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My iPad Dealbreaker: No Multi-Tasking

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The iPad has been out for over a week now and it’s time for me to chime in. I’ve seen the demos, read the reviews, and watched in general amazement as Apple seems to have done it yet again.

In this post, I’ll give a brief description of why it’s not for me…yet.

Two Words: No Multitasking

In a recent post, Fred Wilson writes:

You give up a lot with the iPad and you don’t get much in return. You lose multi-tasking which is a huge deal for me. I can’t listen to music while I write this. That alone is a showstopper for me. Plus it’s slow as a computer. The apps run slow and so is the browser. That could be my Wifi but my MacBook runs on the same Wifi network and there’s a noticeable difference in the speed of browsing between them.

There’s no way that I’d be able to give up listening to music while working or reading. So much for “one” device.

Given this pretty significant limitation and the “openness” of the development community, one would think that someone would try to introduce an app to enable multi-tasking.

It turns out that somebody has, and Apple doesn’t like it. From TechCrunch, check out what Apple did to a developer who tried to crack the multitasking nut:

Alas, Cupertino has now rejected the app for “contradicting the iPad’s user experience”, whatever that means (I guess Apple doesn’t want even a hint of multi-tasking on the iPad until they decide to add support for it). Hong has swiftly made the code for the app open source on GitHub, enabling other developers to compile it for themselves and/or their social circle.

Dashboard on iPad from Rich Hong on Vimeo.

For me, the lack of multi-tasking is a deal breaker and I can’t justify buying one. Perhaps I’m too hyper to do only one thing at a time, but the device’s main limitation is enough to make me wait, matter how visually appealing it looks.

Simon’s First Law of Technology

Never buy the first version of anything.

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5 hopefully intriguing thoughts on “My iPad Dealbreaker: No Multi-Tasking”

  1. Jill Wanless said on

    I so agree with you Phil. What were they thinking? Everyone under the age of 25 ( and a lot of us older tech loving social savvy change agents) wouldn’t even know how to do just one thing at a time. I’m pretty sure my 14 yr old daughter would become catonic if she had to complete her homework without 6 things going at the same time.
    I guess the risk of not being first out of the gate was greater than the risk of no multi-tasking. I’m with you. I’m waiting for OS 4.0. Just in time for Christmas ;)


  2. Thanks for the comment, Jill.

    A few things…

    First, as I’m sure you know, they really weren’t first out of the gate with tablets.

    Second, even if they were, that historically hasn’t been enough to stop Apple.


  3. Rob Paller said on

    This should no longer be an issue this fall when the new iPhone firmware is released for the iPad. Now if you have an iPhone 3G like I do… Still no multitasking.
    .-= Rob Paller´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: April 7, 2010 =-.


  4. Hey Phil….
    I also agree. However we’ve previewed the new iPhone OS4 and it looks like the multi-tasking in there which should seep across to the iPad pretty quick, has nailed it. Steve Jobs in his keynote speech earlier this week seems to have blamed the lack of multi-tasking until this summer to be due to the complexities of preventing the adverse effects on battery life and performance. The way they have handled this has been to distill the requirements of all 185000 existing apps into a series of 7 [wait for it] APIs… haa – looks like Mr Jobs was reading my entry in your contest!! :-) :-)
    .-= Paul Saunders´s last blog ..iPhone OS4 Preview =-.


  5. Have to agree with the no multitasking being a deal breaker. The first version of an Apple platform always is a bit lower performing than people would have hoped. Fortunately, they have a fan base to sustain them until they get it right,. Everyone then benefits from the new version. Not sure how many folks they loose who get burned by the investment in the first edition of the platform.
    The closed nature (gated community) approach is a feature for some and a deal maker for others. I used to be a real Macintosh fan but had to move away from it in the late 90s after investing over a decade in the Macintosh, because of the closed nature. I got rid of my Inside Macintosh pre-release (phone book style) manual a few years back when I was cleaning house, so that shows have far back I was focus on the Mac. :-)
    .-= Charlie Bess´s last blog ..Sensors, the exponential increase in value and advancement =-.


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