Multitasking

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by Menneisyys2, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. macrumors 603

    #1
    I've promised to a lot of you I'd elaborate on the new multitasking features. After all, one of the recurring biggest buzzwords is multitasking when it comes to iOS7.

    First and foremost, the multitasking model hasn't changed much. You cannot run arbitrary code in the background. Only the following types of functionality can be backgrounded (about half of them have already existed before iOS7):

    [​IMG]

    (screenshot from Xcode 5)

    What does this mean?

    - you can't run video recording in the background while doing something else. This is a big problem IMHO as, for example, on Windows RT you can do anything in any other app while recording video in the "snap" (small) pane on the left. An excellent setup for, say, recording a lecture (assuming you have a holder to hold the tablet vertically so that the camera can see the subject, of course) while making notes on the same device, looking up something in Google / Wiki etc. You can't do the same on iOS.

    - you still can't run any kind of video decoding or any kind of video outputting in the background. This could also be GREAT - you display Keynote slides or a video on an external monitor while doing something else on the tablet. (Keynote can be remote controlled while in background on JB'n devices - see my Keynote bible for more info: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1587698 )

    Currently, as I've also elaborated on in my latest article ("Quick Tip: Displaying and Recording AirPlay-capable iPhone / iPod touch Screens"), in section "Appendix One - What about the background multimedia playback in iOS7?" at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1600620 , the only way of driving an external monitor / projector is via wireless AirPlay, even in iOS7. Wired TV output can't be backgrounded in any way.

    - while video recording from the built-in camera has indeed been (somewhat) enhanced, it still lacks essential programming features like the "lens" feature of WP8 (see http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/software/3412010/windows-phone-8-sdk-review/ for more info). This means you still need to reimplement the entire video / still recording functionality in your own app if you want to, say, record the current location all the time. (iOS' multitasking model, unfortunately, still doesn't let for hour-long background location recording with good accuracy. Therefore, you can't just write a location recorder app and use the stock Camera app to record your video while your backgrounded app records the location - sooner or later, the location recorder will be killed by the system, even on the iPhone 5.) Adding your own functionality to the stock Camera interface is sorely missing - and the (not very extensive) new multitasking features don't help much (again, I refer to dynamic location recording for long-time videos. See my UbiPix recorder for more info: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1517256 ).

    All in all, don't let Apple's big words mislead you. There are indeed some new (mostly downloading / refreshing) multitasking modes. However, a lot of essential multimedia functionality (video recording, video playing, TV output driving etc., see above) still can't be done in the background - unlike on other OS'es.

    Will add additional info later.
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    #2
    I think Apple was pretty clear that in simplistic terms apps will be able to fetch new data while in the background. I don't think people were expecting video etc to play in the background. I could be wrong, it will be interesting to see what others inferred from Apple.
     
  3. macrumors 603

    #3
    Generally, the threads here are full of "but iOS7 has multitasking!" statements without explaining exactly what the new features are. (One recent example is at http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17470605&postcount=323 )

    Unfortunately, this would make most people think "great! At last iOS can be used as freely as WP8 / WinRT / Android tablets / phones! I will no longer need to run the Camera app as the front app any more while recording" Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

    If you have a wired / wireless connection to an external TV, I think it's pretty natural to expect you can play back videos in the background (for example, for the family) while doing something else in the foreground (e.g, browsing the Web). Sadly, not even the stock Videos app is capable of this via wired connections, only via AirPlay (and, then, Home Sharing videos still can't be played back).
     
  4. macrumors 68030

    #4
    I see your points. I did not get any sense Apple misled anyone after watching most of the developers videos involving multitasking. I'm not sure if people who are disappointed viewed any of the videos or not. Bottom line is did those who feel let down see any presentations?
     
  5. macrumors 603

    #5
    Yup, I've mentioned this (AirPlay playback is allowed) twice in my posts:

    "Sadly, not even the stock Videos app is capable of this [video output while in background] via wired connections, only via AirPlay (and, then, Home Sharing videos still can't be played back). "

    "the only way of driving an external monitor / projector [while in background] is via wireless AirPlay, even in iOS7. Wired TV output can't be backgrounded in any way."

    EDIT: applefanDrew's original post has been edited in the meantime. Mine referred to AirPlay's backgrounded playback.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    #6
    Maybe I'm boring and unimaginative, but none of those scenarios ever crossed my mind. I just assumed that iOS 7's multitasking would be an extension of the iOS 4-6 model, not a hugely revamped setup like the traditional desktop model. As long as battery life is a concern, I don't see Apple opening the floodgates.
     
  7. macrumors 603

    #7
    1, I really miss WinRT's snap mode. Or, staying with iOS, windowed execution like that of Quasar. I loved Quasar - it made my iPad sessions so much more productive. (Could have more than one app on the screen at the same time.)

    2. I'm, as a programmer, a bit angry with Apple. I had to reimplement the entire stock Camera (it's not very easy - every functionality present in that client must be reimplemented by hand!) in my own third-party UbiPix client because Apple failed to

    - provide a programming model like that of "lens" in WP8. Then, it'd be orders of magnitude easier / faster to write any kind of code using the camera

    - at least provide a way of location logging for indefinitely long times but without only relying on significant location changes. (That'd be useless for a dynamic video location / heading logger.) This is certainly possible in Android - I mean there you can write a background logger client that is NOT killed by the system.
     
  8. Menneisyys2, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    macrumors 603

    #8
    Yes, they did hint on the new multitasking features are only refreshing and the like in the keynote. Of course they didn't state "Sorry, but don't expect anything multi-windowing (like Quasar) or snap mode (like that of Windows RT)".

    No wonder even respected tech blogs like iDownloadBlog misunderstood what the new features are about and start their articles with the following, absolutely flawed statement:

    "Rejoice, Apple has brought Multitasking to all apps in iOS7."

    (Source: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/06/10/ios-7-multitasking/ )

    This is only true in the sense that the card switcher indeed shows all apps. As did the old task manager in pre-iOS7 times, of course.

    Running any kind of functionality in the background or in another window (on a sufficiently large screen, like that of an iPad), as the opening sentence would mean to anything used to truly multitasking OS'es (desktop operating systems / WindowsRT / WebOS / Symbian / Windows Mobile / Samsung's proprietary windowing additions to Android 4.x)? Nope, definitely not.

    Unfortunately, this forum is also full of people that don't seem understand what the new features are. This is why they keep shouting "iOS7 iz teh best thing bicoz it has MULTITASKING!!!!111!One!"
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Cod3rror

    #9
    It's limited, add to that, that you cannot play audio from a video source(Safari with YouTube open for example) in the background anymore.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    #10
    YouTube is limited for licensing reasons. You can still do background audio with Safari.

    So you are incorrect.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    #11
    Are you serious? You want a function that uses the location services for a non-defined amount of time? That would simply kill battery especially since implementing it in the way you mention would mean after you open that app location services would always be running and location services is just one of biggest drains on battery the iphone has.

    I don't see the issue of not being able to split the screen,never thought splitting the screen worked very well in touch-based devices.

    Clearly for your needs the Windows tablets are better so perhaps you should get one.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    Cod3rror

    #12
    Really? You can do it from other websites? Can you please provide proof?

    Is they limited it for licensing reasons, that is such a stupid decision. What are they going to do next? Limit PC browsers so they don't play audio in the background?
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    #13

    http://webmedia.gty.org/sermons/High/90-427.mp3

    Try this. It'll play in safari whe you check mail for example
     
  14. macrumors 603

    #14
    If the user wants such an app, there should be a way of providing him. Then, it's up to him to kill the process when he doesn't need logging any more. But he still be given the chance of logging whenever he wants to, without having to restart logging every 10-15 minutes to avoid the process being killed by the OS.

    This is possible on Android (and WP8, assuming you implement the location logger as a "lens" on the latter). On iOS, you can't, unless you reimplement the entire stock Camera app in your own one (have you ever tried it?) to avoid having to run a location / direction / heading logger in the background, as a separate process.

    You don't see. It's you, not everybody. A lot of iOS users, even here in the iOS7 forum (see http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1597464 ), do.

    Nope, I'd like to stick with my Apple gear because, currently, they do have superior hardware (ever seen a WinRT e.g. Surface? Low-res screen, I certainly wouldn't exchange my Retina iPad for it). I just want Apple to get on to speed and at least try to provide iOS users the same (or even better) features present on other, competing OS'es. Or, for that matter (see Quasar), features that JB devs have long been developed and are hugely popular.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    #15
    Go here with Safari and iOS device: http://r-a-d.io/#

    Press play in browser and then home button. It plays in the background no problem.

    Just one example.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    #16
    Assuming users would know they had to kill it, the most likely result being people complaining about poor battery life.

    I study in an engineering college, no one complains about it because most if not all understand the iPad wasn't designed to replace a computers productivity.

    If you wish to stick to something that doesn't do all you require while alternatives exist then Ican't understand your complaining, you're making a decision so you'll have to live with it.

    Besides anybody who reads this thread gets the impression Apple "promised" multitasking a la Android and is failing to deliver.

    They have lots of areas to improve but they're trying to remove concern of the user so the user can just use the device,your location solution would force the user to be aware of the fact that he actually needs to kill an application which goes away from their thinking, they won't allow it and there's no point in complaining about it since its clearly a design option of them.
     
  17. Menneisyys2, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    macrumors 603

    #17
    Again: if a user wants to record for example dynamically geotagged video with the stock Camera app, it's up to him to kill the location logger. (Apple's Camera doesn't dynamically geotag videos, unlike many P&S cameras.)

    Yes, we've all heard of this from Apple proponents a hundred times. But times are changing and people that paid thousands or tens of thousands of $$$ during the years rightfully expect Apple to at least try to provide the same freedom, functionality etc. on their tablets / phones as on the competitors' products.

    See above: I'm sticking with Apple because of its hardware superiority, at least with tablets. However, its OS getting stale compared to both Android and WinRT and Apple's reluctance to heavily improve iOS is getting me upset.

    Again, iOS doesn't live in vacuum. Customers of Apple (ones that, again, paid the Apple tax) rightfully expect Apple to at least try to match the competitors' products, software/OS-wise.

    I certainly didn't mean that. I referred to iDownloadBog and the like because it was them that misunderstood Apple's keynote and have spread incorrect statements like "from now, all apps can run in the background" and the like. Same stands for a lot of forum posts here implying iOS7 has the same multitasking freedom as the, in this regard, more advanced OS'es (Android, WP8 / WinRT etc.). Somebody (preferably one with a very strong multiplatform programming background - like me) had to get these facts right.
     
  18. macrumors P6

    #18
    The people who even remotely care about things of this nature (let alone understand what is behind them even on a basic level) comprise a tiny portion of the userbase, and a tiny portion is essentially insignificant as far as what a company would do. Until a company starts feeling some effects of anything related to that not that much would be done, if even then.

    Certainly with te sales of iOS devices being what they have been and what they are still more than likely to be at least in the near future if not well beyond that, none of that really plays much of a role.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    #19
    From what I see our biggest issue is that you can't implement things in iOS as you do on Android and thats fine because they're 2 different platforms.

    The user C DM already answered this but all your points are valid points and yet you(and other people that require more freedom/different implementations of features) represent a tiny portion of the overall buyers of Apple devices which as seen from their approval rates and willingness to buy from Apple again represents Apple's strategy is solid.

    Compare it as this: you have a Porsche 911 and a Rolls Royce(disregard difference in prices),Android is a Porsche 911 its very good for everyday driving but it isn't the ideal one for it while iOS is the Rolls will suck at probably any speed test compared to the 911 yet for a everyday driving it will be the best.
    In a sense both are great platforms yet one is catered to more of the use,don't fine-tune,it'll work great from mostly everything you require. Android will also work great yet you'll have to fine-tune certain things to get the best everyday experience.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    #20
    I agree. I can't see the value in what the OP is suggesting. I've been running iOS since version 2 and I think they've struck just the right balance with iOS 7's enhanced multi-tasking features. I can't honestly remember one time when I've wanted to video record a lecture at the same time I'm surfing the web. Who's the target audience for this, ADD riddled college students?
     
  21. macrumors 601

    Michael Goff

    #21
    Yeah, those ADD riddled college students... or people who want to watch a lecture and type out notes. Either way, everything is perfect the way iOS 7 does it. It'll offer good battery life, and Apple will still be able to throw in anemic batteries in their devices.

    So I guess it's a self-created problem with battery life and multitasking.... but oh well, it's an iPhone!

    /sarcasm
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Gogurt48

    #22
    Realistically, how would someone do that? I can't imagine being able to aim the device at the lecturer, hold it still to record the video, and simultaneously type out notes on it.
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Michael Goff

    #23
    You do know that some teachers put their lectures online, right? Just figured I'd throw that out there. And if you go to online classes... well, I guess only real colleges where you go to a physical class matter, right? I mean, online schools where you learn just as much... they don't matter. >_>;
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    #24
    If it's online, you sure couldn't point an iPad camera at it and make it record. All the classes I took online allowed the lecture to be viewed anytime you wanted too, just find it and hit 'play'.

    Lol, people can be so silly sometimes.
     
  25. macrumors 601

    Michael Goff

    #25
    Huh?
     

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