Multitasking - Featured Articles

iMore show 338: Pre-post-PC

iMore show 338: Pre-post-PC

type="audio/mpeg"> Rene and David Chartier talk about Google getting into premium hardware with Glass and Pixel, much as Apple has moved into services with iCloud. Also, the case for user-defined default apps, and wether multitasking matters on the...
iOS 6: Is it time for Apple to revamp the multitasking fast app switcher?

iOS 6: Is it time for Apple to revamp the multitasking fast app switcher?

A look at the history of mobile multitasking and how Apple could implement better fast app switching in iOS 6 At Macworld 2007 Steve Jobs showed off mobile Safari's Page switching interface, but despite the operating system as a whole crying out for similar treatment, to this day Pages haven't...
Why Apple Geniuses sometimes tell people to kill all their apps

Why Apple Geniuses sometimes tell people to kill all their apps

A little over a year ago I wrote a rather controversial editorial stating that iOS users don't ever need to kill all the apps in their multitasking dock (fast app switcher). A couple of months ago the subject was brought back to the spotlight, with other developers and bloggers reaching pretty...

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iOS 4.2 beta for iPad walkthrough

Complete feature guide to Apple's iOS 4.2 beta for iPad

iOS 4.2 is the grand unification update, the software that brings iPhone, iPod touch, and for the first time, iPad all onto the same version number and at the same time. Yes, it's the one firmware to rule them all.

Announced during Apple's 2010 special music event, its in beta as of September 15, and will become available to the public sometime in November. For iPhone and iPod touch already running iOS 4.1, the feature list is short. For iPad's that have been running iOS 3.2 since launch back in April, the change is nothing short of a revelation. Multitasking, folders, and unified inbox from iOS 4.0 join Game Center and TV show rentals from iOS 4.1, and add in AirPlay video sharing and AirPrint wireless printing fresh to iOS 4.2.

Huge.

If you're interested in iOS 4.2 for iPhone and iPod

And we're going to take you through it, after the break!

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iOS 4 limitations: Multitasking saves state, doesn't check for timeline updates

We've had a few TiPb readers ping us to ask what's going on with timeline-based apps like Twitter, IM, RSS, etc under iOS 4 multitasking -- specifically why they aren't updated or updating any more when they open. The answer is the current timeline update conundrum.

First, it's important to remember that Apple didn't include background timeline updates in their multitasking API. Apps can stream music, they can wait for VoIP activity, and they can handle location for navigation or check-in, but they can't update your Twitter, IM, or RSS the way Apple's own Mail app can. Apple's SVP of iPhone Software, Scott Forstall said they prefer iOS handle that via push notification instead.

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Pandora update for iOS 4 now available to download in App Store!

If you are a Pandora user and are currently running iOS 4 on your iPhone or iPod touch then head into the App Store to update the app to version 3.1 which contains the new multitasking feature. Today, at some point, Apple will be releasing iOS 4 to the masses so it is no surprise we will start to see many applications in the App Store updated to be compatible with iOS 4.

So waste no time and take advantage of the latest version of Pandora!

[Thanks to all of you who sent this in!]

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NAVIGON shows off iOS 4 multitasking for iPhone turn-by-turn navigation

A double dose of NAVIGON today as they've put out a video showing off MobileNavigator on iOS 4 making use of background location. Fast app switching, saved state, and the Location API for taking a call while still receiving navigation directions are all on display.

We've got an exclusive video interview with MobileNavigator for iPhone product manager Bern Hahn taken during WWDC 2010 for your viewing pleasure. He tells TiPb what he thinks of Apple's iOS 4 multitasking, the iPad, and of course, iPhone 4.

Video action after the break.

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Which iOS 4 feature are you most looking forward to?

Which iOS 4 feature are you most looking forward to?Market Research

TiPb’s done a HUGE iOS 4 feature walkthrough (seriously, every change we could find) but I’m still curious — which iOS 4 feature are you most looking forward to? Is it all about the multitasking? Were you desperate for folders? Game Center got you drooling? Bluetooth keyboard standing by?

With iOS 4 set to be released on Monday, June 21, there are only a few short days of anticipation left!

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iOS 4 review

Complete review of Apple's iOS 4 software for iPhone and iPod touch

iOS 4 (previously iPhone OS 4.0) continues Apple's relentless yearly mobile OS update cycle. If 2007 was the mainstreaming of the multitouch user interface, 2008 all about the App Store, and 2009 was filling in the feature list, then iOS 4 promises to be... well, that's why we're here.

(And yes, iOS. That's the new name Apple has licensed from trademark-holders Cisco to represent the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch -- and maybe soon the Apple TV and who knows what else -- family.)

Back on April 8 at the sneak preview event, Apple promised 7 "tent-pole" features and 100+ general user features overall, along with 1500 major new API for developers. We're going to walk you through the ones that matter most.

Note: iOS 4.1 is now available. See our complete iOS 4.1 walkthrough for the latest on Game Center, HDR photography, Ping social music network, and the other new features.

See also our iPhone 4 review for more on hardware specific features.

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Are iOS 4 background API really the best solution to multitasking?

Multitasking was widely rumored to be coming to the iPhone with iOS 4, but instead of a traditional "leave full apps running in the background" approach, Apple instead chose to implement a more restricted but, they felt, better performing and power friendly solution involving 7 specific background API (application programming interfaces.) Is that, however, the best solution to the multitasking challenge as Apple claims? I spoke to several developers during WWDC 2010 and asked them that question.

First, we'll review what Apple is doing in iOS 4, then we'll see if developers think it works as well in reality as as Apple says it does on stage.

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TomTom talks iPhone, iOS 4 multitasking - TiPb at WWDC 2010

Tom Murray, SVP of Marketing, TomTom sat down with me to discuss their turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone. Announced at WWDC 2009, over the last year TomTom has managed to get the app to where all its core functionality is in place and they can give iPhone users a really first-class tool to get them from point A to point B. Now, with iOS 4 and its multitasking API for location, they can start getting them in style.

Since TomTom does everything from owning their own maps to selling their own devices, they're uniquely positioned do things like crowd-source changes in roads or analyze patterns in routes and get that fed back into their system so their 40 million users can share local wisdom whether they're improving their daily commute or driving in a new city for the first time.

With the iPhone, Apple is providing the device (and the GPS) but TomTom still offers a car kit to supplement and extend the built-in hardware. (I asked if the existing car kit would be compatible with the just-introduced iPhone 4, but they hadn't had a chance to get their hands on it yet so they're waiting to whether it fits, whether it requires an adapter, or whether some reengineering will be in order).

No word on an iPad version yet, unfortunately, but turn-by-turn navigation on smartphones is still growing. With free-as-in-Google and open source map apps now on the scene, TomTom is investing in the quality of their service and the trust in their data.

Check out our video interview, after the break!

[TomTom on iTunes]

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iPhone OS 4: orientation lock, iPod controls in fast app switcher

Today's iPhone OS 4 beta 3 update has brought with it some interesting new features, including a soft-version of the iPad's orientation lock and iPod controls added into the fast app switcher (multitasking) UI.

When you double click the home button to bring up the fast app switcher, you can now scroll all the way to the left to get the new orientation lock and iPod controls. The default on the orientation is off but a tap will turn on, or turn off, the lock. (Home screen doesn't sound like it rotates, however).

iPod controls include back, play/pause, and forward, with the name of the current track written beneath.

The background for the app switcher (and for folders) has also changed from the rubbery, pock-mocked, dark gray of beta 1 and 2 to a new cross-hatched medium gray.

Video after the break! For more check out our complete iPhone OS 4 beta preview and feature walkthrough.

[Thanks anon!]

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iPhone OS 4: Multitasking fast app switcher animation

iPhone OS 4 beta 2, released yesterday, has introduced a new, circling, side-switching animation for multitasking fast app switching. The new animation occurs when you switch between two apps either via the new, double-click-Home to trigger to launch the multitasking UI, or when one app calls another app (i.e. when you're in Contacts and you tap to send a contact an SMS, as noted by @ranger_bill).

Launching or leaving an app retains the same, zoom-based effect as always (though the wallpaper in iPhone OS 4 zooms slightly as well, like on the iPad -- gotta love those little details Apple puts in).

Check out our complete iPhone OS 4 preview and feature walkthrough for more and hit up the video after the break!

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iPhone 4 beta 1 jailbreak on iPhone 3G - multitasking included

Apple has not been shy in stating that the original iPhone 3G will not support multitasking but iPhone hacker cdevwill has proved them wrong - sort of. After the break you can see a YouTube video of an iPhone 3G running iPhone OS 4 jailbroken with functional multitasking.

While this all seems like a bed of roses stop and think about it for a minute: the only apps someone could test currently are those built in the iPhone OS 4 software (many of which have always multitasked) - no 3rd party apps. You'll notice in the video the amount of time it takes to open the clock application. Now imagine trying to play a game like Plants vs. Zombies and checking your Twitter all while streaming Pandora.

So while multitasking on an iPhone 3G appears to work, don't expect a very smooth experience. This is more than likely the reason Apple claims it will not work (even if they'd rather you upgraded your hardware).

If you want to learn more about jailbreaking in general stop by our forum dedicated to the topic and be sure to check out the video after the break!

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Fring, Slacker, TeleNav, NAVIGON comment on Apple's iPhone 4.0 multitasking

The first of Apple's big iPhone OS 4 announcements was multitasking, and the first set of multitasking announcements were APIs to let streaming music (think internet radio), location services (think navigation, check-in games, social networks), and VoIP services (think internet telephony) register threads in the background. For users this means you can keep listening to your songs, getting your turn-by-turn directions, and answering your virtual phone all while surfing the web or playing a game.

To find out what it means for developers, we asked some. Read what they had to say after the break!

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iOS 4 Preview

iOS 4 (previously iPhone OS 4, iPhone 4.0) continues Apple's relentless yearly mobile OS beta and release cycle. If 2007 was the mainstreaming of the multitouch user interface, 2008 all about the app store, and 2009 filling in the feature list, then iPhone 4 promises to be... well, that's why we're here.

(And yes, iOS. That's the new name Apple has licensed from trademark holders Cisco to represent the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch -- and maybe soon Apple TV and who knows what else -- family.)

Apple promises 7 "tent-pole" features and 100+ new user features overall, along with 1500 major new APIs for developers. We're going to walk through the ones that matter most. As with previous years, Apple is likely to release a half-dozen or more betas, as often as every second week or so, leading up to a Gold Master (GM) seed on or around WWDC 2010 (date yet to be announced) for iPhone and iPod touch, and September for iPad.

Things can and will change. Features will come and go. And all sorts of iOS secrets will be discovered deep inside the code strings. We'll update when any of that happens.

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TiPb Live Podcast #94 -- iPhone 4.0-boy!

Join Rene, Phil, and Keith for post-iPhone 4.0 event analysis on multitasking, app folders, iBooks for iPhone, Game Center social network, mail enhancements, enterprise enhancements, iAds, and more. Listen in!

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Is Apple's cross-compiler ban pro-multitasking not anti-Adobe?

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Apple announces multitasking for iPhone OS 4 (iPhone 3GS/iPod touch G3 only)

Apple today announced support for multitasking in iPhone 4.0, which go to developers today and the public this summer. CEO Steve Jobs admitted Apple wasn't first to market with multitasking, but like with cut, copy and paste from iPhone 3.0, he thinks Apple's implementation is best.

Multitasking will be supported for iPhone 3GS and iPod touch G3 (both released in 2009) but not previous generations like iPhone 2G or iPhone 3G due to hardware limitations. (Presumably it will run just fine on an iPhone G4 this summer...)

In terms of the UI, double-clicking the home button raises the current window and shows you actively running apps in the dock. You can scroll through those apps and rapidly switch between them. State is saved so apps appear persistent to the user. (For example, if you leave a game and come back, you no longer start over -- you start where you left off.)

Inside, Apple's SVP of iPhone Software, Scott Forstall explained they looked at existing apps and distilled 7 services those apps needed to run in background, then provided them via API. According to Apple, these are:

  1. Background audio - Allows your app to play audio continuously. So customers can listen to your app while they surf the web, play games, and more.
  2. Voice over iP - Your VoIP apps can now be even better. Users can now receive VoIP calls and have conversations while using another app. Your users can even receive calls when their phones are locked in their pocket.
  3. Background location - Navigation apps can now continue to guide users who are listening to their iPods, or using other apps. iPhone OS 4 also provides a new and battery efficient way to monitor location when users move between cell towers. This is a great way for your social networking apps to keep track of users and their friends' locations.
  4. Push notifications - Receive alerts from your remote servers even when your app isn't running.
  5. Local notifications - Your app can now alert users of scheduled events and alarms in the background, no servers required.
  6. Task finishing - If your app is in mid-task when your customer leaves it, the app can now keep running to finish the task.
  7. Fast app switching - All developers should take advantage of this. This will allow users to leave your app and come right back to where they were when they left - no more having to reload the app.

Pandora said it took 1 day to recode and enable background in their app. Skype is also shown (which may explain their delayed 3G launch?)

Overall, it appears like Apple has once again abstracted a concept from low-level and developer-centric to higher level and OS-managed. Like Grand Central does for multi-core dispatch in Mac OS X, or CoreData, CoreAnimation, etc. do across Apple's platforms, it does the heavy-lifting and tries to maximize user experience at the same time.

Our question for you is, does this beat Palm webOS cards or Android multitasking? Is it enough to make you happy?

Pics and video after the break, or read our complete iPhone OS 4 preview for more!

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What will we get in iPhone 4.0?

Tomorrow at 10pm PT, 1pm ET, Steve Jobs puts sneaker to stage and, along with SVP of iPhone software, Scott Forstall, gives us a sneak preview of the highly anticipated iPhone 4.0. No one outside Apple knows exactly what new features and paradigms iPhone 4.0 will offer. However, tradition demands we make our best guesses and ask you to do the same.

This isn't what we want, mind you. We told Apple what we want back on December 25, 2009: multitasking, better notifications, widgets for the home screen, instant access to important settings, themes, gestures like pervasive pull-down-to-refresh, system-wide "back" implementation, orientation lock, and resolution independence, along with a ton of great reader suggestions in the comments. We've also asked for a Finder app, like the Photo but to store document files.

This is what we think we'll actually get, given the rumors and the direction Apple looks to be going. This is us, TiPb staff and TiPb readers reading the tea leaves...

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iPhone 4.0: Multitasking Exposé, Universal Inbox, Contacts on Home Screen

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AppleInsider is adding to the multitasking rumors we've been hearing for a while now, saying iPhone 4.0 will finally extend the same benefits to 3rd party apps that Apple's own Mail, Phone, and iPod apps (among others) enjoy.

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UPDATED: 4th Gen iPhone HD to Launch June 22, have Apple chipset, 960x640 display, front-facing camera, multitasking

Daring Fireball often blurs the line between carefully concealed wink-nudge leak and flat out facetious commentary, so with that in mind John Gruber has this to say about the 4th generation iPhone (which still won't be called iPhone 4G!):

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Multitasking Support to be Included in Apple's iPhone 4.0 Software

AppleInsider is reporting that they are hearing from reliable sources to expect multitasking in Apple's iPhone 4.0 software. This is not the first time we've heard about multitasking being included in 4.0 but if it does hold up to be true it should silence many of the iPhone haters out there while making all iPhone owners jump for joy.

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