Why Apple Is Not Enabling Multitasking In Old iPhone/iPod Touch?

When Apple announced multitasking for iPhone OS 4, everyone got giddy... until they said that this important feature wouldn't work in older iThingies because of "hardware limitations". The hardware, however, fully supports multitasking. Why not enable it, then, Apple?

The fact is that the hardware in the old models of the iPhone and the iPod touch fully supports multitasking. By changing a single text line in a preferences file - the property list N82AP.plits - you can enable the new multitasking abilities in the new iPhone OS 4.

So why has Apple decided not to enable it? Most probably it is a matter of resources. The original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, and iPod Touch 1st and 2nd generation have a quite slower CPU compared to the 3GS and third generation iPod touch. What is more important: They have a very limited RAM space, only 128 megabytes.

That probably makes multitasking slower than what Steve Jobs and Co find acceptable. If an user keeps opening applications, it will probably affect the experience so much that many will be unhappy very fast. The question is: Shouldn't be this an option available in the system preferences? Most probably, Apple thought the benefits will never be enough even for advanced users, and the feature would confuse and frustrate normal consumers, opening a potential customer support nightmare.

Once the final version becomes available - and if they keep the hidden multitasking switch - we will see how good or bad the multitasking in these old devices is. [Twitter via Macstories]

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Comments

    I'd be happy to have a maximum of two apps on at a time. Even if they didn't allow 3D games.

    Just allow Skype to run while I'm on Safari, or Flight Control or something and I would pay for the upgrade.

    Also, apparently, they disabled background changing for the older models. Why? I can't imagine it taking any resources...

    Luckily, it's just a beta

    This limitation is only going to push people towards jailbreaking their device. Once jailbroken even the first gen ipod (I think) can use backgrounder. This is all fine and dandy until these people who have jailbroken their device purely for multitasking learn about cracked apps. That in my opinion is where these limitations fall in a hole.

    Nice Mr Jobs thinks it is about time you bought a new device.

    once again, apple deciding for us how we will use there stuff, and not giving the consumer the choice.

    just like the app store, just like itunes, just like everything else! all of these things are great! and do make their stuff easier to use for n00bs. but again: WHY NOT JUST HAVE THAT AAAANNNNDDD LET US DO IT ANOTHER WAY IF WE WANT TO!!!

    have the app store! but let us load our own apps from anywhere if we want to! have itunes! but let us manage are own music on the device if we want to!! you don't even have to make these options easy if you want to discourage n00bs from using them!! just make it possible!!!

    Well I'm not upset at all. My iPhone 3G can barely run a single app at a time let alone any more.
    When they announce a new hardware version I'll think about upgrading then.

    Its simple the 3G Iphone was released almost 24 months ago. Most phone plans are 24 month contracts so Apple purposely handicap the phone to encourage you to upgrade... hardware it obviously one of their income streams.

    I own a 3g model and that can be slow enough. Needs a nice cold boot from time to time just to shake off some of the annoyance.

    While agree with the previous post, it should be an option for users, but have it turned off by default. If it's anything like trying to find the options for the home button, few people will find it :P

    I like the idea that multi-tasking on handsets is going to present some seriously large carrier data charges!
    Open a web-site that refreshes periodically, zip out to your contacts, and answer a few emails. Put the phone down overnight, and the background tasking of the web page refreshes is going to kill you fast. The issue may not be exactly as stated, but most tech users have no idea how the back-end and middleware processes work. Heck - an app with connectivity in the background can seriously spoil next months telco's statement, with no way out.

    Why not enable multi-tasking on the 3G? Because the people that bought it are finishing their contracts, and Apple wants them to buy the new one!

    Apple wants everyone to get rid of the old hardware, because older hardware creates a potential fragmentation problem, and every 3G model kept is a new model not sold.

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