I’m a pretty hardcore iPhone user, sometimes I use it as my primary computing tool when I take off on trips that take me away from my office for long periods of time. I’m not sure why everyone’s so up in arms about multitasking. The only time I get cranky is when I’m using an application like Fring or Meebo, and I need to check an email. Going to one application from the other closes down my chat program, taking me offline, and then forcing me to relaunch the program. It’s annoying. Other than a scenario like the one just mentioned, I rarely find myself wanting multitasking on my device.
Apparently I’m in the minority. Apple Insider has it on “good authority” that multitasking will be delivered to customers with the 4.0 software update. Giving access to users shouldn’t come as a big deal since the iPhone OS supports multitasking already, as mail, SMS, iPod, and Nike+ applications all run in the background already.
There’s been very little actual information given about how Apple plans on ensuring quality control over a device that might have a ton of applications running in the background, but we can all certainly agree that it might be a sticky issue for a lot of consumers.
The geeky crowd will understand how to kill a process or an application that’s out of control, should Apple give us the tools to do just that, but the majority of people have no idea what a process might be and they certainly have no idea what killing a process might mean. If we’re getting multitasking then you can be sure that Apple’s also going to be giving us the tools we need to easily manage apps running in the background.
I just hope that the solution isn’t some locked down method that only allows you to run two applications at once. But, given Apple’s track record with controlling the user experience on their devices, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try something like that. Apple’s long touted that a lack of multitasking is because of security concerns as much as it’s about battery life. Stopping the phone from running background processes has decreased the likelihood that a phone might be taken over by malware or virii. Who knows how much of that is PR and how much of it is truthful, but one thing is for certain, giving typical users more controls of their device could be a little bit of a mess.
Repair shops better start clearing their phone lines. They might be getting an influx of people calling and asking why their iPhones look like they’re booting into Safe Mode.