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The SDK constraints are justified in terms of hardware resource constraints. However, the main uses of multitasking TBG identifies are available, though I don't think the interface is up to much: intrusive dialog box.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SDK constraints are justified in terms of hardware resource constraints. Well, yes.

the main uses of multitasking TBG identifies are available: Well, yes, where "main uses" means application functionality (e.g. platform-dependent but probably "limited edition" versions of PC software.) though not necessarily sufficient storage media (e.g. local hard drive or remote server rental, ergo calls to).

Abandoning keyboard input and restricting output facilities (datatypes, protocols) are profound (perhaps justified) differentiating feature of the i* product line (pad, phone,"stereo") among all electronic devices. I think iPad is headed straight for Palm Hell. Or...

the interface is up to much: intrusive dialog box: Well, yes, subsequently. Interface development I think points primarily to adaption to peripheral hardware devices, which is what TBG mentions. Cannibal territory within corporate divisions.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you used an iPhone much?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:58:08 AM EST
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Not at all. I use a garden variety cell phone. Worse, I don't exercise my speed dial rights.

I have employed Apple products in a variety of professional venues since 1988.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er - no. You can have remote notifications and badging, which is how some Twitter clients work. But that relies on an external server on Apple's own network. This is fine for messaging, with very strict limitations, but it's not in any way real multitasking, and it's extremely limited, and locked to Apple.

You can do URL launching, which is the closest the iPhone gets to task switching. There's no support for foreground/background, no manual or automatic task/app switching, and no way to - say - leave an app running in the background with a timer so that it reappears at a fixed time.

There's no internal inter-app communication or messaging of any kind. Your app can talk to and get data from the official installed apps, up to a point, but it can't send messages to an arbitrary non-Apple app.

There's also the file sandboxing system, which means sharing data between apps is somewhere between difficult and impossible. (Although that's been loosened in the latest SDK. Kind of.)

There's certainly no concept of decentralised data or processing, which could have been far more interesting to develop for than something that doesn't implement programming ideas from twenty years ago.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:58:49 AM EST
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No there isn't - and the sandboxing is a pain in the ass. However, at least you don't have to worry about apps screwing up other apps, a trade-off I'm happy with on a Phone. As you point out this has changed a bit on the iPad.

What are your use-cases for background processing on an iPhone?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:07:57 AM EST
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Off the top of my head:

Background polling of notifications - you can run your own mini-server running board games, location updates, news, simple RSS, etc, without having to use push notifications.

Reminder date/time timer applications.

Background download and polling of useful stuff (let's say over WiFi only, to keep carriers happy.) Bulkier information would appear instantly, and you wouldn't have to wait for it to be updated when the app runs. Good for packaged content.

It's not hard to think of more specific sub-uses.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First one is covered by push, if clunkily.

I don't know why not hooks for time related stuff. I suspect it'll come.

How would owners respond to a background app eating their battery? Which is Apple's argument. Less applicable to the iPad though - again I suspect some iPad restrictions will be loosened as hardware moves forward.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clunky is a problem because it changes cost of development from 'Interesting, maybe I'll do that' to 'Nah...'

I don't really get the battery argument. Apps don't have to be really, really busy unless they're doing useful stuff. You could set up a 'Give me a timeslice every five minutes' option and it would make no real difference to battery life.

This is how everyone else does it, so it's not as if it's not practical.

A lot of the time you have to do the processing and downloading anyway, sooner or later. All that happens now is it gets deferred until the app is run.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How would owners respond to a background app eating their battery? Which is Apple's argument.

I don't want Steve Jobs' marketig strategy to dictate how much power I can chug out of the battery. It should be my choice whether on a particular full battery load I want to get 9h of web browsing or 90 minutes of World of Warcraft (or, in the social networking vein, Second Life). If some owners cannot understand that certain users will eat the battery faster than other why should the rest of us suffer for it?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 04:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the joy of Apple products....

And, anyway, you couldn't get 90 minutes of WoW if you somehow attached five batteries to the thing.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 05:35:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck getting WoW to even run on a device with no dedicated 3D rendering hardware.
by Zwackus on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 07:49:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, no Second Life either?

I think I'll stick to my MacBook until Steve Jobs gets the iPad right :P

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 07:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yeah, there's that.  Plus it'd be a royal pain in the ass to use any special moves from the button on the bottom.

I could see it being enjoyable on an iPad with sufficiently powerful hardware.  Maybe even more so than a regular computer, since you could bring all sorts of hand gestures into it and get a kind of Wii-on-steroids feel.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 08:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
iThings do have graphical acceleration - there's a version of Open GL ES in there, running on rendering hardware.

What they don't have is the vast memory and disk space needed for textures, or the bandwidth for refreshes. Or the processor speed.

Or the battery life. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 08:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 09:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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