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!

NAVIGON, which makes MobileNavigator [$79 -- iTunes link]:

We are very excited about the background location feature and will work on implementing this into our app, so that the app can run in the background and provide directions when, for example, taking a call. We’ve really been waiting for this, so it’s great to see this happening now.

TeleNav, which powers AT&T Navigator [Subscription - iTunes link], Rogers Navigator [Subscription - iTunes link] and other location-aware services and apps:

Overall, we are very excited about the new multitasking and background location features as it opens up a variety of new capabilities for navigation and other location-based services on the iPhone. We’re actively working on new features and capabilities and look forward to sharing these with consumers soon.

Slacker, which offers Slacker Radio [Subscription - iTunes link]:

Right now 4 out of 5 of our mobile apps are on platforms that support multitasking and our listeners have let us know they enjoy being able to utilize their smartphone's functions while listening to their favorite music. We are elated that soon Slacker listeners using their iPhone will have this same capability.

Fring, which makes the VoIP service of the same name [Free - iTunes link]

fring is congratulating Apple for reaching this decision, which will only enhance the iPhone/ iPad's user experience. With the allowance for VoIP calls over 3G and now the background VoIP functionality, Apple is taking great steps allowing for the freedom of choice fring has been a big supporter of, since day one.

Seems like they're happy. While some internet chatter has revolved around whether iPhone OS 4 is providing "true" multitasking or not, the end result for the user is that they're getting these 3 types of functionality in the next update. Of course, we'd enjoy other services as well, including persistent connections for SSH and like protocols, and background updates for timelines like IM, but from zero to this for 3rd parties is certainly a good start.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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


I don't need the background support for any other type of app. With fast-app switching, push notifications, I can view the notification without having to load the app again :D

Multitasking should of been implemented on 3.0 just like mms should of appeared on 2.0; iPhone is the greatest phone in the world but no matter what AT&T was saying at the time, mms came a year too late just like multitasking did.
On the bright side, I'm looking forward to this even though all my iPhones have been jailbroken to date.

I'll most likely be caving in now and getting one of the navigation apps. I love my Garmin, but trying to type on the touch screen is getting too frustrating now that I'm used to the iPhone.

I find this hilarious everyone going bonkers over the soon to be multitasking capabilities of the iphone 4.0 os when the majority of people have been multitasking with proswitcher for a while now. It is really a great feature however apple needs to come up with something that we have not already beaten them to.

I think the minority of people are multitasking with proswitcher. Would if I could though. Darn 3.1.3

I just want to see the 93 other features. What we have seen so far has put the phone right where just about every other phone is. I'm not really thinking about the new phone. Just the OS. We already know the phone will take it up some more notches. It's the features. I do have a question though. If in app SMS is coming as a feature what about the apple apps? Will that have it as well.

@Gino from the Bronx:
I don't think they should update the older phones. All companies drop support for older devices. It costs money to implement the software for older devices. Not only do they have to test it (it is unreasonable to think they should just release it without testing), but for the devices with half the memory, develop ways to make it work efficiently. The iPhone 3G has 128mb while 3Gs has 256mb. Multitasking will obviously need the memory. If you want those features ... then upgrade your phone. Simple.

Love the iPhone and love how careful Apple is when it comes to implementing features! I hope they continue to take their time and do it right. If my phone started crashing I would be furious!
I'll never jailbreak...I have enough patience to wait for stable OS updates.

@6: Jailbreakers may be using ProSwitcher but the 4.0 implementation of MT is completely different and will be much better for users: less memory and CPU usage => better battery life.

I'm totally fired up about getting Navigon with MT running on my 3GS... Ah, who am I kidding? By the time Navigon releases their 4.0-compatible update, I'll be rocking a G4 iPhone and my wife will have my 3GS. That'll be even better!

Christopher cox, I was referring to operating systems not the actual phone generations. I've had a 2g, 3G and now 3GS. Ive upgraded every year and will probably continue on doing so :)

I'm not surprised that Developers are talking nice-nice about the new possibilities. After all they want to curry favor for when they submit their first app for review.
It remains to be seen whether this form of multitasking as imagined by Apple will be sufficient. Its not really a true multitasking environment as you would find in OSX, Linux, or even (shudder) Windows. That apple looked only at existing apps to determine what they might need to multitask sort of limits what might be possible if they did it in a more traditional way.

ProSwitcher ftw. I think i will not upgrade 4.0 since i got everything else from a jailbroken 3gs. And considering it, i have to charge up Every day without using multitasking. I will stick with live multitasking ( wich should he also a features who wants to run apps without services. Just saying.

I'm happy that they're happy and we can all be happy when 4.0 is released (provided we have a 3GS or buy a 4th generation device). However, now that the cat's out of the bag on this feature I'm more interested in the other API's that were alluded to but not focused upon in the presentation. No doubt many will allow new capabilities in the apps we already have and bring even more goodness to the next release this summer.

To those who keep talking about pro switcher. Consider probably 90% of iPhone owners don't even know what a jailbreak is. We do because we're lame and commenting here. But the vast majority the multitasking is new. Say jailbreak or proswitcher to the average iPhone user. They'd look at you with a fish eye. A majorty don't use proswitcher. We the small minority do.

Sometimes people don't understand that Apple may not be the first to do things. Apple was not the first to make a "smart phone", but in my opinion they were defiantly the best at making the smart phone. Apple was not the first at doing a touch screen, but MANY people have said they were the best at doing it. These are just 2 examples of how Apple may sometimes be a little late to the game, but when they get there they are game changers.

Fring is also an IM app in addition to VoIP. I wouldn't be too surprised if it was able to run in the background and send local push notifications for IM while keeping you signed in to your accounts.

Backgrounder has let me have this for months. If apple really loved us theyd give us the abilty to choose which of our apps run in the background.

@Jonnypancakes- they did give us the ability to choose which apps run in the background by letting us close the app. what more do you want?

Apple is doing it right. I have an Android phone as well for development and it's the most unstable piece of crap ever made. Virtually worthless in my opinion - and if they don't get their act together soon I will drop app support for the platform.
Moving forward with features too fast to support the less than 1% of all users who whine and jailbreak their phones to get "features" that are not supported is not smart business.
Making a rock solid platform that works for 90% of their users right out of the box is sound business. Delivering additional features as the hardware and software can solidly support them - and the market will use them and pay for them - is the right approach.
Love them or hate them, Apple understands how to be successful and make killer products at the same time.

Have you used the finished product yet? I haven't, and i would be willing to bet a years salary you haven't either. To be 100% honest i don"t know if multitasking will be a game changer, or if t will be a flop, but its probably going to be good.