Marco Arment on iOS Multitasking
I’ve already received multiple emails from people who are excited for iOS 4’s multitasking because they can’t wait for this to finally stop being an issue, because they think Instapaper will be able to download articles periodically in the background.
It’s painful to respond, crushing their hopes, to tell them that the iOS multitasking system doesn’t allow me to do that.
By naming these features “multitasking”, Apple has set customers’ expectations to include what apps can do in a traditional computer multitasking environment.
It’s going to mislead people into expecting such behavior from apps, but we can’t actually deliver most of it.
Some people will notice that no apps can do these things and properly focus their disappointment on Apple. But many others will only notice the shortcomings in one particular app that they need to do the “impossible” and blame that application, leading to dissatisfaction and negative thoughts about the app.
As long as iOS “multitasking” can do much less than traditional multitasking — which will probably always be the case — this is going to be an issue.
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