This fall, Apple will release the most polarizing change to iOS since the original iPhone. In past years, iOS updates would build upon a previous update. For the most part, the user interface and way of doing things largely remained the same. That’s all changing. Apple’s Senior VP of Design, Jony Ive, has taken a fresh look at all aspects of iOS, with many of them changing. iOS 7 software is very much still in beta, so it’s likely things could and will change by the time it’s publicly available. Apple has introduced and demonstrated much of what we’ll see in the coming months. One such change is how iOS 7 handles multitasking compared to iOS 6.
The method of accessing multitasking remains the same in iOS 7 as compared to iOS 6. From the home screen or any application, double-clicking the home button will bring up icons of open application. In iOS 6, applications are in the background, but third party applications are not actively updating. Multitasking in iOS could be defined as app switching. The row of four icons that appear at the bottom can be swiped through, while tapping on the icon switches from what you were working on to the new app. Part of the announced iOS 7 feature set describes how in addition to app icons, a new card view provides a preview of what’s happening within an app. As you can see from the Apple provided screenshot, you can see your Calendar appointments without having to jump into the app and see that Daft Punk is queued up in the Music app. To remove an app, swiping up will close it. This card view is reminiscent of Safari and it’s also similar to how the now defunct webOS would handle multitasking. webOS would actively show apps working, where iOS still for the most part will pause the state for the app. It’s for this reason that battery life on the iPhone and iPad has always been relatively stellar compared to the competition. Allowing third party apps to run in the background is a losing proposition, unless you can come up with a viable solution.
So in current versions of iOS, you invoke multitasking and switch to your preferred app. Let’s say you check your social networks each morning and like most, you have Facebook and your preferred Twitter app open. You’d proceed to double-click home, switch to the app and update. It’s a relatively painless and quick procedure, but it takes time. Here’s where the promise of iOS 7 multitasking sounds like a vast improvement. Apple has promised something called Intelligently scheduled updates.
iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 a.m. every day, your feed will be ready and waiting for you.
It will also update apps during what they call power-efficient times, which can be when you are connected to Wi-Fi.
The new multitasking feature in iOS 7 has very nice improvements. By implementing card view, the impact of being able to view information specific to an app is a vast improvement. The more intriguing feature is how iOS 7 can learning your tendancies and deliver updated information. My morning ritual consists of checking email, social networks and website statistics for the previous day. If you have a semi-regular schedule, iOS 7 should be smart enough to provide timely updates. When combined with the improved card view, multitasking in iOS 7 seems to take the best parts of webOS and brings it to the future. That future happens in just a few months, with the release of iOS 7. Does the new multitasking feature have you excited?