Apple iPhone OS 4.0 to finally enable multitasking

By on April 8, 2010, 2:08 PM
It's official: Multitasking is finally coming to the iPhone with an upcoming firmware update -- and therefore to the iPad and iPod touch as well. Speaking at their scheduled iPhone OS 4.0 event this morning, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs announced the long sought feature and acknowledged customer demands saying: "we weren't the first to this party, but we're gonna be the best. Just like cut and paste." Unlike other devices, their implementation will supposedly enable users to do more than one task at once without hurting battery life or performance.

Basically they are providing background services to applications for seven specific actions or areas: audio, voice over IP, location services, push notifications, local notifications, task completion and fast app switching. Although the method is not considered 100% true multitasking, it will enable things like streaming music through Pandora on the background while checking your mail, or receive calls from services like Skype even when they are not actively running.


Turn by turn navigation apps can use background location to provide directions, while continuing to perform other tasks, and location-aware social networking applications like Loopt won't require GPS to be always-on. A fourth and fifth enhancement relates to the company's existing push notification service and a new "local notifications" service that bypasses Apple's servers. Task completion will enable an app to start a job and finish it after the user has closed the app, and fast app switching allows an app to save its state, stop running, and then restart instantly where you left it.

For users, multitasking will reportedly work transparently and fast -- simply double-click the home button and a tray showing all running applications will open. The functionality was highlighted by Apple's chief executive as just one of the top seven "tent pole" features of the new release, along with hundreds of other user features and 1,500 new APIs for developers to leverage in their apps. Multitasking will work only in the iPhone 3GS, iPad and third-gen iPod touch.




User Comments: 18

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Reloader2 said:

"OMG MULTITASKING!"

Wait iPhone 3GS...

*Stares at iPhone 3G*

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Same here - got a iPhone 3G from work so I am not exactly stressing but I am finding it harder and harder to take apple seriously. Thing is there are enough high-fiving apple fanboys to keep the company running anyway.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So, after YEARS of "oh, customers don't want multitasking" and "multitasking is overrated" and "99% of iPhone users don't need multitasking" statements... Apple finally catches up with everyone else and offers what their users have been begging for. But only for their very latest customers, or those who want to shell out for a new model...

And people still line up at the tree of Apple to pick their fruit and talk about how superior they are to all of the common folk while defending Apple to the death. I just don't get it.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ahh, but will it work? You'll most likely have to download the new firmware, roll it back, stand on your head, and reset it before it will work right.

Apple lost my respect a long time ago when they turned into just another pc manufacturer, sold out to intel, and quit making their own proprietary processors. Nothing really sets them apart as "innovators" anymore.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They tie peoples hands with these devices - take the iPad for example. The number of hoops you have to jump through just to get a file onto the device in a manner that can be read by an application is ridiculous if its possible at all. Apple will say that the device is easy to use and difficult to break but you can't get past the limited functionality and use the full power of the device as you want to. The iPhone is the same - something simple like using part of a song as a ringtone? You cant just do that - you have to use an external program to cut the portion of a song you want to use then rename the extension then import it into iTunes then copy it to the phone. Ridiculous but if a relative bought one she would find it hard to break and "it just works". At least, thats what the relative thinks - I think its limited and restrictive and to do the things I want its time consuming and complicated.

And then you look at supporting Macs in an Enterprise with Active Directory and single sign on for Windows and Macs with folder redirection.. and you get a gun, pop it in your mouth and pull the damn trigger..

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I follow a 90/10 rule. 90 percent of the population is ridiculously stupid, and maybe only 10 percent are witty enough to understand how the world actually works. And the unfortunate thing here is that companies like Windows and Apple cater to the 90 percent because that's where the money is. Those of us that actually KNOW what we want, what kind of device it would be great for, and how it could be implemented are overlooked because of the vast majority who will buy anything because it's shiny and from their favorite company. I've grown severely disenamored with the state of affairs that technology is in. Get used to it, fellow nerds. The day that we see a piece of equipment that's geared towards the 90 AND the 10, the world really will end.

Apple's failed attempt at bridging the gap won't be the first either. More let-downs up and coming.

tengeta tengeta said:

First off, UNIX has the simplest copy+paste, the absolute end of argument.

Second, FINALLY!

Third... Wendig0; Apple never made their own processors until recently for the iPad, every PowerPC was a joint venture with IBM and Motorola, before that they just outright bought them from Motorola like they do now with Intel.

sondang said:

What the hell?

3GS Only???!?!

that's sad

IamBD said:

The exaample they used with using Pandora and surfing the web at the same time, I do that all the time on my Droid. Multi-tasking isnt new to everyone else, including iPhone users with jailbroken devices, but I expect apple to advertise this like its the end of the world as soon as it rolls out and certain fanboys chanting the "I'm better than you because I can multi-task". I do like the iPhone, but am perfeclty happy with Android.

thatguyandrew92 said:

The 3Gs has twice as much memory as the 3G. That's why only the 3Gs gets multitasking. I don't think the 3G could handle it.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

In that case, why can a jailbroken 3G multitask with Backgrounder?

thatguyandrew92 said:

Well nevermind then! I was unaware of jailbroken 3G phones. I guess they want you to upgrade. :/

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Of course. I guess it wouldn't be Apple unless they required you to buy the latest and greatest in order to experience their new features. Just think of the ruckus that would happen if Microsoft operated in this manner. Look at what happened when they made DX10 Vista exclusive, and that was a BRAND NEW OS, not an OS update.

And yet, people still buy Apple's crap...

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Of course. I guess it wouldn't be Apple unless they required you to buy the latest and greatest in order to experience their new features. Just think of the ruckus that would happen if Microsoft operated in this manner. Look at what happened when they made DX10 Vista exclusive, and that was a BRAND NEW OS, not an OS update.

And yet, people still buy Apple's crap...

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

LNCPapa said:

In that case, why can a jailbroken 3G multitask with Backgrounder?

To be fair, it doesn't do it very well though. :-)

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Well, there's always ProSwitcher - I hear that makes backgrounder pretty good.

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

I'm still hoping some small features will trickle down to the V1 iPhones like the character count in the SMS/MMS application or the Game Center.

Guest said:

they aren't gonna make money making a phone that has everything you want... they're gonna make it by doing what they're doing. giving you a phone with update to date technology that can do an amazing amount of things... but make you pay small amounts on top to be able to use them.

also by not bringing everything out at once but into newer models and software so people go "new software!, oh i need to buy the newer phone.... better upgrade!"

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