Apples plays True or Faux multitasking

Discussion in 'iPad' started by samcraig, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    In thinking about this - with several of the APIs, OS 4.0 will get some elements of multitasking. And some of them are going to be very useful.

    But his comment about that a user shouldn't ever see a task manager is rhetoric. Why? Because to open/close programs, on OS 4.0 you still have to double tap the home screen which brings up running apps and then hold down the icon to get the red x and then remove it from the multitask "dock"

    All Apple has done is made a graphical version of a task manager. So instead of seeing the text of what program is running (and perhaps resources) - it's an icon.

    And speaking of - Switching between apps already running is still the same number steps (one more click actually)as going in and out of a program, no? You're in one app - you double click the home button (instead of just clicking once) and then click the program to go back into.

    GRANTED - you do get the benefit of background task completion/freeze states, etc.

    But I am/was really hoping given the real estate available on the iPad that you'd actually be able to have more than one application UP at a time - side by side, or something.

    Don't get me wrong - and I understand this is multitasking 1.0 for these devices. And to have at least this functionality will be great and very useful.

    But - like my subject line says - is this true or faux multitasking for your needs/wants...?
  2. BaldiMac macrumors 604


    Jan 24, 2008
    It's not a task manager. It's an app switcher. None of the apps are actually running in the background, so there is no need to close them to manage resources. Only the seven services that Apple described actually run in the background.
  3. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    Aug 8, 2002
    While this remains possible, the reality is that the iPad specific devices are now being designed to use the entire screen - quite nicely for the most part :)

    Given that, it gets harder to share the screen among multiple apps.

    Now...multiple iPhone apps on the iPad - that's definitely possible. 4 in portrait or 2 in landscape, though I doubt we'll get that.
  4. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    That's semantics. App Manager / Task Manager. Same thing - just different names. Or perhaps you can explain the difference. And by difference - I mean to a non-techie.
  5. VforVelveta macrumors regular


    Nov 16, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    I think the point was you shouldn't HAVE to use a task manager, and I think their solution does that. From what I can tell, the multitask dock will show apps in order of which were used most recently, so most of the time you'll only ever see the first 4 apps, unless you're switching back and forth between a lot of apps. Either way, the dock will get more and more full, but none of the apps are really "running" as much as they are frozen and not taking up any processor time/RAM. When you hold the icon and hit the minus icon, I think that'll quit it similarly to how it quits in pre-4.0 OS, i.e. it'll need to totally reload the app rather than just unfreezing.

    So basically, its not a task manager in a sense that you can quit processes, because, outside of the 7 APIs, the app doesn't really have any open processes. It's more the difference between frozen/quit.

    Though this is all my thoughts from what I've seen, I'm guessing we'll know more as time goes on.
  6. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    Aug 8, 2002
    It's more than just semantics Sam, it's wrong. The apps ARE running in the background - see: streaming, music.
  7. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Does this mean that even if you remove the app from the app switcher dock, it still could be running one of the seven APIs?

    So you'd have to actually click on the app and close it yourself to fully quit it from running.
  8. VforVelveta macrumors regular


    Nov 16, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    I don't think it's really semantics, they are two different things. Relating to a desktop OS, the App Manager would be your Dock/Taskbar, and the Task Manger would be more like the Activity Monitor/Task Manager. One controls what your focusing on, the other controls what your resources (processor, RAM) are being dedicated to. So for 4.0, from a task manager perspective, freezing and quitting accomplish basically the same thing.
  9. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I have no inside knowledge on this, but... Could support for multiple iPhone apps on screen at the same time be the reason for the slight delay in releasing the iPad OS 4 update?

    That would be useful for a handful of apps. (non-game stuff mostly)
  10. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    It's faux multitasking. I'll go a step further and say that Apple took a page from the PalmOS playbook. PalmOS used to do this to have apps "suspended" and there were back-alley workarounds for multitasking "exceptions" for things like push email or alarms going off. I don't mind one bit.

    Sure, I'd like to be able to start air sharing then go to remote tap and drag and drop files from my Mac onto my iPad but I'll accept these baby steps as a step on the road to making the slate form factor my main computer. I've already stopped using my Macbook for anything the iPad can do and as time goes on, I'll probably replace it with a Mac Mini and always use my iPad as a vnc viewer to do "real work" on the mini. I know Apple doesn't want to hear this but I may never buy another Macbook, or if I do I won't be concerned about carrying it around but rather leaving it sitting on a desk.

    What I'd love to see is a new iMac where you grab the screen off the stand and walk away with it. As soon as it is undocked from its stand, it runs iPad OS (probably in a virtualbox). When you dock it, you get keyboard, mouse and OS X to your heart's content. I'm really excited about the future that iPad is opening up for us.

    Obstinate refusal to offer a filesystem is an attempt on Apple's part to stave off a rush to the iPad as a primary computer. Just like jailbreaking dragged Apple kicking and screaming to support wallpaper and folders, I'm sure the jailbreakers are already working on a filesystem for the iPad.

    But I don't plan jailbreaking mine. I can wait. Since I already own a Macbook and have a way to remote into it (using remotetap) I can limp along with my iPad "as is". I don't demand that Apple offer true multitasking on a long battery life low end processor device, but I do hope they dramatically expand the APIs available to apps in the background. For instance, I'd like to be able to leave apache running in the background on my iPad. This could be accomplished by adding network services to the list of APIs. Apache could wake up when I wanted to drop a file to my iPad and go back to sleep when I was done.

    I should add that I think Steve was BSing a bit about not having a task manager. If he meant you don't absolutely have to have one, then I can go along. But if he was claiming not to have one while at the same time showing one then I would have to call BS.
  11. Bat Commander macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2009
    No, the App doesn't run in the background, just the streaming music part. Apple built in 7 APIs that run in the background and the app developer can take advantage of any of those APIs to make it look and feel like their app is running in the background, but it's not. It's just one of Apple's services that is running, not the actual third party app.

    Watch the video on yesterdays event. It's all explained.
  12. 2002cbr600f4i macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2008
    One thing I DO hope to see, but couldn't tell from the presentation, is are they doing any sort of shared libraries? Specifically, the networking stack...

    My understanding currently is that if you launch 1 app that does TCPIP networking, and then close it and launch a different app that doesn't do any networking, the whole TCPIP Stack is dropped from memory.

    One would hope that if you have multiple Network oriented apps open using the new mechanism ,that there'd only be 1 copy of the network stack up and running and they'd both make use of it, rather than 2 copies sucking up resources...
  13. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    1500 new APIs actually.
  14. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    If you remove it from the app switching dock, it is fully closed.

    He was referring to the 7 background services.
  15. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I understand what you're saying. But to the general public? Task = app. So whether it's called a task manager or app manager IS semantics. They are how you control what does or does not run at one time.

    I don't begrudge Steve for his answer - it's a great sound bite which he always gives. But that's really all it is.
  16. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    It seems conceivably if your apps are in frozen state there may be no need to close them. The MT dock is just a container to indicate what apps are active. I guess Apple could have done it by changing the color of the app icon, but the dock is much more intuitive.

    It's not a task manager, because there may be no operating apps to manage. It's just an organized tray of apps you have running. Honestly to the end user its a pretty fine point, but what's going on behind the scenes should be pretty significant.
  17. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    Aug 8, 2002
    Okay I stand corrected. Or rather, sit corrected. In any case, there *is* a process (or processes) running in the background, however narrowly allowed by Apple via the APIs. So it's incorrect to infer or imply - as some are doing - that because the apps 'aren't running' that there's zero drain on resources. There is clearly *some* however cleverly done by Apple.
  18. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I agree. Which is why Steve's comment about how the user shouldn't have to worry or use a task manager is sort of rhetoric. Whatever he calls it - to the average joe, that "dock" is an task manager. There are apps (tasks) that are being used and this "dock" is how to reload/kill them. That's a task manager. Whether or not they are ACTUALLY doing anything, to the general user, makes no difference.
  19. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I think the words Steve used are more apt here.

    He said if you "have to use a task manager". Not that there is one available, you just don't HAVE to use it. I'm assuming here that by 'task manager' he means the windows version of it which you only use mainly to kill applications, not start them.

    On a windows phone you HAVE to use the task manager to kill tasks when things start slowing down.

    More than likely, in normal operation, you'll never HAVE to use the iPhone's 'task manager'. It's probably only there in case of rogue applications/crashes.
  20. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    Aug 8, 2002
    I would quibble in one regard - it does matter to the average user in cases where it's abundantly clear that the app's state was or was not saved, e.g. safari pages having to reload (or not), etc.
  21. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    To be a bit more accurate, it's an organized tray of apps that you have recently used. Apps that do not support background tasks also show up in the list, in the order they were used. This makes it easy to switch between a few apps that you might currently be working with, even if none of the apps actually do anything in the background and therefore are fully quit/restarted when you switch away from or to them.
  22. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Well that's a good distinction and brings up the "ease" of switching apps regardless of what page it's on (i.e. one app is on page 1 and another or page 9 of your apps)
  23. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    It depends what's being done. If it's in a frozen state, then there maybe little to no resources involved. Obviously if you're streaming music or listening for VoIP activity there is a process doing something, but odds are those apps will be few and certainly not many running at once.

    No, if I have a Twitter client hidden on my computer, it's running (tasking) in the background as if it were in the foreground. If I have it on the iPhone, it's frozen. When I open it, it has my state frozen, but it will poll for new activity since I last opened it. Even if I'm streaming music, that specific function is working, but not the entire app. At least that's how I understood it.
  24. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    ok - so to someone doesn't know any better - they aren't getting multitasking as they think they are by your definition. IE - If I had twitter open and had it docked then left - 20 min came back, I would expect that as SOON as I opened it, it would be current. But (and we'll have to wait and see) it seems as though you're suggesting that the twitter client would simply download the latest after I've opened it.

    So all that dock saves me is going back to the app (whatever screen it's on on my iPad) and opening it up again.

    So - I don't really consider that multitasking. But the dock it sits on, to a general user will appear as if that's what that dock is for...
  25. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    Not sure about that. It's not just a history of opened apps or a favorites list. The OS is doing something for those apps if it's in the MP tray.

    I'm kind of assuming if it doesn't support MP (perhaps not 4.0 compatible) it will just quit. So, maybe the default MP status will be the frozen API. That would make sense, but I have no idea on that.

    MP support is limited to the seven APIs. People may make assumptions of what multitasking means, but if a function is outside of the APIs then that assumption would be wrong.

    Frankly, the difference with your example is insignificant except for battery and CPU usage. If I haven't opened the twitter client in an hour, the difference between it pulling all updates then and it doing every five minutes for the same result just means battery life. The advantage of having it backgrounded is it will retain your last read, but as many clients do this anyway, there's little need to keep it running, particularly when alerts will still be handled by Push.

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