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  • App Resume in Lion: Never Quit a Program Again


    At the "preview" of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion last week, Steve Jobs covered some of the more visible changes in the OS, such as the Mission Control window switcher and full screen apps. As the days go on and observers analyze what was shown and said, increasing focus is being put on what was not discussed. One significant change includes a more iOS-like way of handling programs, allowing you to "pick up where you left off" rather than quitting and restarting. In addition to subtly changing how we use apps on the desktop, this functionality may lead to a more ground-breaking (or "revolutionary" as Apple would probably rather put it) shift in the future.

    When Jobs talked about the iOS innovations that were being brought "back to the Mac," one of the more interesting ones was given short shrift. Jobs mentioned how apps in iOS "auto resume... they come up exactly where you left them," adding that the Fast App Switching technology that's used to simulate multitasking in iOS 4 "would be great on the Mac too," but not saying anything specific about it. This would be such a fundamental change to how programs are handled in Mac OS X or any other current desktop operating system that it's a little surprising it wasn't further discussed.

    On iOS, when you press the Home button leave an app, it doesn't quit. Instead, it is "Backgrounded," going into a sort of "suspended animation." Except for certain specific apps - ones that play audio, do two-way voice communications (like the phone and VoIP apps) or use location services - the app stops receiving messages from the system or using CPU time. Its interface and state are flash-frozen, and when you relaunch the app or use something like Multifl0w to reactivate it, you are immediately returned to where you were when you last used the app. Though Jobs said nothing about how this is going to work on Lion, one indication comes from watching the Dock during various demos. The familiar "white light" on Dock icons - indicating which programs are running and which are not - was never seen, even when apps were launched. And although it was not explicitly stated at any point, this would seem to render the whole idea of quitting an app obsolete, at least from a user point of view. The constraints on RAM are much less on a desktop computer than on a mobile device, and the need for real multitasking is greater: you want to keep getting your mail, for example, while you are doing other things, and users would widely reject something like an image processing program that could only do processor-intensive transforms when in the foreground. Alex Layne at GigaOM theorizes that the resume functionality would allow running but unused applications to go into suspend mode and free up RAM.

    Another possibility that was not discussed, but seems to be entirely workable with this technology, is the ability to take that frozen system state and move it from place to place like Han Solo in a block of carbonite. Recall the Apple patent for "Grab & Go" syncing of everything: in addition to saving files and media, it also included the ability to save program states and move them from one device to another. The patent application explicitly described a scenario where "a kid may be playing a video game on the computer" and "a parent needs to use the computer," so the kid is able to "transfer the game save data to the standalone media player, where the game can be continued where the computer left off."

    An Apple job listing earlier this year sought engineers to work on an innovative feature of a future operating system that "has never been done before" and that would "truly amaze everyone." The ability to pick up on your iPad where you left off on your Mac Pro would definitely fit the bill, and though this may all be guesswork, it's certainly possible that Jobs didn't mention it because the feature still needs some work - and resources like, say, a massive data center - to function properly.

    Source: MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: App Resume in Lion: Never Quit a Program Again started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. xgus69's Avatar
      xgus69 -
      interesting.. but wouldnt that toast the memory?
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      do not want.
    1. mrshibby's Avatar
      mrshibby -
      Quote Originally Posted by adrian1480 View Post
      do not want.
      exactly what i thought
    1. stlcaddie's Avatar
      stlcaddie -
      I'm all about Open mindedness, I don't want to be the old person that is stuck in his ways. Better technology is BORN Everyda, embrace it.
    1. Armored's Avatar
      Armored -
      that's cool and all, as long as there is still a comand-q support for those who like the solid "quit", like me.
    1. jbardi's Avatar
      jbardi -
      Bullcrap... You reading way too much into this. Way too much CPU and Ram would be required compared to the mostly tiny apps on iDevices.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      I can't wait. Lions sound pretty cool.
    1. cypherpunk's Avatar
      cypherpunk -
      Sounds like it would need a fairly big swap file to be feasible.
    1. thoms's Avatar
      thoms -
      Considering that every Mac novice thinks that clicking the red, "close window" button actually quits the app, this could be a welcome change.

      I hope they deal with memory usage issues better than they did w/ iOS 4.
    1. MegaEduX's Avatar
      MegaEduX -
      While that I find this "cool", it worries me as I am a gamer (and need all my precious RAM and CPU).
    1. stldirty's Avatar
      stldirty -
      but how will i close my pr0n
    1. goodluck4287's Avatar
      goodluck4287 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stldirty View Post
      but how will i close my pr0n
      Same. This could be problematic for those of us with girlfriends.
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Quote Originally Posted by stldirty View Post
      but how will i close my pr0n
      lmao
    1. gotjpeg's Avatar
      gotjpeg -
      Quote Originally Posted by MegaEduX View Post
      While that I find this "cool", it worries me as I am a gamer (and need all my precious RAM and CPU).
      If you're a gamer you wouldn't be worrying too much about this cause you'll be using windows
    1. Meh's Avatar
      Meh -
      Quote Originally Posted by MegaEduX View Post
      While that I find this "cool", it worries me as I am a gamer (and need all my precious RAM and CPU).
      You're a gamer and you run a Mac? Lol?

      In regards to this announcement however, I'm not quite seeing the big picture? How is this a really useful feature? In Windows if you re-open your app after closing it then you can load your file again and just pick up where you left off. I'm not quite seeing the draw here since it seems like to have auto resume of anything it'd need to hog a lot of RAM no?
    1. Eagleye's Avatar
      Eagleye -
      Seems like a great idea. I have no doubt that whatever problems we forsee about this technology, Apple will also come up with and find a solution for. Hence why it took them so long to release multitasking on ios because they didnt want to kill the battery and whatnot. If they do come out with this feature... rest assured it will probably work.. and work well. If not, it could kill the reputation of the entire Mac OS and Im sure this is something Apple has considered with EVERY update to its OS. If it dont work how they want it/advertise it to work... they gonn' be ScREeewEd.
    1. JedixJarf's Avatar
      JedixJarf -
      I don't want, like my ram too much.
    1. AjBlue's Avatar
      AjBlue -
      Quote Originally Posted by jbardi View Post
      Bullcrap... You reading way too much into this. Way too much CPU and Ram would be required compared to the mostly tiny apps on iDevices.
      you do realize when saving into a solid state , it uses almost no cpu. for example on google chrome, open a buch of tabs to random stuff. have say one on youtube watching a video playing. now when you open up the task manager it tells you how much each tab takes up of cpu and memory. tabs that are not open to view at the time that are regular websites stay at around 0.1 and 0.0 cpu. same as when your watching a video and then when you cant see the video anymore and just hear it, the cpu drops from 20+ down to about 8 cpu.
    1. MeRyanSch's Avatar
      MeRyanSch -
      Quote Originally Posted by thoms View Post
      Considering that every Mac novice thinks that clicking the red, "close window" button actually quits the app
      Seriously everyone I know thinks this.
    1. Snozberries's Avatar
      Snozberries -
      Quote Originally Posted by gotjpeg View Post
      If you're a gamer you wouldn't be worrying too much about this cause you'll be using windows
      MAN DOWN!!! I repeat MAN DOWN!!