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Multitasking In For iPhone 4.0?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the could-it-be dept.

Iphone 345

The latest word on the iPhone is that the 4.0 OS will finally have honest-to-goodness multitasking. This could hopefully lead to things like a real chat client, and dangerous battery consumption. I still hope it's true.

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ipad might be worthwile (3, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441664)

this would be AWESOME for the ipad, might even make it worthwhile.

... responds to iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442386)

Can't wait to see the next Hitler Responds to... video about this.

Yah but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441674)

Can it run linux?

Re:Yah but... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442304)

Yes.

Re:Yah but... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442746)

It can, but Apple won't let you becasue they don't see the need for you to use the device how you want. It is all about what Apple wants.

i'll believe it when i see it (3, Insightful)

jacktherobot (1538645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441686)

I think i've heard this before...

It's a freakin' PHONE (-1, Troll)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441694)

Who cares if it multitasks? The whole argument is just something cooked up by the anti-Apple crowd as ammunition to use against the iPhone.

They haven't been phones for years (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441728)

It's a computer with wireless.

 

Re:They haven't been phones for years (1)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442056)

my laptop already has wireless, and i have own it for longer than 3 years!

Re:They haven't been phones for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442080)

To you it is a computer with wireless. It isn't to the vast majority of consumers, to them it's a phone, PDA and content delivery platform (music and video).

Re:They haven't been phones for years (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442244)

That's their loss.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441736)

Yep, it should perform only one task at a time, ie either transmit what_you_speak or receive what the other person speaks. Just like a walky-talky. Sound absurd? So is your argument!

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441880)

Well if full-duplex is your definition of multitasking, you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that the iPhone already multitasks just as well as the StarTac.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441740)

YEAH! Why have a cell phone.. I think there are pay phone things somewhere... I saw one on Superman.

Streaming music player + other app (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441746)

What if I want to use a streaming music player and some other app at the same time? As it stands, current iPhone OS is capable of multitasking the built-in iPod software with other apps, but not streaming music with other apps.

Re:Streaming music player + other app (3, Informative)

nangus (1026732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441874)

Well if multi tasking is implemented as a series of call backs so that any process that is waiting on data is not consuming clock cycles then there should be no more drain when "multitasking" then when running one application. I have never written anything in objective C but with most of my embedded c programming I am able to put any processes that is not doing anything to sleep, so it does not consume extra power.

As far as I can tell using the backgrounder on my jail broken iphone when not actively working most programs still consume cycles. So almost all of this could be fixed if the wait() call is not properly implemented in the lib.

Re:Streaming music player + other app (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442268)

Push notifications were supposed to do this. The app has most of its logic on the server, and only pushes things to the iPhone when needed. (Push notifications are a relatively new feature, so they may not be all they're hyped up to be.) I think that's the iPhone-blessed (ugh!) way of "getting a series of call backs"

If iPhone OS 4.0 allows background tasks -- and I'm not convinced it will -- they really only become useful if the background process is *not* sleeping. Examples of background processes would be:
  • VOIP (while doing other things on the phone, like looking up an email address)
  • Streaming music
  • GPS navigation (because the GPS information needs to be processed before the app knows whether to alert you about the next left turn, or not)

I have heard that wait() is broken in the current implementation, and it needs to be fixed in order for multitasking to really work well. +1 on that one.

Re:Streaming music player + other app (1, Informative)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442666)

Very much incorrect. Most computer programs spend most of their time "sleeping" while they are not actively updating the display, receiving input from somewhere, or actively processing something. This is the standard non-realtime paradigm used for almost two decades in commodity computers. Did you ever notice that your CPU is not running "at 100%" all the time?

Re:Streaming music player + other app (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442010)

jailbroken iPhones can run pandora streaming in the background while doing other stuff (including email, web, etc)... the same as the iPod background mode. Honestly that was my number one reason to jailbreak.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

BitwiseX (300405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441766)

If I wanted a freakin' phone I would have just bought a RAZR or something, but I wanted a SMART phone. You don't think iPhone users want this? *raises hand* I do!

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (4, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442008)

Obviously, they do want it. And I was in the "geez, why doesn't Apple enable true multi-tasking?" crowd along with most other people. However, after playing with my new iPod touch (thanks sis - she knows I'm too cheap to buy this stuff myself) and comparing it to my Android, I think Apple is smart.

The Apple UI is so smooth compared to Android's, there really is no comparison. I HATE lag when I'm dealing with a UI, and Android's multi-tasking Java based applications take a good 1-3 seconds to do anything I tell them to do. If there's any chance Apple would have impacted their UI performance to enable multi-tasking, I think they made a great move.

I still wouldn't switch from an Android to an iPhone because of the restrictions (and I'm not going to wager hundreds of dollars on a jailbreak), but now I see why people enjoy Apple products.

For most users multi-tasking is a secondary concern to a nice UI.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (2, Interesting)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442104)

What Android phone do you have? My Motorola Droid is mostly instantious (give or take a few milliseconds) unless it's low on memory. Sure it has the occasional slowdown, but 98%+ of button presses are more or less instant.

I have no problem with the Android UI. It's pretty damn simple. Press the button on what you want to do, and there is an auxillary button for options. I havn't used an Iphone, but what do they do that's really so much better?

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442468)

I've got the first t-mobile phone; I bought it a year or so ago, so the hardware is a bit slower. But I find that when I've got browsers going, along with my background weather program and I fire up a map or a game, things are extremely slow. Yes, I could go in and close everything down, but with Apple I hop from one task to the next. However, even if I did close everything down, the UI wouldn't be as responsive (again, maybe it's the hardware or the multiple Android OS patches that have been sent my way or the last few months)

Smooth, simple, easy. And speaking for myself, when I'm using a portable computer, that's all I really need. But that's just MHO

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442240)

Android Lag? Check out a Nexus One. I had an iPhone user today try mine out and literally order one 10 minutes later. Thanks Snapdragon!

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (0, Flamebait)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442394)

As a counter to your example, I tried a Nexus One a couple weeks ago and still prefer my iPhone 3G. Just putting it out there.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (2, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442338)

What android phone are you using? I have a nexus one and it is just as snappy as any Iphone, at a considerably higher resolution. There are also optimization techniques that Google hasn't made prime-time yet, that really increase the overall performance of all apps running in a dalvik vm: zipalign-on-install.

Apple's decision to not include multitasking from the start was likely a decision to keep things as simple as possible. Now they're playing catch-up and tacking on multi-tasking to a system that was built from the ground-up without it. I don't understand how this will not break app compatibility. Existing apps only understand certain "states." Multitasking will introduce new application states that existing apps will not know how to handle. I am very interested in how they plan to reconcile this.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442790)

"I still wouldn't switch from an Android to an iPhone because of the restrictions (and I'm not going to wager hundreds of dollars on a jailbreak), but now I see why people enjoy Apple products."

The current Jailbreaking method is actually very ease to implement and just as easy to undue.
Pretty much you download an EXE from blackra1n.com and then run it. Boom Jailbroken.

To undo the Jailbreak simple do a factory restore on phone from itunes.

There are more complex ways to do this, but the above method is pretty safe and simple. //cool story bro...

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441780)

Except it's not just a phone ... it's a "smart phone."

The term may be vague/undefined, but it's understandable that some think it implies a more general computing environment. Apple's "app" concept doesn't help that perception. Why should multitasking be such a foreign concept?

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441810)

i was gonna ask what's the point of chat? but i suppose if it could more than 2 people at a time, that could be useful.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441860)

not having multi-tasking means you cant run the chat app in the background, so everytime you want to go to your webbrowser, the chat app completely closes, you go offline etc...

so even when not chatting with multiple people at the same time, this could be extremely usefull for chat apps

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442018)

It also means AT&T will make more money as apps that use the internet will be backgrounded and sending bits of data.

Re:It's a freakin' PHONE (1)

nangus (1026732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441946)

So people that use the iphone never want to say use last.fm or ustream and aim or some game at the same time? Just from a user prospective I would like to be able to use more then one app, that is not part of the default install.

Battery Life (1)

mingbrasil (997857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441714)

If you can really use iPhone for more than 3 hours for an heavy user, magine with multitasking....

real chat client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441726)

These kind of apps make me laugh. You've got a phone with SMS & web browsing capabilities, and you want a chat client?

SMS on a land line? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441782)

You've got a phone with SMS & web browsing capabilities, and you want a chat client?

As I understand it, you can't SMS to or from a U.S. land line. Nor can you SMS to someone who primarily uses AIM, Windows Live Messenger, EFnet IRC, or Freenode IRC.

Re:SMS on a land line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441844)

Depends on the service provider. Many Telecoms provide SMS to Speech services, so you Can send SMS -to- a landline. And you can message someones phone from Messenger - likewise you can reply to it all the same, or you could send an email, since you need that for messenger or AIM.

And also - an iPhone isn't a landline.

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442074)

As I understand it, you can't SMS to or from a U.S. land line.

Many Telecoms provide SMS to Speech services

Can you name any of these operators that operate in the United States, home of Apple, Slashdot, and myself? I'd like to see citations about this so that I can understand the limitations of SMS-to-speech.

And also - an iPhone isn't a landline.

Allow me to rephrase: You can't SMS from an iPhone to a U.S. land line or from a U.S. land line to an iPhone. Nor can you SMS with an iPod Touch.

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442414)

Can you name any of these operators that operate in the United States, home of Apple, Slashdot, and myself? I'd like to see citations about this so that I can understand the limitations of SMS-to-speech.

Sprint.

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

Scoth (879800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442740)

I SMS from/to my iPod Touch all the time, though it needs wifi access. Works nicely.

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441936)

not to mention the fact that for various providers, SMS costs you a small amount of money (between 5-20 cents here in the netherlands, depending on contract), and every iphone comes with unlimited 3g usage

chatting through sms quickly adds up

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442070)

Unlimited 3G usage? Every iPhone? Try 250 megabytes on Vodafone New Zealands NZD$80/month plan!

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442438)

You have no unlimited SMS options?

Re:SMS on a land line? (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442014)

SMS costs a fortune in the US. I had it disabled.

Re:real chat client (2, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442282)

Maybe because you don't want to use an antiquated protocol designed as an afterthought which carriers (in many countries) charge a fortune to use?

A minor point... (5, Informative)

slagheap (734182) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441750)

The iPhone OS has always had real pre-emptive multitasking. The phone, email, iPod, calendar, and other applications run all the time and can do things simultaneously.

Multitasking just hasn't ever been made available to 3rd party developers.

It has never been a technical limitation in the OS. Rather, Apple kept control over it for battery life and security reasons.

Re:A minor point... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441788)

That's funny. My android device can multitask (any app, not just the ones Apple lets you multitask with), and the battery life is solid as well.

Perhaps Apple is full of shit and just wanted to shaft users/developers again?

Re:A minor point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441822)

What security reasons are there to restrict multitasking from 3rd party developers?

Re:A minor point... (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441920)

It ensures there are no daemons running, making it nearly impossible to have a botnet of iPhones.
With multitasking, how do you know that a thread doesn't get spawned off that now runs and listens on an arbitrary port for incoming connections?

Firewall spec in an app's manifest (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442106)

With multitasking, how do you know that a thread doesn't get spawned off that now runs and listens on an arbitrary port for incoming connections?

That's not an argument against multitasking but an argument for using the kernel to block incoming connections to ports other than those that an application has specified in the manifest.

Re:A minor point... (1)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442466)

This isn't a really good example of why they limited multitasking, though someone probably said it in the marketing staff meeting. I think it has a lot more to do with iPhone battery life than anything else... it's short enough as it is without AIM, Pandora and Echofon using more.

If this is true, hopefully they figured out a software way to expand battery life.

Re:A minor point... (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442500)

It ensures there are no daemons running, making it nearly impossible to have a botnet of iPhones.

I have seen a working, functional botnet of hundreds of jailbroken iPhones. It's an interesting thing to watch. Change your root passwords!

With multitasking, how do you know that a thread doesn't get spawned off that now runs and listens on an arbitrary port for incoming connections?

Very few mobile providers give phones public addresses.

Re:A minor point... (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441870)

Personally, I prefer it this way. When I'm using any app the only thing I want interrupting me is a phone call. And the only thing I want running in the background is iPod, which already does. If multitasking third party apps becomes an option I'll probably turn it off.

Re:A minor point... (4, Insightful)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441932)

There are plenty of UI design concerns as well. Currently there is no standard UI for dealing with apps running in the background. The phone gives you a green bar across the top of the screen. The iPod gives you a special alert with buttons when you double click the home button and a play icon in the top right of the screen. The calendar doesn't have any UI at all, it just alerts you with a message. The Mail app displays a numeric badge and plays a sound (a feature available to all 3rd party apps using the notification API).

It will be interesting to see how they unify the UI for running multiple apps at once without compromising the usability of the device.

My guess is that everything will basically look and function the same, except the App's icon will have a glow or a badge indicating that it is running in the background. Each app will have to explicitly be granted permission to be able to run in the background by the user (same way each app has to be allowed to send notifications now).

Re:A minor point... (2, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442344)

The Mail app displays a numeric badge and plays a sound (a feature available to all 3rd party apps using the notification API).

I don't think this is strictly true. I believe that the Mail app is running, and is able to set its badge unilaterally. The 3rd party notification API requires some application NOT running on the phone to notify Apple to send a message to the phone to set the badge on the app, which isn't running. The effect for the end user is largely the same, but the mechanism is radically different.

-Peter

Re:A minor point... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442346)

Or maybe they'll cave and have another button to "tab" between applications or just holding down the one they have will do it. I'm sure they'll come up with something but in the mean time I'll probably switch to Verizon and the Droid because it'll cost less and do more.

Re:A minor point... (4, Informative)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442828)

The (jailbroken) app "Backgrounder" handles it quite well. It displays a small activity-wheel icon on apps that are currently running in the background. It also does this for the native Apple apps that run in the background. What's so hard about that?

Re:A minor point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442212)

Rather, Apple kept control over it for battery life and security reasons.

So in the meantime I' ll keep using my non-crippled N900 with a full linux distro that allows me to run whatever I want at the same time as whatever else ;)

Re:A minor point... (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442276)

Multitasking has never been a huge security problem, so long as inter-process communication is disabled. Sure, it introduces file and device access control issues, but the OS should be handling that properly, multitasking or not.

For the record, the iPhone does have the ability for apps to save their state, which is a poor man's multitasking. But true multitasking isn't really necessary in a form factor like the iPhone. A desktop PC, sure, a laptop, maybe, but it's rare to ever be doing multiple things at once on a device as small as the iPhone.

At most, you're listening to music while reading an electronic document (because most other apps come with sound already), but it's possible to avoid multitasking by putting the music playback calls into libraries behind an API and let the individual apps use it if/when they want to.

The iPad, which falls closer to the iPhone than the laptop in terms of capability, has a better case for multitasking beyond state-saves. It is possibly a technical limitation, that there'd be enough programs running of a sufficient size in a typical usage scenario that the background processes wouldn't all fit into RAM or swap. I suspect the enabling of multitasking is for that more than anything else, as to be honest, I'm not sure why the iPad, with its closed environment, would need multitasking otherwise. It's not like somebody's going to be encoding their MP3's while running a FTP daemon while compiling code while reading a document. And while a regular tablet could be rendering a scene in the background, the iPad's closed environment makes that use case likewise highly unlikely.

As the iPhone already has multi-threading, even IM's and chatting can be handled without multitasking. They can be processed the same way as text messages (but perhaps without the preempting that happens). It's a matter of the OS being able to properly handle the incoming packets, and the application being able to smartly handle the incoming messages.

Re:A minor point... (1, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442608)

You haven't really used an iPod Touch or iPhone, have you? You also haven't read many replies in this discussion, or the numerous threads in other discussions that give reasons for multitasking on these devices.

Most games that I've played which have sound allow you to disable it so that you can listen to music. If you use a streaming service to get music, you'd like to continue while performing other tasks.

You have no vision what-so-ever.

Re:A minor point... (1)

imp (7585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442472)

I've used the various add-ons that make multi-tasking possible on iPhone OS 3.1.2. Of course, I just mean "being able to run multiple GUI applications at once" by this statement, but that's kinda what it means in the popular, non-technical press...

I have a few observations.

First, some applications react very well to running in this mode. In fact, most of the ones I've tried do act well. I can get my facebook updates, have my chat client running, etc. So long as I'm careful with memory usage, things are all fast.

When memory gets tight, things fall apart. Sometimes the app dies, sometimes it gets really slow, etc. I have an old 2G phone, so memory is limited there. I doubt that native support for this would be stable enough to be enabled in iPhone OS 4 by default on the 2G.

Finally, the one reason I'd want this, assuming I had the memory, is that Apple would likely improve the GUI aspects of multi-tasking. There's no notification right now if I get a chat message. There's no mail notification. I'd love to have that stuff be possible while I'm playing a game (or disabled, depending on the game). The various jailbrake add-ons don't address this aspect of things. It is a rough edge in an otherwise highly integrated environment.

Warner

Re:A minor point... (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442484)

If it isn't ready for prime-time release to 3rd party developers it can't be compared to what everybody expects a true multitasking OS to be. When they get some engineering talent in there who can write a multi-tasking phone OS that can intelligently handle any number of apps, 3rd party included, simultaneously then it will be able to join the club.

Locking it down to out-of-the-box Apple apps only is tacit admission that if they let any app multi-task the iPhone would be brought to it's knees.

I hope it's optional in settings (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441752)

There are real uses for multitasking, which the iPhone already does - like listening to iPod while surfing or the like. Maybe chat as mentioned, but I also hope to set which apps can be multitasking - I don't trust the developers always to make the correct call - there is no reason to leave a game running in the background while I surf, it would be better to save state. I would actually say saving state and resuming again is better the vast majority of times over running in the background.

But oftentimes I try to hang up the phone by hitting the home button instead of the end call button (even though I think I did), and while surfing, I still see that "Return to Call" blinking on top.

To conserve battery life, I already turned off push notifications and other things. And I would turn off multitasking for my parents phones, they hardly can use a computer as it. With this, they'll only be wondering why the phone battery is dying even faster.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441804)

I am glad to see you posted what I was going to post, since I don't have mod points, I'll do the AOL thing.

I agree with this post.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442046)

As an iPhone developer, I can tell you this just isn't coming. Apple has lots of (NDA'd) guidelines about how much CPU juice you get (since iPod etc can work through your app) and this would seriously topsy turvey the existing software base. They have gone out of their way to make a UI that works well without multitasking, and stuff like APNS was engineer specifically not to require it.

Aside from having my SSH sessions die when I want to goto an email or phone call, multi tasking has never actually been lacking.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442142)

Apple has lots of (NDA'd) guidelines about how much CPU juice you get (since iPod etc can work through your app)

Then why doesn't Apple open the "iPod etc" API to allow for streaming music players?

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (2, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442732)

CPU usage guidelines that the developers don't know about are not guidelines.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442508)

If you've ever used another phone that supports it, it's been lacking.

Multitasking is just like copy/paste. When the iphone didn't have it, everyone went on about how they would never use it anyhow and they didn't see what the big deal was. Then when they got it they were blown away by how awesome it is and how they couldn't get by without

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442050)

If you quit an app, it's no longer running. If you switch from one app to another, it's still running in the background. Is that hard to understand?

So, if you don't want that game to keep running in the BG, quit it; don't just go back and run another thing. You get to choose if a given task will stay in the background every time you leave it. That has always worked for everything since the Amiga; should work for an iPhone, too.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442342)

If you quit an app, it's no longer running. If you switch from one app to another, it's still running in the background. Is that hard to understand?

Hard for you to understand? No. Me? No. Grandma? Pure f**king voodoo.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (2, Informative)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442102)

There are real uses for multitasking, which the iPhone already does - like listening to iPod while surfing or the like. Maybe chat as mentioned, but I also hope to set which apps can be multitasking - I don't trust the developers always to make the correct call - there is no reason to leave a game running in the background while I surf, it would be better to save state.

Good point. The major reason that I look forward to multi-tasking is that I believe it to be a requirement for true VPN applications. It would be nice to be able to use my iPhone to VPN through our firewall at work so that I can handle emergency systems admin tasks.

Re:I hope it's optional in settings (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442242)

Just as it took till 3.0 for Apple to introduce copy and paste, it will take them till 4.0 to introduce multitasking for exactly the same reason. They want to do it right. Copy and paste on the iPhone is intuitive and easy, but they didn't figure out how to do it in such a great way immediately. Rest assured, Apple won't do multitasking like Android, you won't need a task manager. Whatever form it takes, Apple will err on the side of making it limiting but easy to use.

Another feature Android will steal, no doubt! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441778)

This is why Apple should sue the shit out of Google, because once iPhone OS 4 is available, Google will inevitably steal every single idea from it.

Re:Another feature Android will steal, no doubt! (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441908)

Damn Google and their time-machine!

Re:Another feature Android will steal, no doubt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442176)

so in order to make it at "slashdot style" they should not sue google, they should go to campus, steal their time machine and go back in time an kill Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page's great grand parents before they even meet!!

I cannot believe i was about to post this under my user, and i had no karma points, i hate I always get modded down just before a nice comment is growing up inside me!!

Existing Apps? (3, Interesting)

hemlock00 (1499033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441808)

At one point when looking into developing an Application for the iphone, one of the requirements for *all* apps is that it had to be able to close with in a small time window upon hitting the home button as to kill any chance of running more than 1 app at a time. The reason for this, as I read it, was to avoid having a ton of applications running (w/o the user aware) and killing battery time and other software conflicts. I'm not really sure thats a bad thing. I can remember with my blackberry, If I got a call while in an application I may forget and before I knew it--dead battery. Since it's a phone first and a app platform 2nd, multitasking might not be the best thing for it.

Re:Existing Apps? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441966)

My droid doesn't have any problem with apps in the background eating up battery life, except for a select few apps that by their very nature have to be chewing up cycles and using phone resources (gps, 3g, etc) even while in the background, like Trapster.

I've got about 20 things running right now and my worst concern is free memory, of which I've still got 48mb. I can look at battery usage readout and see that none of them are using anything of note.

It's about time apple gave this to it's users, not that that's enough to make me even think about switching.

Re:Existing Apps? (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441986)

The app I use on my jailbroken iPhone lets me see exactly what is running and close it, so if they have similar functionality to this app, they could make it very easy to avoid that problem.

Would be Great (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441940)

But if they do allow multitasking, I hope Apple becomes MORE restrictive on what they let on the App store. I don't want crap apps sucking my battery down.

As a developer concerned with power usage I would like more access to tell the OS things like how often I need a GPS location update. You can tell the API to update your app when you have moved x distance, but that implies the OS is watching movement constantly and only updates you every so often. I'd also like to shut down such resources when on a screen that doesn't need them, if I can quickly bring them back up.

Re:Would be Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442076)

Here's a wild idea: don't install them.

Oh sorry, Apple has to tell you what to think. And apparently everyone else too.

Re:Would be Great (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442404)

Its hard to tell an app is crap until you use it. "Can't judge a book by its cover." Its much more true that you can't judge software by what marketing told you.

I would have to carefully evaluate each app one at a time never loading or running more than 1 per day, to be able to figure out which one was written by an idiot.

Re:Would be Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442140)

Why would "crap apps" suck your battery unless you start them? And why would you download "crap apps" in the first place?

Re:Would be Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442266)

It is a crApple iPhone after all

It's already been there (4, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441948)

This is why I jailbroke the thing in the first place (well, that, and a few other things): multitasking for everything, not just Apple's apps. For some time now, I have been able to listen to music and browse the web, text, chat, etc. by just switching apps. It works fairly decently, too, and doesn't make it very slow. I am simply amazed they decided this was a proper limitation.

Re:It's already been there (3, Informative)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442326)

Backgrounder's probably the single biggest reason I have mine jailbroken. I'm always amazed at the people freaking out like multitasking would cause the thing to explode. People have been multitasking on it for years now. I've had a couple issues with backgrounding and sound, but that's about it. For the most part it's worked great for me.

Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31441982)

I guess we should thank god that our overlords at Apple didn't release the first version of iPhone with a DOS/BASIC prompt!

Multitasking comes now -- what's next? Multiple windows?? Hallelujah!!

Riiiight. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31441984)

And it'll be on Verizon's network, too.

The don't really have a choice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442054)

The Nokia N900 has multitasking and is fully open, I have root access without the need for a crack. And did anybody see the news about the latest MS OS for phones which can play 3D games?

The iPhone is crap and now they need to enable multitasking so it does not suck as much anymore or people might wake up and buy something better.

Best way to get a Nokia N900 in the USA? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442202)

The Nokia N900 has multitasking and is fully open

Which U.S. mobile phone operator carries the Nokia N900? Or if you happen to live in a T-Mobile covered area, which U.S. retail store chain carries an unbranded Nokia N900 that I can try before I buy?

Huh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442128)

A real chat client? What's missing from it currently? BeeJive with push notifications enabled has been as good for me as any backgrounded chat app I've ever used.

not sure why (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442152)

I am not sure why I want multitasking on the iPhone. The stated use is to allow a chat window to be always present. What would that look like though, a piece of my small screen dedicated to such an application? Does this mean I have a small browser window.

In the old days, we had background processes that always had to run. Now we have signals and the like that can awake idle processes so they do not have to run. Then we had TSR applications, and similar items on the Mac, like the Talking Moose. The former was created to solve the long start up time of applications on DOS and Windows. Multiple windows and such were useful on the PC, with larger screens, but somewhat harder to use on the Mac. The Mac seemed to launch applications faster, so I don't have a recollections of being annoyed that Finder was not multitasking.

Multitasking is a solution to solve some problem on the general computer. I am not sure it is the right solution for a small screen mobile small battery device. I would rather see innovative solutions rather than rehashing the same old thing. I think there this might be a useful solution for the iPad. My concern is that iPhone 4.0 is built for the next iPhone, and will make current iPhones harder to use. This is what happened with iPhone 3.0, which does not run very well on the first generation iPhone.

Battery life (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442246)

The big issue for me is battery life. I don't want some random app draining the battery of the device I use to call a tow if my car breaks down.

Don't forget 2G phones ! (1)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442272)

iPhone2G is as powerful as iPhone3G, but Apple seems now to forget these old models. New firmwares for 2G lack features found on 3G. I hope FW4 won't be for "3G / 3GS / 4G only". First iPhone buyers love Apple; Apple, love them !

Multiple sources also claim... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442358)

... that Apple will open up the app store, and will allow any and all third party applications. In addition, multiple sources indicate that the iPhone 4.0 will cook dinner and fold the laundry.

In other news, multiple sources are rumors, same as always.

mkod do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31442372)

this very moment, as fittingly A need to play GAY NIIGERS from

Apologists (1, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442446)

Anytime you mention multitasking to an Apple fanboi they come up with 20 reasons why it's a bad idea and wasn't implemented. I'm sure they're just irate about this new feature and will be pissed off to no end that Apple is adding it, right?

This isnt for the iPhone (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442564)

It's for the iPad, because millions of fanboy^H^H^H^H^H^H early developers shat themselves when the iPad was revealed to have no multitasking. The iPhone is fine the way it is, and could continue in its present state for quite a while without multitasking (outside of the OS centric parts, like time and calendar, etc.). This is *all* about the iPad. I for one am very happy to see this, as the lack of multitasking was one thing that told me not to bother with the iPad.

With multitasking and iWorks, I can actually get something done with it while pissing away my life on the subway or on a bus. Now all I need is for Adobe to come up with PDF support on the iPad, and I am one happy camper.

RS

Re:This isnt for the iPhone (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442634)

PDF support on the iPad

What do you mean? Mail on iPhone supports PDF and there are also plenty of third party apps which do. Luckily, you don't need to use Adobe's shit to read PDFs.

Re:This isnt for the iPhone (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442674)

I don't own an iPhone.

My understanding is that the iPad only supports EDOCS.

I would LOVE to be wrong on this, believe me.

Nokia N900 vs. iPhone 3Gs (4, Interesting)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442668)

I've had my Nokia N900 for a couple of months now, and for those unaware, most of the specs are identical to the iPhone 3Gs 32Gb. Well, except that it has a much higher resolution screen, a keyboard, a real GPS, an FM transmitter and a microUSB port for data and charging. But the CPU/GPU and amount of storage are the same, except that you can also add a microSD card to the N900. But now on to the most important difference to the 3Gs. I've used both my N900 and a 3Gs, and the 3Gs just feels sluggish, while having half the functionality.

Flipping home screens on the N900, regardless of how many icons and widgets it's running is smooth, with no clipping. Even with half a dozen apps running in the background, the UI remains equally fast (several instances of the Firefox, Application Manager, Communication app, Contacts app, Skype, MediaBox, battery-eye, conky, etc). Flipping through the 3Gs icon screens clips and feels choppier. It's not a large difference, but keep in mind the hardware is identical and the iPhone has NO applications running in the background.

The N900 also starts up applications faster, in most cases instantaneously. Start up times do increase progressively after about 3-4 large apps are already loaded and actually doing stuff in the background (Firefox loading up pages, Application Manager checking for updates, MediaBox playing music). But many utilities that only refresh while in the foreground do not have any impact at all (Conky, battery-eye, disk usage, etc). In contrast, the 3Gs takes a couple of seconds to load up pretty much every app I tried, regardless of how limited its functionality is, and complex apps take even longer.

Once the apps are running, they are roughly equally fast on both the N900 and the 3Gs. But as I stated above, the N900 may be running several apps in the background, and the foreground apps do not slow down at all.

I think this is why Apple did not allow multitasking up to now. Given how slowly single apps load on their flagship 3Gs, true multitasking will bring it down to its knees. The iPhone OS takes much more resources to run than Maemo or Android, and the iPhone single tasking is a way of masking it. Of course this is speculation since except for the basic Apple apps, nobody managed run more than one app at the same time on the iPhone. And I'm sure those Apple apps are optimized and tweaked to hook into the OS and stay loaded at all times. Most likely the 4G will have a faster processor and more RAM, and will compensate for the OS shortcomings through brute force.

Jailbreaking (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31442820)

I could do this ages ago with jailbreaking (Backgrounder, Kirikae, etc). But I do wish that in Android it would make backgrounding not default unless I set the program specifically to background.
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