Why is there no real Gmail app like the one found in BlackBerry for example, almost any other phone has a specific gmail app?

- Why would the skype app not take benefit of the 3G even though Skype executives are publicly saying that there is nothing wrong with the app and it would work perfectly on 3G? (and it does, just this morning I was on it for 15 minutes with my dad overseas)

- Why is Iphone available only through AT&T?

- Why is there no MMS?

- Why can't you have horizontal keyboard (3.0 will do this it seems)

- Why no video recording?

- Why initially support DRM and now we are DRM-Free? Why are videos still with DRM? Why is the rental only 24 hours but not 48 or 72 making Apple TV useless in my opinion?

Most people would consider the iphone a platform that is very attractive for mobile computing. The gateway to this platform is currently controlled by Apple through the SDK and App Store process. It is a business decision to have this control in place. When iphone first came out, the control was absolute, only Apple could provide applications, then the grass roots efforts became so loud that Apple had to relent and open up App Store. Now there is similar grumbling against the decision of not allowing background applications and against draconian artificial controls, and this grumbling will eventually force Apple to re-consider their current policies, piece by piece, just like they did since the launch of this platform.

I do feel that Steve Jobs has a great vision and the talent to monetize innovation. It is only natural to try to control the revenue stream whether it is by protecting your strategic alliances (don't allow tethering, don't allow Skype on 3G for the sake of AT&T's phone minute revenues).

Sometimes, our (consumers) interests and the interests of the corporations that provide us these innovative products and services may not be perfectly aligned, thus it is quite natural to see friction. We had friction since the launch of the iphone platform and this friction is the reason the platform got better and better which each iteration and I welcome it.

Companies need to maximize their revenues, and we consumers also want maximum satisfaction from the products we buy. It is in my interest to have as many features as possible on my iphone, such as background apps, skype, horizontal keyboard, MMS, video recording, etc. As a single user, I can only have a tiny voice in nudging the corporation to what I believe the direction of the product's development should take. The biggest testament of this relationship can be seen by simply looking at the near past and the interaction between the customers and the corporation. Now Apple no longer bricks iphones. Now you don't have to go to the store to activate an iphone, soon you will get "notifications" and soon after everybody hates it, you will get true background processing, because those notifications are simply not good enough.

I guess the answer to "why" is complex, but I certainly don't believe the team at Apple is lazy or malicious. They are just trying to make sure they get the maximum benefit for Apple and by constructively discussing these issues, we are also contributing to this innovation and helping out the company deliver products that we really want and enjoy.

Sorry, I could not deliver a straight forward answer to your "why" question...

Thanks.
post #28 of 68
Of course, another way to look at all of that is to assume that Apple, upon introducing a new platform that they expected to make use of for many years to come and to provide a vital offering in the emergent hand held, ubiquitously connected computing market, was very conservative in what they rolled out and when-- preferring to get the basics right before they started adding extras.

The question you didn't ask is how any of those things helped Apple make more money. How does "withholding" MMS improve Apple's bottom line? How does "refusing" to put video recording on the original iPhone play into some kind of scheme?

AT&T exclusivity has been exhaustively discussed, no mystery at all: AT&T was willing to give Apple the terms they wanted, which were a radical departure from the carrier-centric model that had been in place until Apple changed it. It's one of the reasons the iPhone was a breath of fresh air in the industry, and if others have moved some ways to copy the model, that doesn't mean that Apple didn't make the right move to get the deal they did when they got it.

And, dude-- the idea that the SDK and app store were in response to jailbreakers is overripe internet hubris at its finest.

Sure, they may be some features that Apple didn't think important which popular clamor has caused them to reevaluate. MMS comes to mind, although not much else.

But so what? What point does that make? That Apple sometimes misjudges the market and sometimes corrects for that, assuming it isn't part of some larger core beliefs about the kind of things they want to build.

And? You have to be some kind of "fan boy" to reject, out of hand, some feverish notion that Apple's "arrogance" had been spanked by internet cry babies, or that because the iPhone doesn't have every feature every dreary tech boy demands it in any way indicates some weird Apple control thing that somehow hoards money that would have otherwise..... what?

They made the phone they wanted with the features they thought most important for the market they intended to sell it in. They have subsequently and steadily improved on that, just like we would have expected them to. The pattern of improvement shows clear evidence that they are feeling their way, making sure that an additions will work over the long haul, and work well.

The fact that more features appear over time doesn't "vindicate" the people that wanted those features in the first place, any more than any enhancements to anything vindicate anyone, ever.

Honestly, it's just a sort of insane argument to make, as it is predicated on the fairly insane idea that Apple made a crippled phone on purpose, because somehow that played into their hands, and has only been forced to rectify that, if only in part, by "the people" carrying on on the internet.

Occam's razor-wise, it seems a lot easier to believe that Apple intended to improve the iPhone all along, doesn't it? You know, because that's what happened to every device in the history of man.
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post #29 of 68
I was sold on push as soon as I heard the ESPN "da, da, da; da, da, da" in the release video! I can't iwait!!!
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by arsan View Post

The question "Why" is a good one, I think one can only guess. One can further extend the series of WHY questions:

- when people were crying for third party apps on the iphone platform, WHY did Steve Jobs insist on having a half baked (you can use the same duct tape metaphor here if you like) web applications instead of native applications?

- when people did the jailbreaking, why did Apple finally give up its grip (a little bit) and created an app store with native third party apps with a severely limited SDK?

- Why is there no real Gmail app like the one found in BlackBerry for example, almost any other phone has a specific gmail app?

- Why would the skype app not take benefit of the 3G even though Skype executives are publicly saying that there is nothing wrong with the app and it would work perfectly on 3G? (and it does, just this morning I was on it for 15 minutes with my dad overseas)

- Why is Iphone available only through AT&T?

- Why is there no MMS?

- Why can't you have horizontal keyboard (3.0 will do this it seems)

- Why no video recording?

- Why initially support DRM and now we are DRM-Free? Why are videos still with DRM? Why is the rental only 24 hours but not 48 or 72 making Apple TV useless in my opinion?

Most people would consider the iphone a platform that is very attractive for mobile computing. The gateway to this platform is currently controlled by Apple through the SDK and App Store process. It is a business decision to have this control in place. When iphone first came out, the control was absolute, only Apple could provide applications, then the grass roots efforts became so loud that Apple had to relent and open up App Store. Now there is similar grumbling against the decision of not allowing background applications and against draconian artificial controls, and this grumbling will eventually force Apple to re-consider their current policies, piece by piece, just like they did since the launch of this platform.

I do feel that Steve Jobs has a great vision and the talent to monetize innovation. It is only natural to try to control the revenue stream whether it is by protecting your strategic alliances (don't allow tethering, don't allow Skype on 3G for the sake of AT&T's phone minute revenues).

Sometimes, our (consumers) interests and the interests of the corporations that provide us these innovative products and services may not be perfectly aligned, thus it is quite natural to see friction. We had friction since the launch of the iphone platform and this friction is the reason the platform got better and better which each iteration and I welcome it.

Companies need to maximize their revenues, and we consumers also want maximum satisfaction from the products we buy. It is in my interest to have as many features as possible on my iphone, such as background apps, skype, horizontal keyboard, MMS, video recording, etc. As a single user, I can only have a tiny voice in nudging the corporation to what I believe the direction of the product's development should take. The biggest testament of this relationship can be seen by simply looking at the near past and the interaction between the customers and the corporation. Now Apple no longer bricks iphones. Now you don't have to go to the store to activate an iphone, soon you will get "notifications" and soon after everybody hates it, you will get true background processing, because those notifications are simply not good enough.

I guess the answer to "why" is complex, but I certainly don't believe the team at Apple is lazy or malicious. They are just trying to make sure they get the maximum benefit for Apple and by constructively discussing these issues, we are also contributing to this innovation and helping out the company deliver products that we really want and enjoy.

Sorry, I could not deliver a straight forward answer to your "why" question...

Thanks.

A lot of the questions you're putting out here have pretty obvious answers. Answers which you should know.

A number of those questions can be answered by the word "contract".

I'm sure you know that.

The answer to Why AT&T you should know as well.

Because Verizon apparently responded poorly to Apple requirements. Verizon has always been known as the most tightly tied down network. It's only been after the success of the iPhone, and the ripping away of some of Verizon's most profitable customers that they changed their rules.

It's likely they were so smug about it that they didn't want to negotiate payment either.

The last reason is CDMA. It's possible that Apple was interested in building a CDMA phone because of Verizon's position in the market at the time, but the other areas of disagreement actually led to the iPhone very possibly becoming more successful than it would have been on Verizon.

You have NO idea that jailbreaking had anything to do with the app store. From the very beginning, as I said at the time, Jobs said that there would eventually be a way to get third party apps on the iPhone, and I don't believe he meant the web apps that came first.

Why is Gmail a real" mail app, and Apple's much better mail app not a "real" mail app? That makes no sense at all, even if you do like Gmail, which I don't.

We have seen the truly crappy video recording done by jailbroken apps. That's a pretty obvious reason why the iPhone hasn't had it.

DRM. You do understand that DRM is required by the content companies, and that it took a good deal of negotiating, and concessions on Apple's part, to eliminate it for music and music videos?

Why don't you ask every other company why they have video DRM?

You have a lot of this backwards.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

How do you allocate processor cycles between 20 to 30 programs? Especially when there aren't that many processor cycles to begin with?

There might have been 620 millions of clock cycles available each second. OK, the battery (or Infineon chip?) helps itself to nearly 200 millions per second. The video playback is proven to be of decent quality with 440 millions of clock tics per second.
Let Apple send Infineon to hell and give 200 MHz to 19 more apps in background. 10 MHz to each app, not that bad, I dare say. Macintosh is said to have been capable of offering less.

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post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

There might have been 620 millions of clock cycles available each second. OK, the battery (or Infineon chip?) helps itself to nearly 200 millions per second. The video playback is proven to be of decent quality with 440 millions of clock tics per second.
Let Apple send Infineon to hell and give 200 MHz to 19 more apps in background. 10 MHz to each app, not that bad, I dare say. Macintosh is said to have been capable of offering less.


That's not a lot of cycles.

So, sure, it looks like a big number, but all numbers are big when it comes to computers. Compared to a typical desktop, those numbers are small indeed.

As I said, not many cycles.

The old Macs didn't multitask. When the later ones did, just like PC's that began to do it as well, they bogged down.

The truth is that most of the programs used back then were much smaller, and much less complex, than the programs on the iPhone now.

It really took two cpu's or cores, before multitasking became useful.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not a lot of cycles.

So, sure, it looks like a big number, but all numbers are big when it comes to computers. Compared to a typical desktop, those numbers are small indeed.

As I said, not many cycles.

The old Macs didn't multitask. When the later ones did, just like PC's that began to do it as well, they bogged down.

The truth is that most of the programs used back then were much smaller, and much less complex, than the programs on the iPhone now.

It really took two cpu's or cores, before multitasking became useful.

I was kidding, surely. This is why I'm not gonna enter in arguments. Processor speed, however, isn't key limitation, when it comes to multitasking. It never was. Just recall, <200 MHz desktop computers did multitasking 15 years ago by no means worse, than modern multiprocessor machines.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I was kidding, surely. This is why I'm not gonna enter in arguments. Processor speed, however, isn't key limitation, when it comes to multitasking. It never was. Just recall, <200 MHz desktop computers did multitasking 15 years ago by no means worse, than modern multiprocessor machines.

I disagree with you on this. I used those "multitasking" machines. Unless you were using programs that did nothing most of the time, they could just stop, dead.

Try to use two programs that actually needed the cpu, and you couldn't get anything done. The computers were too weak.

So sure, you could word process, because that only used 10% of the computers cycles unless you were scrolling down a large document, when the computer, even then, was too slow. If you're old enough, you might remember that.

Try to do that while a large spreadsheet was recalculating, and it would take twice as long to finish.

Heaven help you if you tried to do two things that needed some speed.

In fact, today's multi-core machines are best used for multitasking.

But, even now, with my dual 2.66 Mac Pro, if I try to render a movie in FCS, and work on a large Photoshop file, the computer bogs down.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Just recall, <200 MHz desktop computers did multitasking 15 years ago by no means worse, than modern multiprocessor machines.

They also weren't running modern programs which are used to demanding more from processors. Then consider that the iPhone is already using a good portion of it's available resources for other functions before you even get to 3rd-party apps.
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post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I was kidding, surely. This is why I'm not gonna enter in arguments. Processor speed, however, isn't key limitation, when it comes to multitasking. It never was. Just recall, <200 MHz desktop computers did multitasking 15 years ago by no means worse, than modern multiprocessor machines.

The iPhone is running OS X (effectively Unix). And Unix *is* multi-tasking in its boots. The iPhone has always been multi-tasking - and at any one time is running a bunch of tasks.

What the iPhone is not doing is allowing multiple 3rd party applications to run simultaneously.

On a portable device with a single screen, there is limited benefit to running two applications at once. Only one can interact with the user at a time. Unlike a desktop we can't open two windows at once. The benefit to multi-application running is small.

There are however a lot of dis-benefits to multiple applications. If an application is great, is reasonable that each application gets the lion's share of memory, and cpu performance.

If one application demands 90% of the device's resources. Then two apps will never play nicely together. If an application had to work with only a 1/5 of memory and a 1/4 of the CPU, it would dramatically weaken the experience of the device.

App switching rather than sharing is a better compromise. We don't want apps in the background draining battery, consuming resources. We do want to swiftly and seamlessly shift between one program and another.

The one app at a time rule is a good one, but what do we lose?

Audio is one. A player sits in background and continues to play audio while we do something else. Apple has made a special-case whereby the iPod app does just this. This meets most requirements but not when the audio is streaming from an application like Pandora.

Is this a deal killer for the phone buying public. Nah. It's minor.

The second case is having an app in the background doing something trivial, waiting for an external condition. A new email, a new message - etc. Again, the SMS app and the Email work in the background anyway.

The new push notification system solves the problem for third party apps, without having the requirement for the app to stay resident in memory.

These are sensible, well thought-out engineering compromises. They offer most of the benefits of multi-tasking apps with few of the disbenefits. The beneficiary is the consumer. And while people say "Wahh - I wanna browse the web, while listening to LastFM" - A lot more people would whine if the price of that change was a reduction in performance.

But I don't think this process is over. There Apple can continue to improve the device.

A better application notification system would be cool. A home-screen with twitter like scrolling list of notifications would be useful. Especially if we have lots of Apps delivering many push notifications.

I think the objection to app-switching would be much less if the app-switching was instant.
A five second delay between one app and the next is too long. So I would welcome Apple working on reducing that delay to zero. If the most recent shut-down apps could archive themselves into an reserved area of flash memory, an ultra-fast relaunch might be possible.

It would be trivial for Apple to allow multiple apps. But such a change would make the device worse and not better.

C.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I disagree with you on this. I used those "multitasking" machines. Unless you were using programs that did nothing most of the time, they could just stop, dead.

Try to use two programs that actually needed the cpu, and you couldn't get anything done. The computers were too weak.

So sure, you could word process, because that only used 10% of the computers cycles unless you were scrolling down a large document, when the computer, even then, was too slow. If you're old enough, you might remember that.

Try to do that while a large spreadsheet was recalculating, and it would take twice as long to finish.

Heaven help you if you tried to do two things that needed some speed.

In fact, today's multi-core machines are best used for multitasking.

But, even now, with my dual 2.66 Mac Pro, if I try to render a movie in FCS, and work on a large Photoshop file, the computer bogs down.

I am 41, if you wanna know. And I was old enough to have used those machines professionally. They rendered 3D models and played mp3 music simultaneously. Received and sent packets over LAN and dispatched all these activities at the same time. I'd say 50% of lemmings would be happy to have only that on iPhone.

What we had yet to see were streaming even audio and video. And yes it's video that requires all those clock cycles now.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They also weren't running modern programs which are used to demanding more from processors. Then consider that the iPhone is already using a good portion of it's available resources for other functions before you even get to 3rd-party apps.

True. I'd just make small remark, not every demanding software makes sense to be run in background. Playing video in background, hein?

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

The iPhone is running OS X (effectively Unix). And Unix *is* multi-tasking in its boots. The iPhone has always been multi-tasking - and at any one time is running a bunch of tasks.

What the iPhone is not doing is allowing multiple 3rd party applications to run simultaneously.

On a portable device with a single screen, there is limited benefit to running two applications at once. Only one can interact with the user at a time. Unlike a desktop we can't open two windows at once. The benefit to multi-application running is small.

There are however a lot of dis-benefits to multiple applications. If an application is great, is reasonable that each application gets the lion's share of memory, and cpu performance.

If one application demands 90% of the device's resources. Then two apps will never play nicely together. If an application had to work with only a 1/5 of memory and a 1/4 of the CPU, it would dramatically weaken the experience of the device.

App switching rather than sharing is a better compromise. We don't want apps in the background draining battery, consuming resources. We do want to swiftly and seamlessly shift between one program and another.

The one app at a time rule is a good one, but what do we lose?

Audio is one. A player sits in background and continues to play audio while we do something else. Apple has made a special-case whereby the iPod app does just this. This meets most requirements but not when the audio is streaming from an application like Pandora.

Is this a deal killer for the phone buying public. Nah. It's minor.

The second case is having an app in the background doing something trivial, waiting for an external condition. A new email, a new message - etc. Again, the SMS app and the Email work in the background anyway.

The new push notification system solves the problem for third party apps, without having the requirement for the app to stay resident in memory.

These are sensible, well thought-out engineering compromises. They offer most of the benefits of multi-tasking apps with few of the disbenefits. The beneficiary is the consumer. And while people say "Wahh - I wanna browse the web, while listening to LastFM" - A lot more people would whine if the price of that change was a reduction in performance.

But I don't think this process is over. There Apple can continue to improve the device.

A better application notification system would be cool. A home-screen with twitter like scrolling list of notifications would be useful. Especially if we have lots of Apps delivering many push notifications.

I think the objection to app-switching would be much less if the app-switching was instant.
A five second delay between one app and the next is too long. So I would welcome Apple working on reducing that delay to zero. If the most recent shut-down apps could archive themselves into an reserved area of flash memory, an ultra-fast relaunch might be possible.

It would be trivial for Apple to allow multiple apps. But such a change would make the device worse and not better.

C.

Ough... Seconded.

I'd sum up the barriers to wide introduction of multitasking on mobile platforms as
  • is all below worth rushing into?
  • power management issues;
  • UI issues, including design, that isn't least problem in the case;
  • dispatching issues and memory issues; it's more complex, than on desktop platforms;
  • ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ... ...
  • processor speed issues...

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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I am 41, if you wanna know. And I was old enough to have used those machines professionally. They rendered 3D models and played mp3 music simultaneously. Received and sent packets over LAN and dispatched all these activities at the same time. I'd say 50% of lemmings would be happy to have only that on iPhone.
image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...t_and_rear.jpg
image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...x-Indigo2.jpeg
What we had yet to see were streaming even audio and video. And yes it's video that requires all those clock cycles now.

There is a major difference regardless of multi-tasking abilities, and that is power access. The machines you posted zre obviously plugged in. A cellphone needs to consider the longevity of the phone first and foremost.

I don't think that Apple is against having 3rd-party apps run in the background but they do have to be careful how they do it. They've only had 3rd-party apps on the iphone for 10 months now I think that they will need a "Task Manager" app to allow you to setup which apps you are allowing to run in the background because letting every app you access start running in the background makes no sense.

I posted some logistical questions earlier in this thread:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...5&postcount=23
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