iPhone OS 4.0 Prediction / Request

6thApr. × ’10

Below are my thoughts on how multiple running applications should behave in a world where iPhone OS 4.0 turns out to support them.

iPhone OS 4.o should have support for background processes. Not support for applications that are left running like on Android (which created a market for 3rd party task switchers and killers) but background processes with no UI support. The OS should provide no ability to kill a process unless you launch the application that is responsible for it and disable whatever feature that application uses that requires said process. If we take Pandora as an example I would expect a settings item in the application to say “Enable streaming while application is not in foreground”. In addition to an in-app setting I would expect a global setting similar to Enable Push Notifications and Enable Location Services are handled, per app and global.

From a developers perspective the implementation would follow a similar model to Android where your application can spin off a Service and the a UI can hook into it for data or control when needed. The application would be responsible for killing the process.

The main concern that shaped my opinion is how Android’s implementation spills it’s guts on the user and the negative impact I feel it has on usability.  Android has this strange and hard to understand concept of task switching (long press on home button) and killing processes (deep in the settings hierarchy) which can leave the user completely unsure what’s happening with your device at any one time and why it’s sluggish and the battery isn’t performing very well.

Oh, and if they can, I’d appreciate it if Apple threw in NSAttributedString support for to the iPhone. UIWebView works but it’s not ideal in all situations.

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