Why I Hope iPhone OS 4.0 Does Not Get Full Multitasking

First, let me go on record saying that AppleInsider is one my favorite blogs focusing on Apple-related information, speculation, and rumors. So, when I read this “matter of fact” subject line…

Apple’s iPhone 4.0 software to deliver multitasking support

I thought that I had missed a major announcement about iPhone OS 4.0. But, when an article/blog opens with People with a proven track record in predicting Apple’s technological advances and then not saying what that track record is, I’m labeling this wild-eyed speculation. For all we know, this source might be the same one that said the 3rd generation iPod touch would gain a camera last year or that the iPad would launch with service from Verizon instead of AT&T or that the iPad would have a front-facing camera video conferencing.

That said (wild-eyed speculation, that is), I think it is entirely plausible that Apple will introduce traditional multitasking (vs. the limited Apple-apps-only multitasking) in iPhone OS 4.0. And, I’ll go on record saying I think this is a bad idea. Here’s why:

– Although many developers want multitasking to enable, very few iPhone users seem to be demanding multitasking. The only exception might be heavy users of social networking services like Twitter, Gowalla, and Foursqaure.

– Managing multiple applications on a mobile platform is a very hard thing to do. Microsoft has not figured it out after more than a decade of trying. One of the most asked for features by end users is to have the “X” button on Windows Mobile apps close and exit the app. Microsoft’s refusal to do this for years led to nearly every hardware manufacturer adding a task manager app to their product. Google has had its own problem with Android in its relatively short time on the market. The most recommended app type I Android users advise new users to download and use is a task manager like Advanced Task Killer. The good folks at Apple are smart. But, I’m not sure they are able to solve the multitasking management problem.

– If Apple has to police the behavior of apps in a multitasking environment, it will slow down the app approval process even more.