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Multitasking in Symbian OS 5.0 (on the S60)  (Source: Maximum PC)

Both the Palm Pre (shown here) and the Symbian OS 5.0 (above) support full multi-tasking. The iPhone does not. That offers some gaming and security benefits for the iPhone, but prevents some useful apps. Full multi-tasking is rumored to be coming with iPhone OS 4.0 this summer.  (Source: TechSource)
Might Apple be cooking up a counter to its competitors by at last bring multi-tasking to its smartphone?

If it can't sue its rival smartphone makers out of existence, it appears that Apple plans to at least catch up to them.

According to 
AppleInsider, Apple will finally be bringing a "full-on solution" to multi-tasking with iPhone OS 4.0 which is set to debut this summer.  Presumably that means that third-party apps will finally be allowed to run in the background on the phone.  The sources were scant on details about how it would remedy performance, battery life, and security issues, but they did say that the multi-tasking would use an interface similar to that in the Mac versions of OS X.

Apple's iPhone is among the best-selling smartphones and is second in market volume only to the incredible successful Blackberries from Research in Motion.  Apple's massive developer community and gigantic collection of apps make a phone that would otherwise be seen as just beneath top hardware offerings seem like the top of the pack.

However, Apple has slipped behind the bleeding edge of the competition, even as its app offerings have flourished.  Its competitors -- Palm, Symbian, Research in Motion, and Google (makers of Android OS) – all support multi-tasking in their smartphone operating systems.  Apple's OS X distribution on the iPhone artificially prevents third-party application backgrounding (multi-tasking), only allowing push notifications as of iPhone OS 3.0.

There have been a few major exceptions.  Currently, the iPhone's phone, SMS, email, iPod, voice recorder, Nike+ apps and a handful of others can run in the background.  This means, for example, that you can use apps and play music at the same time (but only using Apple's built in music player).

Apple has previously stated that backgrounding apps represents a security risk.  The iPhone's OS kills apps when you accept calls or return to the home screen, rather than sending them to the background.  That makes it harder for spyware, adware, or viruses to run on the phone without the user's knowledge.

The security comes at a cost though -- third-party apps that are available at all times (run in the background) like instant messaging, location-aware apps, internet radio, etc. are not able to be supported unless you "jailbreak" your iPhone, running software to hack the OS and remove Apple's restrictions.

One of the big problems is that multi-tasking could hurt gaming on the iPhone if resource management isn't implemented perfectly.  Currently the iPhone rivals the PSP Go and Nintendo DSi as a mobile gaming platform.  Its smartphone rivals though have been unable to muster much gaming success -- titles tend to be limited by either inefficient multi-tasking and/or by requiring the apps to be run by abstraction layers, such as Adobe Flash/Flash Lite, Microsoft Silverlight, or Sun Java/Android Dalvik runtimes.

Despite these shortcomings, many iPhone users have demanded multi-tasking.  Multi-tasking was rumored to be coming both in iPhone OS 2.0 and iPhone OS 3.0, but never came in full form.  Thus its reasonable to be wary about whether iPhone OS 4.0 will truly bring multi-tasking to the table at last.



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RE: for iPad as well?
By Pirks on 3/11/2010 3:19:51 PM , Rating: -1
Probably not user friendly enough, otherwise why would they prohibit it? Maybe they think uniform open standard web platform is a good thing, why make it fragmented like on a PC with so many browsers and incompatibilities? One simple open standard/open source based browser like Safari is more than enough and it makes platform more simple and hence more user friendly. Opera is probably not worth the trouble because its pros do not outweigh its cons as an iPhone browser.

You should understand that iPhone is targeted at average Joe and these people do not feel comfortable with huge amount of options and buttons and alternatives and all the custom sh1t you PC geeks love so much.

For geeks there are custom crafted nice geeky phones like WinMo or Android. iPhone is a different beast, and it's stupid to expect same standards of geekiness from Apple.


RE: for iPad as well?
By dark matter on 3/12/2010 2:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
You pompous little toerag Pirks. Are you saying the average Joe gets confused at the supermarket as there is just too much choice and too many alternatives for them to handle?

And there was me thinking the success of the iPhone stems from all the choice and alternatives in the app store. You might want to tell Jobs that you know all about average Joe as currently one of Apples advert strapline is "there is an app for pretty much anything".

Why not make your own App pirks that tailors to the average Joe so that it restricts choice and freedom of alternatives from their lives so they can all live in your nirvanic utopia of being told what is good for them.


RE: for iPad as well?
By Pirks on 3/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: for iPad as well?
By themaster08 on 3/12/2010 4:28:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Probably not user friendly enough, otherwise why would they prohibit it?

Have you ever even used the Opera Mobile browser? It is extremely user friendly, looks fantastic and is a joy to use. Even on my lowly Nokia 5800XM, it just feels like a quality product.

quote:
One simple open standard/open source based browser like Safari is more than enough and it makes platform more simple and hence more user friendly.

The whole Internet Explorer debacle just springs to mind here. So by your logic Internet Explorer is also more than enough as it makes Windows more simple hence more user friendly?

quote:
Opera is probably not worth the trouble because its pros do not outweigh its cons as an iPhone browser.

So what you're basically saying is that Apple doesn't see the need for another broswer so they're saying "we've decided you're not having it". What was all of this about then?
quote:
There's a huge principal difference between Big Brother and Apple's App Store policy. While Big Brother watched you and decided what you should or should not do depending on what HE, the Big Brother, deemed necessary, Apple only deals with customer or client complaints. Apple is not the Big Brother in sense that they don't care what people run UNLESS people start complaining about some app. Then Apple may remove it. See the difference?

I'm sorry but your arguments conflict. Apple IS big brother when it comes to the App Store. You implied it yourself in your contradicting, somewhat laughable arguments.

Stop trying to support Apple when you don't have a leg to stand on.


RE: for iPad as well?
By Pirks on 3/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: for iPad as well?
By sbtech on 3/12/2010 8:44:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
s IE open source? No?

Neither is Safari. It is based on an Open Source engine. Rather than me putting links, you can google yourself.

Pirks, I get pissed off by Apple, not because it is following a type of customer lock-in(also known as vendor lock-in) strategy. Nor is it because it makes fancy hardware and asks for a premium on them. Hey, they are just product life cycle and pricing strategies. Many companies do it. For example, even with cloud computing technology, the lack of interoperability standardization means customers will get locked in - kind of a step backwards towards the old mainframe style business models. Apple indeed has an admirable relationship marketing model in place, it is something to even learn from.

What pisses me off is, that Apple claims to be a freedom loving company, and still following this business model. This tarnishes Apple's brand image, to me, because of the inherent duplicity.

Do not get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with the lock-in model - from a marketing perspective. It sometimes proves even beneficial to the customer. Just because one has choices does not mean one can always setup a heterogeneous environment using components from different sources and make it perform better all together. This model is not even something innovative - a classical marketing technique followed in many industries. A business opting for IBM lock-in is aware, but sees the advantages over the disadvantages before doing that.

But Apple's marketing communication is misleading, and you and I, as customers, should realize that, see through the veil, and realize the model you will be getting into. Once realized, one may still opt for Apple, and it may even serve your needs better than anything else.

A lot of post from Apple lovers seems to point out the opposite. They don't seem to realize the business model of their vendor i.e., Apple. They seem to be even mislead by the said vendor's marketing communication.

Just the way I perceive this, but it could be wrong.


RE: for iPad as well?
By Pirks on 3/12/2010 11:50:20 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It is based on an Open Source engine
And IE isn't, that was my point.
quote:
Apple claims to be a freedom loving company
Where did they claim this?


RE: for iPad as well?
By aj28 on 3/14/2010 4:28:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Neither is Safari. It is based on an Open Source engine. Rather than me putting links, you can google yourself.


I wasn't going to jump into this mess, but I do think it's fair to say that Safari is open source, not just based on an open source engine. Below is a link to the WebKit homepage, and if you download the nightly builds you will see that it is not just the engine that is distributed open source, but the entire browser.

http://webkit.org/


"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini














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