Volitans Software

Steven F Gets It All Wrong

In his recent blog post Steven writes

This is such a perfectly encapsulated nutshell of exactly why Apple does not allow third-party background processes on the iPhone.

He gets it all wrong. If this is why Apple doesn’t allow third-party background apps on Touch OS X devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), then Apple has failed at UI innovating. Palm, as well as the Android, have very poor interfaces for allowing background applications.

Mac OS X (which the iPhone OS is based on) can handle background processes just fine. Obviously, the interface for dealing with them is poor for a small touch device. So a new interface needs to be created. I don’t know what Apple has in mind, but I will tell you how I’d do it.

Double click the Home Button, and up comes a popover listing all running applications- iPod, Mail, Safari, Twitter. Each has a little X next to it to kill the app. Tap on the app and the popover flips over to reveal a widget for that app (ala the iPod that currently pops up on a double click). Heck to assuage the nonsensical battery life arguments (let me choose what and how my battery life is- that is why Mail and the iPod can run in the background if I want), a maximum of 4 apps can be running.

I think that solves the problem once and for all. After finally allowing multitasking (just like the finally allowed copy and paste), Apple has only one more hurdle for the perfect phone- unsigned apps. Android won’t stand a chance once those two things are checked off. I’m anxious to see iPhone OS 4.0 to see how they really do implement background apps.