Apple has started airing a new iPad commercial to audiences in the United States that showcases all the recent additions that the company has introduced to the iPad – including AirPrint, AirPlay and multitasking.
The iPad commercial begins with a demonstration of the iPad’s ability to “create” documents instead of being merely able to consume media. It further notes the other major introductions with iOS 4.2 including the ability to wireless print documents, stream media to television, multitask and be used as an education and productivity device.
You can check out the video embedded below.
Well, I have objections to the rosy picture painted by the commercial – to be fair, the iPad does not work well as a media creation tool, the Airplay and AirPrint features are pretty limited at the moment and it is really not a device you should buy if you are thinking of working on a lot of documents. But then, it’s after all an ad. So I shouldn’t be complaining.
A lot of iPhone users out there must have already upgraded their iPhone to the latest iOS. The new iPhone OS platform brings close to 100 new features including multitasking, custom wallpaper support and bluetooth keyboard to the iPhone. However, as most users owning an older model of iPhone would realize, several of the iOS 4 features including multitasking and wallpaper customization shall not be available on iPhone 3G.
Steve Jobs has his answers ready. On multitasking, he has explained how this new functionality will degrade battery performance since the old iPhone model is really not built to handle multiple applications at a time. Consequently, the battery may die sooner thus spoiling user experience. But is this assessment true?
Truth be told, the iPhone 3G battery will die only as fast as the iPhone 3GS would. This is because the new multitasking functionality on iOS 4 does not in fact run multiple apps all the time. Instead, as popular iPhone app developer explains, this is only a “sleight of hand“. Hockenberry writes,
“When you double-tap on the home button and start another application, the previous application is “frozen” and put into a state where it’s not running but can be restarted quickly. A part of the freezing process also reduces the amount of memory being used: allowing more applications to fit in freezer.
Most of your apps will be frozen and not using power: only the app on your screen is active. And even with audio, phone or GPS apps that are running in the background, you won’t be using more than one of those at a time (go ahead and try to listen to Pandora and the iPod apps at the same time!)”
As you see, when users “multitask“, all that they are doing is creating a bookmark for active apps that are quickly accessed via the double-tap. This is more or less the same as closing one application and launching another application – but just more convenient. Consequently, this sort of multitasking SHOULD work efficiently on iPhone 3G as much as it works on the 3GS or iPhone 4.
This is not the one feature iPhone 3G users have a problem with. The iOS 4 does not allow users to set customized wallpapers on their iPhone 3G. In response to an email from a user, Steve Jobs writes,
“The icon animation with backgrounds didn’t perform well enough.”
If Apple’s bluff in the earlier instance was not apparent, it is very evident in this case. Custom wallpapers for mobile phones is nothing revolutionary – it is as old as the mobile phone itself. It only speaks poorly of the Apple engineers if they were unable to get the icon animations right for the iPhone 3G.
Nobody can reason out why these are not supported though. But speculations can be right many times and in this case, it is just Apple’s greed to get more people upgrade to a newer iPhone. And lack of support to features like multitasking and wallpapers help Apple show iPhone 3G as the proverbial ugly ducklings in a crowd of iPhone users. “Hey, you don’t have a custom wallpaper? Your phone must be really old, then“.
Now, iPhone 3G users – go upgrade your iPhones then.
Apple has been ridiculed, abused and hated for the lack of critical features like multitasking on the iPhone. However, over the past two years, the company at least brought in copy-paste functionalities to the iPhone.
Now, it seems like a similar story is set to unfold – with Microsoft. Rumors are that Windows Phone 7 that is expected to roll out in the second half of this year will miss clipboard functionalities as well as complete multi-tasking. Charlie Kendell from the Microsoft Windows Phone app platform says,
“We do not allow third-party applications running on the phone to execute in the background. We’re poised to support it eventually, but in order to support great battery life and great end-user experience, we’re focusing on the integrated experiences first.”
Looks like Microsoft has got the script totally wrong. The iPhone clicked despite its shortcomings because the smartphone was still in its early stages back then. But today (or six months down the lane when WinMo 7 launches), there are a plethora of smartphones available; some with multitasking and clipboard features enabled. Even the iPhone is rumored to be getting its multitasking feature in a couple of months.
Isn’t Microsoft too late to the party?
Multitasking, the simple process of being able to toggle between two or more apps may finally come to the iPhone. According to reliable sources that Apple Insider spoke to, Apple shall be incorporating a “full on” solution that will finally enable multitasking without drastic drop in battery performance. Apple Insider writes
“From a user-facing perspective, Apple plans to deliver a multi-tasking manager that leverages interface technology already bundled with its Mac OS X operating system, according to those same people. It was requested that specifics be withheld at this time, as the iPhone Software 4.0 remains under development and reportedly has a quite ‘way to go’ before it’s ready for prime time.”
Multitasking has been one of the most vocal demands from iPhone users (Adobe Flash, front-facing camera, transparent app store policies etc. being a few other things) who want to have greater freedom on what they would like to do on their iPhones without having to deal with the Apple police.
However, disclaimer’s that this is still a rumor and the ball is still very much in Apple’s court over whether this will finally be implemented.
[via Apple Insider]
Apple’s penchant for depriving users of much necessary features seems to be spreading like a virus. The Windows Phone 7 which is expected to be demoed next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is rumored to come without Flash and multitasking.
In a recently published article, folks at PPCgeeks reveal that the event during MWC will only preview the device and will not be a full length introduction. However, a few interesting features about the OS are likely to be announced
- UI very similar to Zune HD interface
- App installation through a marketplace (similar to Apple App Store)
- Marketplace to include “try before you buy” option
- No backward compatibility
- Complete Zune integration
- Zune software to replace Windows Mobile Device Center for PC syncing
- Full Xbox gaming integration
- Integrated social networking
- No Flash and multitasking
While the features appear interesting, the last point has taken the sheen off the excitement. How about you? Do you feel the same way? Tell us in the comments.