Apple's iPhone 4.0 to support multitasking via Expose-like interface



  • Reply 241 of 293
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

    Knowing Apples development model they are likely investigating many possibilities right now. As long as there are reasonable protections in place to prevent in advertant loose of data the final solution won't matter. At least for a good number of people, but there will always be those with conflicting needs.

    Limiting background apps to only thoose blessed by Apple would be a huge mistake. As to confusion, how is that a possibility? Most people don't even realize that the iPhone is multitasking now.

    Most people don't have problems with the multitasking that exists now because it's so limited - essentially, just to music. And I've seen that confuse people many times. They leave the iPod app and don't realize they forgot to pause the music, and then realize later when they unplug their headphones that they've got music running.

    Allow any and every app to do that, and you can create a mess for the average user.


    As to the benefits well that is really up to the user to decide on a case by case basis. There are certainly a host of apps that won't benefit from multitasking to which I say SO! That isn't the thing many are concerned with. Instead there is a whole class of apps that can only work well if run in background out of the users way. It isn't an issue of every user going multitasking crazy, but rather the needs of specific users in combo with limited apps.

    No one really expects to have 33 apps open at a time. Rather we are talking in the range of a couple to a half dozen. I would be surprised to see Apple address the crazies by implementing a limited number of slots for user programs.

    Not the OS but the apps.

    In any event we aren't saying refining the user interface to multitasking is easy but rather are saying that multitasking is already there. It shouldn't take forever to get there via iPhone OS 4.0.

    By the way I'm not one of these people that think 4.0 is late. Rather I'm expecting a debut around WWDC with a release sometime after.

    My god what user interface problems do Windows or Mac OS have with multitasking? People grasp those systems fairly well and iPhone OS would be a lot simpler. I can imagine dozens of ways to do so on the iPhone without even trying. A little imagination goes a long ways here.


    I respectfully suggest that it's not as easy to implement as you suggest, and if you don't think Windows and Mac have UI problems with multi-tasking, I respectfully suggest you don't watch normal people use computers. Watch non-power-users using Windows or Mac, and watch when they close a window and don't understand why the menubar still tells them they're in the program they just thought they quit (Windows does a much better job at preventing that confusion than Mac). Or watch them using Windows 7 and wonder what's happening when they mouse over a window and that live preview pops up. Don't even get me started on expose or spaces. These UIs are dreamed up by engineering teams who live and breathe computers, while 90% of users are left cold by them.

    These things are fine for people who see a computer as an end in itself, but most people see computers (and, to an even greater extent, phones) as a means to an end. Start implementing expose-like UI tricks and you're going to add very little functionality for the AI and ars and engadget boys, and at the same time you're going to create problems for everyone else.

    I hope you're right that Apple can implement this well - if anyone can, they can. Perhaps they can come up with a design such that, like you describe, people can decide and know for sure when they're doing it and when they're not, and everyone else can go along happily ignoring the whole issue. But I worry that Apple fears Android so much that they're going to screw it up.
  • Reply 242 of 293
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

    Enough! Hey guys, can we move this OT punctuation crap to a more pertinent thread... Say, a thread on Perl Regular expressions:




    How about you start with moving your silly '*' every time you post.

    What point are you trying to make?
  • Reply 243 of 293
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

    Well, Mail has timed Fetch and Push options. You can also click on the refresh button in Mail and then leave the app while it downloads any new mail. Same goes for composing; you can leave the app before it's sent knowing it will still run the appropriate services in the background.

    In v1.0-2.x Safari was often a nightmare, you'd leave the app and come back and it would refresh the page you had already loaded to read or that you had partially composed a message in. This was especially problematic with the iPod app running and multiple pages open. There just wasn't much RAM.

    With v3.0 Apple made Safari, at least on the 3GS, maintain the pages without a reload and even allowed it to run in the background. You can go to any number of web-based music streaming sites, start streaming music and and press the Home button to keep the audio playing. This has been a common workaround for the lack of streaming audio App Store apps running in the background for a year now.

    Ah yes, thanks for clarifying.
  • Reply 244 of 293
    Originally Posted by xStatiCa View Post

    I just fear that backgrounding will be easier to implement programming wise so developers will just implement the easiest thing not caring about the performance ramifications compared to the notification scheme. It would be very disappointing to see that happen because it could limit the amount of apps that I currently use.

    Not that it matters what I think. Apple and developers will do what they want regardless.

    I don't think that is a problem.

    Push Notifications are not that difficult to implement... no more difficult than polling a web site... just different.

    In fact it is more difficult to poll for notifications (create a separate thread, etc) than just handle Push Events when they arrive.

    Quality developers will do the right thing.

    And Apple's evaluation process will help assure that they do!

  • Reply 245 of 293
    gin_tonicgin_tonic Posts: 163member
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

    That's not appropriate, especially without pointing out specifics of how you know he's wrong, no thanks.

    How I know? It's simple - I read Android SDK and I create Android applications. Android OS manages system resources and application's life cycle itself, without any "manual" interaction from user side. I already posted on this forum the link to the SDK page with description of multitasking. But I'm posting this link again. So I state that the following statement:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Other platforms that do support the launching of multiple apps, including Android and Windows Mobile, require users to manually manage system resources and kill off performance robbing background tasks.

    is a piece of lie.

    And, please, return my original post back
  • Reply 246 of 293
    I just got this:


    Thank you for your recent Apple iPad purchase.

    Our records indicate that when you placed your iPad pre-order, you

    chose to pay for expedited shipping.

    Expedited shipping is not necessary to ensure delivery. Apple has

    processed a refund for the shipping charge on your order.

    Now, that's what I like!

  • Reply 247 of 293
    felipurfelipur Posts: 42member
    Originally Posted by MatthewF View Post

    Exactly. By default:

    Double-press when the phone is locked produces the iPod controls, which is super-handy.

    Double-press when the phone is unlocked produces the phone Favorites list, which is super-handy.

    Seems unlikely that they'd add multi-tasking into the double-tapping mix. I'll believe it only when I see it (or Steve Jobs personally tells me in advance).

    Double-press when the phone is running an app produces the active app screen. Seems quite compatible with the other uses.
  • Reply 248 of 293
    Originally Posted by joeYYY View Post

    Does Android still does not have a built-in method to kill an app? This is certainly not a clean and easy-to-use implementation for multitasking.

    If it makes you sleep better at night, it has a built-in task manager, since 2.0 it's also possible to manage services.
  • Reply 249 of 293
    allblueallblue Posts: 393member
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

    We can, however, agree that Pedant Express's 'Grammar' reference was incorrect!

    Ahem! From Wiki again (my emphasis added again):


    In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of sentences, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics. Linguists do not normally use the term to refer to orthographical rules, although usage books and style guides that call themselves grammars may also refer to spelling and punctuation.

    Runs away and hides behind the sofa.
  • Reply 250 of 293
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post

    Riiiight, that's what it is. It's not calling the phone the best phone ever then dismissing why people have legitimate reasons not to call it that.


    No, not at all. What I expect is for people to stop touting things as something they aren't. "Well Steve Jobs says that" Oh STEVE JOBS said that, did he?

    Case in point: Multitasking. This rumor is very hard to believe because Steve Jobs constantly said multitasking was such a drain on the device.

    ...Stop with the bullshit. If the iphone is missing a feature, don't convince yourself you never wanted that feature just to stay happy with the device. It's a great phone, but it's ok to say it's lacking. It's ok to not repeat everything Steve Jobs says.

    I see the same thing happening with Flash. Whether it's a year from now or 10 years from now...

    You are reading a lot into what others say too. Most people don't miss something if it isn't there and you can't blame them for saying so. I love copy and paste on the iPhone but didn't miss it before and am only now (after nearly 3 years) using it to any significant degree (3-5 times per week). Multi-tasking is another since almost everything I use saves state well enough for me not to miss it. If I actually used my Pandora or Navigon apps I might care more. That said, when it comes, I'm sure I will enjoy it.

    When Steve says something it is to answer the mail that day in the way he thinks will give the best answer to his target audience (usually consumers, sometimes analysts, rarely geeks). He doesn't care that he will be proved later to have been "wrong" when he does the thing he said he wouldn't, e.g. Video on an iPod, copy and paste, multi-tasking. This experience should tell us all that everything Steve says should be taken with a pinch of salt. To think otherwise is naive.

    However some things he seems to take a firmer line on. Flash is one of them - if it takes 10 years (even 5), there will be no more flash and we will be on HTML7. He also seems to want to outlast BluRay too. I expect less movement on these two.
  • Reply 251 of 293
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


  • Reply 252 of 293
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    The only reason the vast majority of people wanted multi-tasking was to use internet radio apps while doing other stuff, now they'll be able to do this.

    The reason to get excited here isn't multi-tasking, it's faster app switching. I don't use internet radio apps, so it's kind of a "that'll shut them up" addition for me.

    The main thing the next iPhone needs is a physically narrow size hardware shell. Like the way the 2G was narrower than both the 3G and the 3G S - even though the display itself isn't narrower. There's room to take it down to 59, even 57 mm wide without touching the display width. Case in point: The iPhone 2G is more comfortable and easier to hold.

    Says you. It comes down to hand size and personal preference.
  • Reply 253 of 293
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

    Oh! So, a good programmer could write a better multitasking app for the iPhone than for Android.

    I guess that might be one of the reasons that Apple is deemphasizing Java support.


    A question was asked and I provided a one line factual answer to that. No agendas.

    I have no idea what point you are trying to make, because that post misses just about every mark.
  • Reply 254 of 293
    roboduderobodude Posts: 273member
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post

    Now all of a sudden multi-tasking is cool, isn't it guys?

    It's so funny how these things (like copy and paste) are looked at with great disdain up until Apple actually implements it.

    From here on out: Stop making excuses for why Apple has left something out. Start thinking for yourself. Artificial limitations require no excuse other than the fact that development hasn't reached that point yet.

    The next time someone bitches about the ipad or iphone missing something, don't try to come up with some bogus excuse for why it's not there. You're not fooling anyone.

    Let's see the backtracking once the iPad gets a webcam.

    I'm looking forward to 4.0, it just be pretty stellar, especially if Apple want to continue their yearly update cycles. Hopefully a sleeker form factor and better RAM are in the works. Also, make it better at getting reception - this problem isn't just limited to AT&T...! (O2, UK)

    As others have noted 'saving state', 'backgrounding' and 'fast-switching' are the implementations of multi-tasking that we're missing. The first is already there, apparently.
  • Reply 255 of 293
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Originally Posted by justflybob View Post

    OK. So it may well have multitasking functionality.

    But...... will it be snappier?

    Not until they remove the debug code.
  • Reply 256 of 293
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,977member
    Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post

    If it's a well written app then it should behave in that way already except that you would actually be quitting and restarting it. In terms of the user interaction there should be no difference except for the possible (minimal) overhead of the quit and relaunch.

    As a general rule, I think it is better to design a system that depends as little as possible on how "well written" 3rd party software is. The "well written" argument was used for a long time to justify the lack of preemptive multitasking in the classic Mac OS (the line was that cooperative multitasking works just fine so long as the programs are "well written"). The "well written" argument is also used to justify the lack of stability of windows PCs (it's always those evil driver-writers fault). One of the things that I like about the iPhone is that Apple takes responsibility for the user experience, including the experience using 3rd party apps. I really like that.
  • Reply 257 of 293
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Originally Posted by mrkoolaid View Post

    Apple's mutlitasking must now get patented. Apple's version will be far superior to anyone else's. Just look how Apple redefined cut & paste and MMS. No one does it better than Apple.

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    Your username suits you.

    I think you missed his invisible <sarcasm> tags. Now re-read, then go do a Homer.
  • Reply 258 of 293
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,977member
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

    Of course we don't get a good idea here as these are rumors. Really this could even be planted information.

    As to multitasking you really don't have a clue do you. Multitasking by definition means you have the system managing multiple processes for the user. Without the apps executing in background you would not actually benefit from multitasking. The path you advocate would be a big fail.

    As to apps burning up the battery while running in background that is the users responsibility. But here is the important thing, there is a lot of development going on for iPad, the low power apps will win out when they can. Often though the execution of a background app is so important that burnning up the battery won't matter. It is all about making the unit meet the needs of the user.

    By the way you probably fail to realize that one won't be required to multi task apps. The reality is multitasking has zero impact on people that don't have a strong need for it.

    Sounds like you want execution suspended. That is not a bad thing in this case. I would imagine Apple would provide developers with a way to suspend apps if they are in background. However this can't be the default behaviour as many apps need their CPU time in background.

    You have never had Safari or Mail crash on you requiring a restart? The sad reality is that programming is an art not a hard science there will never be a bug free OS. Besides that once iPhone supports multiple processors and OpenCL there will be hundreds of threads flying about. In case you are wondering, yes I expect to eventually see GCD and OpenCL on iPhone OS, such technologies are the best way to up performance while managing power usage.

    That would be fairly stupid of them as it would set them up with a short term OS. Like it or not the Cortex Line will move to even smaller and lower power processes. This means more room for cores (both CPU & GPU), on board caches & buffers and a host of other things. So imagining what is in A4 double or quadruple that capacity in two years or so. In other words let's say that A4 has four cores, in two to three years you could have an iPad with sixteen cores ( given that a new Cortex line comes out with the SMP support). It is not an issue of die space as the Cortex cores are extremely small now.

    So why would Apple put fetters as you call it on the OS when they have an even better idea of where tech is going than I do? Computation in an ALU is extremely cheap these days with respect to power usage, it is real world I/O that kills battery life. Note that a single Cortex A9 core can run on as little as 250mW of power today, it's possible that what Apple implemented is even less. So by the time you are done with your SoC you may only be seeing two or three watts being used to run the entire SoC flat out. Apple has to build up iPhone OS for the long haul, that includes a workd with lots of computational resources. Because there is one certainy in the future, that is more cores and or lower power.

    This doesn't even get into what is needed to develop modern responsive apps these days. It is just not wise to take away the features that developers need to make your hardware shine. Rather you want to give developers capability not seen on other platforms.


    Thanks for the lecture, Professor Dave, but I do know what multitasking is. My point, which perhaps needs to be made more explicitly, is that I don't think that there is a great need for actual multitasking on a smart phone beyond a narrow range of scenarios. On my Mac Pro, where I might be running 16 simultaneous monte carlo simulations in the background for a couple of days, I have a real need for true multitasking. I want to be able to do other things, sometimes even other CPU-intensive things, while those tasks are running.

    But if you really pay attention to how people use a smart phone, rather than just focusing on some arbitrary feature checklist, you'll find that there is actually a very limited need for multitasking. Most of the time, what people really want, is totally seamless task switching, not true multitasking. Some of the time, there is a genuine need to have true multitasking. The iPhone already enables many of these scenarios, but in a very controlled way. My hope is that OS 4 will enable some more scenarios, but still in a controlled way. For example, I would hope that I could run Pandora in the background under OS4. But I DO NOT want to have an app like Monopoly running in the background and I DO NOT want to rely on third parties providing "well written" apps.

    The "fetters" that I refer to are not fetters on the OS, but fetters on developers. The iPhone OS is perfectly capable of preemptive multitasking, in fact it does it all the time. The restriction on 3rd party developers is not due to some technical limitation. It's due to Apple's desire to protect users from badly written software.

    Like OSX, the iPhone OS is a collection of tradeoffs made for practical, not ideological, reasons. Those tradeoffs might not be appealing to purists, but I appreciate them.
  • Reply 259 of 293
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    I know. It's embarrassing.

    The real reason they didn't added it was the OS wasn't mature enough, and they hadn't figured out a simple solution to the problem.

    Furthermore Prince's posts on the iPhone OS and multi-tasking were cringe-worth. Clawing at straws for excuses as to why Apple didn't have what people wanted. And then trying to persuade us they did. The truth is his long-gray-beard post on the subject could have been summed up in as follows:

    The majority of people who say they want multi-taskng on the iPhone want the ability to run an app like "an internet radio app" while they use other apps on the device, like Safari. Until Apple adds this ability people will never stop asking Apple for multi-tasking.

    Apple noticing people kept asking the question and having found a simple solution are finally getting round to adding it,

    It seems to be you that is clawing at reasons. Apple doesn't do something because you (or even a million geeks) asked for it. These "people" of which you speak are all over the tech boards but are still a small minority of the 75M iOS users out there.

    I believe that Apple think and act like the corporation they are because they think it will drive the next wave of sales and make them more money. I agree, the OS has been maturing but to imagine that Apple didn't give us multi-tasking because they either couldn't or didn't think that people would use it is naive. They didn't do it because they didn't have to, users didn't need it for the most part and the HW was not that strong until the 3GS. Add to that that they probably wanted to save it for later (drive the next HW release) and get it right (easier said than done - see C&P). The iPhone didn't need it to become a leading smartphone platform, but now with the competition of the past 5 months (Droid and later) they probably do. It hasn't hurt them significantly up to now (just a lot of whining from irrelevant nerds). I doubt it would in the next year or so either but it makes sense to release it with 4.0 where the 3GS and HD will be able to handle it.

    The inflated egos on this board never cease to amaze...
  • Reply 260 of 293
    Originally Posted by CIM View Post

    Apple usually stops supporting dying technology before it is dead.

    As long as Windows systems dominate the market share Flash will be around for a very long time. Its far from dead.

    While people here don't want to believe it, the fact is OSX is the issue not Flash. Under Windows the correct API's are accessed and Flash uses GPU hardware acceleration to take the load off the CPU.

    As an example Safari under OSX uses close to 30% CPU, Safari for Windows less then 8%.

    For those that don't want to buy into this fact anyone can test this if they are using a Macbook, MBP, iMac , Mac Pro or Mini running bootcamp.
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