iPhone OS 3.2: Video Calls, File Downloads, Pseudo-Multitasking?

Based on an SDK which doesn't differentiate between the iPhone and iPad, folks at Engadget say they've confirmed that the iPhone OS 3.2 has "rudimentary" support for video calling and file downloading. Too soon for any excitement at all?

File downloading and local storage in the browser could be great. Just imagine finally being able to grab a song off the internet and actually save it on your iPhone. The daydreamer in me wants to believe that files downloaded in such a manner would be accessible by all applications. I'd download a cheesy tune from an artist's website, attach it to an email to my lover, upload it for posting on Twitter, and force my musical preferences onto the whole world without ever needing to set down my iPhone.

The suggestion of multitasking comes from the fact that there appears to be a function to run video calls in "either full screen mode or in just a portion of the screen". Engadget is interpreting this as meaning that you'll be able to "chat and do other things at the same time". We suspect that it's more likely that this function is related to the manner in which a new call comes in. Just as a contact's picture can pop up with a call, a video chat could begin in partial-screen mode. Debate about the actual potential features aside, what's the point of video chat capabilities in devices without front-facing cameras anyway?

With all this way-too-early excitement, an important thing to keep in mind is that the SDK this information is being pulled from is the same for the iPhone as it is for the iPad. It's tough to tell which features would apply to which device. That and the fact we're talking about an SDK and potential options. There's no guarantee that we'll see any of this in the iPhone OS 4.0. Or ever. [Engadget]



    > Pseudo-Multitasking

    The iphone hardware, software, and OS has always done true multi-tasking.

    But only certain apps really need to.

    Not sure why you would NEED to multitask EVERYTHING on your phone. Just to deliberately kill the battery and waste memory?

    Any iphone app can give the user the info he needs (in real-time) *WITHOUT* multi-tasking.

      That may be true, iphone multitasks its browser, ipod, and other essential services (sms, clock, etc)

      However, for things like chat, pandora streaming, youtube, iphone is pretty much single tasking here...

      Let me explain:
      - IM with notification is flawed as it takes forever to load up the chat program everytime you switch from a different app
      - pandora streaming stops the minute you exit the app
      - you can't wait for a youtube video to buffer and go to browse a website. If you reopen youtube you will start from scratch
      - can't switch from facebook to browser and back without killing facebook...
      - can't pause a game when taking a call without restarting the game

      And so on...

    Well what if u wanted to listen to a 3rd party radio/music app, while not losing your critical spot in a game or waiting for a webpage to reload while making a call and listening to turn by turn directions from a navigational app at the same time u were recording a video, I know I do :P

    Another fantastic feature would be the ability to change the message tone.... It's fairly limited...

    Agree with Patty...

    The biggest problem I have with my users at work and their Blackberry's is the have Google Maps open, then switch apps to something else and leave Google Maps open in the background...

    The result? - Their battery continues to quickly burn through and their device gets REALLY hot (GPS)... but the user doesn't realise and just keeps charging their battery more and more... All because RIM allows multitasking on ALL apps!

    Users *mostly* DON'T know or care about multitasking... and I think at the moment Apple have made the right decision for the MAJORITY of their users... regardless if they like it or not!

    I hope Apple do allow multitasking to some degree AND also implement a better notification system... just they need to do a better job than RIM!

    not sure if this happens to you guys, but whenever i need to check something on a website while on a call it tells me i cant - that for me is very anoying

    You don't really need FULL multitasking for the majority of apps.

    For switching between apps, simply putting the current app to sleep would be fine, meaning that when you exit from the second app, you are returned to where you left off (taking a phone call while doing just about anything at all for example, been able to switch between the browser and the sms/email app to send information, etc).

    An app that runs in the background could also be prioritized to a much lower level, meaning it takes up less CPU time and (as the mac os does anyway), release any of it's essential screen resources, saving on memory.

    Because of the limited nature of the memory, however (I believe that the iPhone OS does NOT use a swap file) the ability to store multiple apps in the background may quickly degrade the performance of the device and lead to a lot more "crashes" as apps quickly run out memory.

    As for file downloads, while I can't comment fully, I believe that the OS now allows for "shared" folders, which would appear in the "finder" as, I guess, "shared folders" (or network folders), thus allowing you to copy files to and from the device to be used within the given app (think of all your office docs on the ipad, or, more importantly, a comic book reader!).

    There is also a suggestion of file association, so that an app can register it self with the ability to read a given type of file, meaning that when the user wants to open a file (how they would do this I'm unsure), the OS would be able to "choice" the app to use (this could be the file download point).

    While not having not tried any of these, I'd like to think I might get an options dialog, listing the available apps, so that I choice the best app for the given context (cause I won't always want the photo app when opening an image - or writer when opening a document...how long before we see office for the iPad??).

    I'd still like to see a full fledged GPS...this could be the best turn-by-turn nav device out there!

    Some of the key features of the iphone is it's limitations.

    Software developers have a small number of handsets to benchmark their apps. They can make assumptions as to what resources they have available to optimise the application to use all of them.

    Apple do sacrifice overall functionality but they make the functions that you use 99% of the time work faster and accessible to the non-technical person. A great proportion of tech consumers are complete n00bs.

    Seems whenever Apple brings out a product these days, people assume it is intended to be perfect for everyone.

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