Thoughts on Multi-Tasking

Discussion in 'iPad' started by InvalidBassist, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. InvalidBassist macrumors regular

    InvalidBassist

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    Chicago
    #1
    Call me ignorant (fine) but I've been thinking about this whole multi-tasking thing and I honestly can't think of a reason that multitasking should be on the iPad.

    I've read the some of the posts on the forum and various tech blog pieces bemoaning the lack of multitasking and I've come up with a list of scenarios that have been suggested as a reason to have such a feature:

    1) Listening to music while...
    I love listening to music and especially when I'm typing, the iPod app can run in the background while running many different apps. Sure Pandora and AOL Radio are nice but I'm sure that eventually someone will jailbreak it and those can run in the background with the proper app (I prefer my own music over the radio anyway).

    2) When researching and writing a paper...
    Most information needed for research during writing a paper is done independent of the word processor, so what's the big deal in opening Mobile Safari, copying what you need from the website with the information, closing Safari and then opening Pages and pasting? Sure it seems like a lot of steps for a simple process on a standard computer, but apparently the iPad is fast. Additionally if you're trying to write a paper on the iPad (and not a computer) you've already recognized that this is not the most ideal device for that task.

    3) Additional multitasking thoughts...
    Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and a good many instant messanger clients all support push notifications. If you're in the middle of something and get one of those notifications, close the app you're working with (most worth-while apps will save the data before closing out), open the one that sent the push notification, reply to it and go back to what you're working with. If the speed of the iPad is to be what has been reported then this task should take a limited amount of time.

    4) I can't think of any more scenarios but my thoughts on flash...
    Really people? Flash is a deterrent for buying a mobile product that isn't a laptop? I want someone to name a product that isn't a laptop, has multitouch, has a battery life somewhere close to 10 hours (for video), an enjoyable GUI, user experience, and that you have or are planning on purchasing and is around $500. I read an article about the reaction to the lack of Flash support on the iPhone and how instead of boycotting the iPhone websites changed their pages to support the iPhone if not redesigning their site then making mobile sites optimized (read: without flash) for the iPhone. If the iPad is popular enough iPad optimized sites might also become a popular option for companies wishing to regain their previous viewer numbers.
     
  2. iPaddy macrumors 6502

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    Jan 17, 2009
    #2
    I'm really not that bothered about multi-tasking. It would be nice if I could keep my pages document open while looking through textbooks and safari, and vice versa, but again, it really makes no difference to me.
     
  3. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #3
    I think it's a classic "most of the people most of the time" issue. But for the few, there will always be circumstances where they insist on true multi-tasking.

    I think we'll get it sooner or later.

    Some other food for fodder: The current method for switching apps requires as little as two taps. One tap on the home button, a second tap on the app you want. You may have to swipe screens to find that app icon.

    When multi-tasking comes, Apple will need to develop a method of swapping among open apps that is no more complicated in terms of taps/swipes otherwise (persistent state notwithstanding) why bother?

    My guess is expose like hot corners.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I'll not quote your entire post but just put my $.02. To a degree, the multi-tasking issue has been blown out of proportion. The key word to a degree. There are plenty of occurrences when having something run in the background makes sense and aides the user.

    I mean in a way ATT has been promoting the idea of having of multi-tasking on the iphone (surfing and talking on the iPhone). There are times when it would make the device that much more usable to be able to run more then one application at a time.
    Push notification helps but its not quite on the same level and its bad answer to what users want.


    As for Flash, yes, its buggy, it consumes a lot of cpu BUT it is virtually a web standard as so many websites use it. Why omit it because of Steve's issues with adobe. It seems more of a personal issue then a technical issue. HTML5 isn't here, and the omission of flash negatively affects iPad sales. Yes, I know of people who won't buy one because it fails to do what they want, i.e., properly handle websites with flash.
     
  5. w00master macrumors 65816

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    Jul 18, 2002
    #5
    For me, multitasking is not just streaming Pandora while browsing. It's also about rapid task switching. Currently, the iPhone (Touch) OS is about an open --> quit metaphor. This works fine for the most part, but as time goes on it becomes annoying and a bit inefficient. Sometimes you just want to "get in and get out." Like responding to an IM, copying a URL from a browser and pasting it to your email, so and so forth. Sure, all of these are possible right now on iPhone, but inefficient. Open --> quit --> open --> quit...

    What I'd love to see is a faster task switching. So, for me it's not "just" about streaming Pandora, it's also becoming more efficient with your tasks.

    w00master
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #6
    Agreed

    And it seems as time goes on, apple is getting more "closed" with their solutions. I love OSX because it doesn't get in my way of working, it's stable, less malware then windows, easier to use etc. With the iPhone, iPod touch and now the iPad. Apple is telling me how I need to work and use the device (no multi-tasking, no flash, approving applications that I can run on the device) I think that's an arrogant stance that will only hurt them in the long run.
     
  7. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #7
    This may not quite fit under multitasking, but I'd like to be able to access the Settings without closing out of the app I'm in. Example, I open a game, find that the screen is too dim to see the details, and want to turn up the brightness. As it is, I have to close the game, open Settings, change brightness level, go back to the game and hope the level is now optimal for the game. If not, I have to repeat until I get it right. Considering that some games take a while to load, this can be a real pain.
     
  8. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

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    Feb 17, 2005
    #8
    A lot of you guys are talking about not having to quit and re-open an app. I have plenty of apps that simply cache the data and have it there ready when you re-open it. It's no different from switching apps as far as I'm concerned. I expect iWork on the iPad will work this way too. I think it's a matter of more apps building in this functionality, or Apple building it into the SDK as a native 'save state' option for all apps.

    Otherwise, I agree with the OP; I also cannot think of a legitimate reason for multi-tasking on the iPhone or iPad, with the one exception of listening to a non-Apple music app. Maybe Apple will allow very specific exceptions to allow multi-tasking for some 3rd party music apps?

    That's a pretty poor opinion to have. Adobe don't support flash on many systems. Notably not on 64-bit systems. There are petitions all over the internet asking for Flash support on such and such system, or for such and such disability, or to just generally improve the performance of it. It's not remotely close to a web "standard."
     
  9. samcraig macrumors P6

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #9
    Here's my .02 for those people excited about the iPad.

    Many of the reasons being given about wanting one is because of everything it can do. That you see the future vision and that you can think of so many uses for it. And that's great.

    But how can you argue that and still not see that multitasking wouldn't be of benefit?

    The example given re: research/cut and pasting into a doc. Sure - you can go in and out. But wouldn't it be NICER and EASIER to not have to? Esp if it's a task you will do often?

    If you get push notifications - wouldn't it be NICER and EASIER if it opened up the app on the side of your current screen so you could quickly respond/read and then go back to your original task?

    If you can see the potential of the iPad - surely you can or should see the potential advantages to multitasking. To not see that or to argue that the iPad shouldn't or doesn't need it is, in my opinion, hypocritical.
     
  10. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #10

    I would never argue that it wouldn't be a benefit. I would however argue that it is a nice to have rather than a must have. I will welcome it when (not if) it comes to the iPad. And I will happily use my iPad as my primary machine until then.

    What's problematic for me is when people tell me I can't use it or shouldn't use it (or worse that *most* people shouldn't use it or get value from it) because it lacks multi-tasking.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    Adobe may not support many platforms, but many many many websites use flash and from that perspective it is a standard. You may not like my interpretation and we can use a different word but the bottom line is that a lot of websites embraced flash and it can only hurt apple for not providing flash support in the iPad (or iphone/ipod touch). If it wasn't a huge deal, we'd not see the level of posting here and in the iphone forums.
     
  12. InvalidBassist thread starter macrumors regular

    InvalidBassist

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    #12
    I agree that multitasking would be a great way to handle some of the everyday tasks that arise with use, but I've read a lot of things that refuse to even think of the iPad as a buyable product because of the lack of Flash or Multitasking support.

    I think that the iPhone OS has so far been a viable solution for multitasking without multitasking.

    I didn't think about, say, an IM client popping on the side of a program like the new menus. That would be great and something that Apple should be able to incorporate. With more processor power and a better battery technology they should be able to push the iPhone OS harder. Its possible in the future, but for now (or in a couple months) I'm happy with the way it handles those tasks... of course I'm a hopeless dreamer.
     
  13. MacVDS macrumors regular

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    Philomath Oregeon
    #13
    The mail program on my iTouch does that. I opened a new message, closed it, went to Safari and copied a half page of data, went back to mail and it open in the message I was composing and I pasted the text. I suppose the iPad will work the same way. Oh, I also did the same thing in a composed message, closed, went to photos, copied a photo, then went right back to my composed message and pasted it. Not a big deal really.
     
  14. bossxii macrumors 68000

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    Kansas City
    #14
    I think for me multitasking would provide the most benefit of the so called "missing features" list. (camera, multi, flash) This has been one of the reasons I actually jailbroke my iPhone so I could deal with some email and also have a web browser open and lost my place while swapping back and forth. I think the larger screen, and the fact even on my 27" iMac i use spaces and multitask nearly every day. Clearly I'm posting here on MR :), while my citrix client has my work desktop open along with several other programs running. It's not going to stop me from purchasing the iPad, but I can say it is on the top of my wish list. I see spaces used on a device like this working very well. I clearly don't understand why it was left out, but I trust the engineers at Apple have their reasons, or SJ just told them NO! lol
     
  15. lordhamster macrumors 6502

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    Jan 23, 2008
    #15
    The fact that the iPhone/iPad opens apps so fast makes the lack of 3rd party app multi-tasking less important, yet I still would love to see some "advanced mode" that allowed users to enable it.

    The current mutli-tasking is ok for me and won't be a dealbreaker, but I'm still praying for a miracle come release time.
     
  16. eplchamps0305 macrumors member

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    Dec 24, 2009
    #16
    I agree. This happens to me a lot. Its just stupid to have to through all those steps.
     
  17. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Hopefully the websites that decided to use flash will be hurt more than Apple, and decide to embrace a real standard instead of the pile of steaming dung that is flash.
     
  18. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #18
    1) Listening to music while...
    Wait till Apple gets streaming sorted for itself. They may well be carving a space out for an upgrade to iTunes. Seeing as you can do itunes in the background, once iTunes does streaming, why not?

    Did anyone see if there was a radio section within the Music player?

    2) When researching and writing a paper...

    Then throw a windowed Safari into the app. I know that's possible, as it already happens in Tweetie, and TWiT's audio streaming app.

    3) Additional multitasking thoughts...
    With a Larger size, who's to say in the future you couldn't pin IM/Social Networking client page clips on a widget page and have that be in the background?

    4) I can't think of any more scenarios but my thoughts on flash...
    Adobe's future shock that it sees Flash about to take another beating, and that they will have to turn to actually making a decent HTML5 content creator product. Roll on CS5.
     
  19. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I just can't understand these arguments. Don't you need to do these things anyway?! To go from word into safari and back into word takes exactly the same number of steps on a PC or Mac as it does the iPad. Same with changing brightness settings for a game! There is no magic way to do these things, you still need to leave the current window and open a new window, and then go back to the previous window.

    The only argument in favor of multi-tasking is that it might take you a couple of seconds less because you don't need to wait for the apps to open - But I contend that's a problem to be solved by faster hardware (which the iPad apparently provides), and not by adding in multi-tasking.
     
  20. masterslacker macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2009
    #20
    I have a question since I don't have an iPhone but can we expect the iPad to allow music listening via iTunes while reading e-books, surfing the web, working in iWork? Or is that not even their and they just expect everyone to be using their dedicated music device(nano, shuffle, touch, etc) for listening to music while doing other things on the iPad?

    Thx.
     
  21. JoshJosh117 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 8, 2007
    #21
    In many apps when you go back it won't be where you left off. So you'll have to go through the menus all over again, open a saved file, or load a game level and start from the beginning.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    I doubt it, heck I've seen whole websites built in flash (just go to vajacases.com) and they're not hurting or I bet willing to change over. People tend to bend over backwards when it comes to IE compatibility but any other platform, meh.
     
  23. samcraig macrumors P6

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #23
    I'm sorry you don't understand the argument. It's also not an "argument." It's a discussion.

    Right now I can have Safari open on my macbook and word and toggle very quickly between the two. I don't need to exit out of one program, open another, copy/paste, exit out and then re-open my first program. I can have both open - and even have them share the same screen rather than have it "reduced" and copy/paste very quickly.

    And what you perceive as a few seconds is fine for a once in a blue moon application. But what if you're doing a lot of data entry and need the copy/paste feature constantly. A few seconds times dozens of times (not to mention frustrations) adds up quickly.
     
  24. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #24
    But the second window could open as a pop-up floating over the main window. Apple already implemented some pop-up functionality in the iPad OS, as we saw during the demo. Shouldn't be very hard to extend the pop-up functionality to include simple multi-tasking functionality.
     
  25. liquidsuns macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2009
    #25
    I kinda have a different idea of how multitasking should work on the iPad.

    Multitasking, as we are used to it, is in many ways limiting. If we could have as many apps running as we wanted, apps wouldn't be able to always have the full power of the device accessible. For example, when you open iPhoto, it doesn't know if you have itunes, safari, imovie, etc open too, thus it can't be program to use the full power of your computer. If, when you opened iPhoto, it knew there were no other programs running, it could be coded to use more of the computers power.

    Another problem is simplicity. For a lot of people, supervising our running apps would be a pain, and most people would fail at it. For example, from what I've seen from watching people like my girlfriend, my mom, my sister, my brother, and numerous less "techie" friends, they leave numerous programs open all the time that they aren't even using. This happens more with Macs and the way programs don't actually close when you click the big X button. This would be a HUGE limiting factor for games.

    Apple is going for streamlined simplicity and multitasking, as we know it, is counterproductive to that.

    The good news is that there is a way to make "multitasking" better and still be simple. Multitasking within apps themselves.

    Say I'm a student trying to use my textbook on iBooks, but I also want to be able to take notes and need quick access to safari. Most people's desire (on tech websites anyway) is that I can push some button something like WebOS' card system comes up. There I have my iBook running, my note app running and safari running and I switch between them this way. Well, I actually think that's pretty lame and not even really multitasking anyway, it's just running a bunch of separate, disconnected apps at the same time. And each apps isn't optimized to make full use of my device cause I could also have 10 other programs running too.

    How I think it should work is as follows; I have my textbook open in iBooks, I click on a little button in iBooks called notes, this opens up my note program that's built into iBooks. The Notes window moves up over the textbook, taking up as much screen as I want it too. If I need access to Safari too, I click a little button in iBooks called safari, which brings up a safari window that is built into iBooks.

    I don't have to leave the program at all. I can actually read and take notes at the same time. I can access safari without leaving my book. The windows are all overlayed over the book itself.

    This solves all of the drawbacks of multitasking and, in many ways, is better than multitasking, as I'm not just running disconnected apps that I have to switch between.

    This functionality is already available on the iPhone. Some news apps can open Mail or a safari window without exiting the actual app. With a bigger screen these windows can overlay each other and allow the information and features of both apps available at the same time.

    That's how I think multitasking should work; actual individual apps themselves multitasking.

    edit: the only apps that really need universal multitasking are the phone and message apps.

    I'd also like it if the built in notes apps allowed you to just write on the screen with a stylus, which the iphone has. Students will just carry those around like pens and pencils since they are so cheap.
     

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