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

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  • Reply 121 of 293
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


    It's funny, I would have said exactly the same as you until this past Monday. I've always maintained that non-techy types really couldn't care less about multitasking, but on Monday my wife (far from techy) was complaining that when she'd been looking at her Yelp app, if she clicked to view the map, it automatically launched Maps, but that she had to re-start the Yelp app again to go back to it, so I guess non-techy users do want something along these lines as well.



    It's also a sign that the Yelp app needs work on remembering it's previous state so that it doesn't have to "restart". If this remember-and-start-from-previous-state were implemented in more apps it would be pretty indistinguishable from multi-tasking. Some speed of launch situations will favor true multi-tasking but I would hazard the guess the majority can work well with remember-and-start-from-previous-state.
  • Reply 122 of 293
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by felipur View Post


    event handing - skype calls arriving, new mail, facebook updates. This is what push notification is for.



    task switching - go from yelp to map to safari to monopoly to back to yelp. This sounds like what the expose interface would be for. Apps get suspend events and then are just frozen until they are switched back. Then they get a resume event. They don't run in the background at all, they just pick up where they left off.



    background tasks - the only area where true multitasking is important. Pandora playing music, GPS tracking, downloading. I think Apple will only allow this for specific services through a background management API. They'll start with a very few use cases where an app can register to play music, or maintain a network connection, or similar and add more services as people come up with new things that really require background operation.



    The article talks about multitasking but there isn't really enough information to tell if it is more than just task switching, which is what I think it is. That would still provide a huge percentage of the benefits people actually want from multitasking, and with zero battery impact.



    Nice post.



    I don't really get how task-switching improves things from where they are now. The iPhone OS - or rather iPhone apps - are supposed to save their states so that when you return to them, you're right back to where you left off. All the apps that I use do this perfectly, even games.



    I remember when the Palm Pre first came out, and people said "I can leave my browser, flick it away and send off an email, and then flick back to the browser and I'm right where I left off. You iphone users try that!"



    But iPhones do exactly that right now without "multitasking." If you click the home button, go do something else, in most cases when you come back you're wherever you left off.



    Adding some additional expose-like UI for task switching would seem to me to just clutter things up while adding nothing.
  • Reply 123 of 293
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post


    People get consfused with OSX because clicking "x" does not close the program (most of the time). That would not be the case in iPhone OS. Safari has already shown how the Expose portion would work (although it sounds like we will be dealing with icons not images of the app). You would simply activate expose and an "x" would appear in the top left corner of each icon. Click the "x" and the program is closed.



    The only source of confusion would be what happens to an app when you hit the home button? Does it close or remain open? This could be mitigated in many ways. There could be a first run dialog box asking what you want the app to do when you hit the home button with instructions to access the setting if you want to change the default behavior at a later date. You could get a popup when you hit the home button to exit the app that says the app is still running in the background, or a box asking the user if they wanted to close the app or run it in the background, possibly with the option to set a default behavior. Or Apple could introduce two distinct ways to "close" an app. One would close it, the other would set it to run in the background. I don't think the hurdles are as great as you seem to think they are. Apple could definitely come up with an intuitive system.



    Yeah, I agree. According to the article, it sounds like a single-click of the Home button would quit the app, and a double-click would leave it running, and possibly also invoke some list of running apps. Blech.
  • Reply 124 of 293
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jodyfanning View Post


    Funny, Nokia had that same interface in S60/Symbian in 2002. Who is copying who?



    The point is, Apple is not "inventing" this interface, and it's nothing like Expose.



    Besides, Apple and Nokia are not really competitors. iPhone and Android are the two big boys in the US, Nokia has zero presence here.
  • Reply 125 of 293
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Ahh.... that is good to know. So an Android developer gets some built-in assistance for the memory management, but it comes at a price.



    Does Android allow manual deallocation of memory?



    *



    Android is programmed in Java. There is no manual memory management model in Java.
  • Reply 126 of 293
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Yeah, I agree. According to the article, it sounds like a single-click of the Home button would quit the app, and a double-click would leave it running, and possibly also invoke some list of running apps. Blech.



    That sounds like a faulty methodology for enabling running apps. I only read that double-tapping the Home button would access Exposé's list of running apps.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schammy View Post


    Besides, Apple and Nokia are not really competitors. iPhone and Android are the two big boys in the US, Nokia has zero presence here.



    Sure they are. The iPhone is sold outside the US. More than half their sales are outside the US and shortly Europe will account for more sales than the US.
  • Reply 127 of 293
    svnippsvnipp Posts: 430member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post


    They've come up with a different solution for the iPad in OS 3.2 though. There will be a disk mode, just not the traditional one we are accustomed to seeing. It will make it to the iPhone in due time.



    I'm curious about this also. It seems pretty obvious though since you have productivity apps like iWork available for the iPad that you are going to have to be able to save files, and this implies some kind of file management/filesystem. This also raises the question about being able to map/mount network drives, and also printing is another question here. My hope is that OS 4 will address all of these items in addition to multitasking though I have to think that at least basic file management has to be included in the iPad at launch.
  • Reply 128 of 293
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    That sounds like a faulty methodology for enabling running apps. I only read that double-tapping the Home button would access Exposé's list of running apps.



    Yeah, it would be terrible, but I'd like to hear ideas on how else you could distinguish between quitting and switching.



    I still frankly just don't believe it. I could see them allowing backgrounding on a case-by-case basis, such as allowing Pandora to work like iPod music works now, but I see mostly confusion and very little benefit to allowing all apps to run freely in the background.



    Most people who write about this just say "Apple needs to turn on multi-tasking" as if they just click a box when they compile the OS and it's done. This is a huge UI problem - just look at Windows and Mac OS - and I can't even envision how it can be implemented on the iPhone without creating the same UI problems.
  • Reply 129 of 293
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,712member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Nice post.



    I don't really get how task-switching improves things from where they are now. The iPhone OS - or rather iPhone apps - are supposed to save their states so that when you return to them, you're right back to where you left off. All the apps that I use do this perfectly, even games.



    I remember when the Palm Pre first came out, and people said "I can leave my browser, flick it away and send off an email, and then flick back to the browser and I'm right where I left off. You iphone users try that!"



    But iPhones do exactly that right now without "multitasking." If you click the home button, go do something else, in most cases when you come back you're wherever you left off.



    Adding some additional expose-like UI for task switching would seem to me to just clutter things up while adding nothing.



    Invoking an expose like app in order to multi task could work well. Imo it would need to be an app itself, preferably in the dock and which shows how many apps are currently running. It's only purpose would be to let users select apps and to display the number of apps currently running. Prefs would enable user to switch 'extended' multitasking on and off and to limit the number of apps allowed to run simultaneously.
  • Reply 130 of 293
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    It's also a sign that the Yelp app needs work on remembering it's previous state so that it doesn't have to "restart". If this remember-and-start-from-previous-state were implemented in more apps it would be pretty indistinguishable from multi-tasking. Some speed of launch situations will favor true multi-tasking but I would hazard the guess the majority can work well with remember-and-start-from-previous-state.



    That's true. To be honest, when she mentioned it and I had a look myself it is one of the few occasions I've found myself looking at the iPhone and thinking, "that's not really good enough".



    I don't really care much about what the solution is called, but it did seem like something that could be made better.
  • Reply 131 of 293
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by svnipp View Post


    I'm curious about this also. It seems pretty obvious though since you have productivity apps like iWork available for the iPad that you are going to have to be able to save files, and this implies some kind of file management/filesystem. This also raises the question about being able to map/mount network drives, and also printing is another question here. My hope is that OS 4 will address all of these items in addition to multitasking though I have to think that at least basic file management has to be included in the iPad at launch.



    Again I ask: if it will be included at the iPad's launch, then why hasn't it been detailed like the rest of the functionality?
  • Reply 132 of 293
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    People who make lists like this are assholes.



    Why? Because it's true? Or because you have no rebuttal and must resort to ad-hominem attacks?



    P.S. I see a ban in your future for the language.
  • Reply 133 of 293
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Yeah, it would be terrible, but I'd like to hear ideas on how else you could distinguish between quitting and switching.



    I still frankly just don't believe it. I could see them allowing backgrounding on a case-by-case basis, such as allowing Pandora to work like iPod music works now, but I see mostly confusion and very little benefit to allowing all apps to run freely in the background.



    Most people who write about this just say "Apple needs to turn on multi-tasking" as if they just click a box when they compile the OS and it's done. This is a huge UI problem - just look at Windows and Mac OS - and I can't even envision how it can be implemented on the iPhone without creating the same UI problems.



    I'm with you. I don't think there should be any user interaction with the very technical concept of multi-tasking on a mobile device. I don't want any dialog boxes or pop ups asking me what to do when I hit the Home button. I don't want to have to choose which apps to quit if memory starts running low. If there's a way for Apple to implement this with no or very little user involvement, then fine. But users shouldn't have to start thinking about or worry about technical things.
  • Reply 134 of 293
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Yeah, it would be terrible, but I'd like to hear ideas on how else you could distinguish between quitting and switching.



    I still frankly just don't believe it. I could see them allowing backgrounding on a case-by-case basis, such as allowing Pandora to work like iPod music works now, but I see mostly confusion and very little benefit to allowing all apps to run freely in the background.



    Most people who write about this just say "Apple needs to turn on multi-tasking" as if they just click a box when they compile the OS and it's done. This is a huge UI problem - just look at Windows and Mac OS - and I can't even envision how it can be implemented on the iPhone without creating the same UI problems.



    The general concept I'm expecting is laid out under my reply to Dick Applebaum in this post.
  • Reply 135 of 293
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Apple has sold millions of iPhones without multitasking.



    Will this ignorance never die? IPhone OS multitasked from day one with a limtation of one third party app.

    Quote:

    I think it's pretty clear by now that normal users don't care. The tech-wannabes do but not the general public.



    That is crap, who do you think is asking for these features? Some of those requests are direct and others indirect, the end result is a demonstrated need for more third party multitasking.

    Quote:

    If anyone thinks this will in any way silence the critics they are sorely mistaken. The critics will always find something to bitch about.



    What are you a Democrat wanting to silence people here? You certainly sound like one. I know this bothers you terribly but people have opinion that differ widely from yours, Apples and everyone elses.



    Besides I'm not so much interested in multitasking as I'm interested in correcting a lot of the ignorance on these boards. More user control over multitasking doesn't mean more battery drain in every case, for some it could mean less power usage. Likewise with memory. Even when a background app is demanding that is clearly the users responsibility, apple will never know what combo of apps will be used at the same time so the system implemented needs to be suitable for general needs.

    Quote:

    Multitasking on the iPhone will probably not be implemented in the way critics want it to be so they will still have a hard-on for Apple and its products. Never fear, Apple critics are never satisfied, ever.



    Yes and some people never grow up. Think about what you are saying here, because the implication is that Apple should never respond to user needs nor look forward to improved technology. Instead you seem to be of the opinion that iPhone OS is done, finished with nothing better possible in the future. That is a sign of a mind that can't dream, can't imagine

    nor desire. This to me is very sad.





    Dave
  • Reply 136 of 293
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,712member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by svnipp View Post


    I'm curious about this also. It seems pretty obvious though since you have productivity apps like iWork available for the iPad that you are going to have to be able to save files, and this implies some kind of file management/filesystem. This also raises the question about being able to map/mount network drives, and also printing is another question here. My hope is that OS 4 will address all of these items in addition to multitasking though I have to think that at least basic file management has to be included in the iPad at launch.



    In the demo videos there is no mention of saving apps and no save command as far as I can see. It would make sense to be able to save locally. I suspect a lot of people will have the iPad as their only computer. The file system might be in the form of an app similar to the mobileMe app where the most recently used files are available locally. This idea could / ought to be extended to direct local storage without a requirement to have a iwork.com or mobileMe subscription.
  • Reply 137 of 293
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by felipur View Post


    Reading the article suggests that this is exactly the use case the Apple is addressing. But this doesn't require multitasking, it only requires task switching. An expose type interface would solve the task switching problem and further limit the need for "true" multitasking.



    Traditional preemptive multitasking is a kludge. It was designed to make the programmer's life easier, not because it was actually the best, or even a good, way to run tasks simultaneously. It requires enormous complexity at the OS level to do it right but it allows the programmer to just ignore the whole foreground / background issue and assume that their program is the only thing running.



    Apple is generally not very supportive of making the programmer's life easier if it makes the user's life harder. I suspect that they are not ever going to allow multitasking in the way the Mac OS or Android does.



    People mean different things when they say "multitasking". Mostly they mean one of three things:



    event handing - skype calls arriving, new mail, facebook updates. This is what push notification is for.



    task switching - go from yelp to map to safari to monopoly to back to yelp. This sounds like what the expose interface would be for. Apps get suspend events and then are just frozen until they are switched back. Then they get a resume event. They don't run in the background at all, they just pick up where they left off.



    background tasks - the only area where true multitasking is important. Pandora playing music, GPS tracking, downloading. I think Apple will only allow this for specific services through a background management API. They'll start with a very few use cases where an app can register to play music, or maintain a network connection, or similar and add more services as people come up with new things that really require background operation.



    The article talks about multitasking but there isn't really enough information to tell if it is more than just task switching, which is what I think it is. That would still provide a huge percentage of the benefits people actually want from multitasking, and with zero battery impact.





    That's a very good and concise analysis... maybe AI should hire you to write the articles.



    I certainly would enjoy them more without the niggling Prince digs, inferences and biases.





    The iPhone OS has an existing facility that could to resolve the Yelp-to-Map-to-Yelp issue:



    1) One app can launch another app and pass it information. At present the launching app terminates.

    2) The launched app starts and can recognize the fact that it was launched by another and has been passed some information

    3) The launched app does its thing then could relaunch the original app (or any other app in a daisy-chain) and pass results to it.



    A variation of this would allow an app to show, say, a list of an artists albums for sale, to access the iTunes stores (Music, App, Books); browse/buy items; then return as if you never left the original app.



    A small change to Push notifications would allow a notification to silently start an app (no dialog alert). This would, necessarily,

    require pre-approval by the user.



    I've made Feature Requests for both of the above.



    *
  • Reply 138 of 293
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schammy View Post


    Yeah, except everything he said was true - Android does multitasking very well (my battery life is no worse than it was when I had an iPhone), and allowing you to install "non-approved" apps is a good thing, not a bad thing as the original article suggests. The article's spin on non-approved apps was that you're opening yourself up to being hacked. The exact same thing applies to the desktop - you'd crap bricks if the only things you could install on your desktop OS X machine were Apple-approved.



    So these arguments are fine for us geeks, and don't tell chronster, but if he were just a tad less "up in my face" about it - I could agree with many of his points. The fact remains that the iPhone is targeted for the average consumer, not us. Just like the fact that you (and I) don't mind running "unapproved apps" (which is again great), the average consumer isn't necessarily as savvy as you nor are able to cope with odd little idiocyncracies as the rest of us here. That's the perceived draw-back of the Apple approach - lowest common denominator stuff, not feature-driven. And yeah, I've installed all kinds of CRAP on my computer (Mac and PC alike) because I could (Limewire anyone?), but in the odd case that it messed me up - I'm fine with rebuilding, repairing, removing or hacking the problem. The average person isn't. Why do you think that ubiquitous items like regular appliances and vehicles tend towards the simple and common interfaces and controls? Why is automatic transmission standard equipment (try driving a Model T sometime - gives you an appreciation for modern vehicles). I LOVE kit like the N900 or N97 Nokia, but they aren't as user-friendly out-of-pocket as the iPhone. And worse, while I like the concept and look forward to Android building out for Nexus One and other devices, I don't want to have to think twice when I need ease-of-use instantly and without question. Which is why I've never jail-broken my iPhone.



    And let's face it - there are millions more of the "average consumer" than there are of us geeks. Yeah some are smarter than others and some are more adventurous than others but when it comes down to it, Apple broke-open the smartphone category and invited in a bunch more average consumers than had ever before used a smartphone. Our private little garden is being trampled by the clueless and simplistic, which means that Apple will cater first to what makes things work best for them, and then get around to giving some attention to our wants, needs and desires once the marketshare is assured. Fair? Hell no. Locked-down yeah that suxxors too. Limiting, yes, much too much some days. The best experience, arguable but totally dependent on the user. I happen to like how Apple implemented their version of cut/paste, and I'm glad they spent the time to get it as good as it is. Can I live with a closed system - sure as long as it let's me have the ease-of-use I want, the reliability and incremental improvements that seem to keep coming.
  • Reply 139 of 293
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    You do mean 'Punctuation' Central?



    (Only since it was the Pedant Express!).



    I don't think accents count as punctuation either (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuation)

    Most generally this would rather be a job for the spelling police, or maybe a job for a diacritic.

  • Reply 140 of 293
    chiachia Posts: 712member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allblue View Post


    Crikey! I'll see your extra pedantic and raise you a nit-pick. From the 'Acute Accent' page at Wiki (my added emphasis):



    The English language eh? What a palaver!



    Tell me about it!



    Just as "There's always a bigger fish" it's also true that

    "just when you think you're a pedant, you realise you've not been pedantic enough"!





    Fair cop and who says one doesn't get an education on this site!
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