Apple OS Learning to Chew Gum and Walk at the Same Time, Multitask Support Coming

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 12 2010 3:20 PM
One of the biggest complaints surrounding Apple's iPhone OS is the lack of multitasking support, and it's a valid one. But if the latest rumor proves to be true, critics will soon be silenced, or at least redirect their disgust squarely on the lack of Flash integration.

Citing "people with a proven track record in predicting Apple's technological advances," says the Cupertino-based company will introduce a multitasking solution through the handset's 4.0 software update, at long last allowing third party apps to run in the background.

If this comes to pass -- and we're inclined to believe it will -- the move couldn't come at a better time for Apple. Facing increased competition from Google's Android platform, Apple is at risk of giving up even more of its mobile market share than it already has. Multitasking support would go a long way in preventing the competition from dethroning the iPhone as arguably the sexiest smartphone on the market.

And it's not just the smartphone market that's at stake, either. Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad this morning, which has grand aspirations of conquering the netbook, e-book reader, and tablet markets all at once. Whether or not it can do that without Flash support remains to be seen, but at the very least, multitasking will be crucial in pushing out a $500+ handheld gadget.

So why has it taken Apple so long to integrate multitasking? The iPhone is certainly capable and already allows specific apps to run in the background, such as the system's phone, SMS, email, and other bundled software. But as far as Apple is concerned, extending that same courtesy to third party apps obtained through the App Store presents a security risk. By disallowing third-party multitasking, there's no chance of a rogue app running in the background unbeknownst to the end-user.

How Apple intends to address the security risk while still allowing multitasking isn't yet known, but if Steves Jobs and Co. hope to compete against the plethora of handheld gadgets on the horizon, they would be wise to figure it out.
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Inspector replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 5:43 PM

Never thought of a security risk there till now... But i would still love to multitask! Im in a middle of a game and i get a call... guess what? i got to pick it up -.-, i reopen the game after and i have to restart :(

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ClemSnide replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 6:23 PM

@Inspector: I have an iPod Touch, and every game (and utility app) I have on it quits cleanly and restarts excatly where it left off. It's one of the reasons I never considered that multitasking on a handheld device was that important. (Though an iPhone user of my acquaintence did take a call in the middle of a game we were playing, and we got back to itimmediately thereafter, with no loss of moves.)

Maybe third-party programmers just need to be smarter.

"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

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Inspector replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 6:33 PM

Hum maybe, but in a lot of my games i got to restart the whole thing(like tap tap... lol)

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rapid1 replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 11:48 PM

interesting I also wonder if the name, and it's being released or scheduled for is the start of a move to anything with the version number of 4, like of course the next iteration of the iPhone.

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