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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. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meh View Post
      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?
      Hey man don't diss mac gaming we have modern warfare and assassins creed 2. Lol jk.
    1. SnowLeo's Avatar
      SnowLeo -
      Damn now more than ever were gonna need a mac cydia to fix all the performance and battery draining crap apple likes to add.

      I can swear I read something somewhere about something in windows 7 multitasking that was related to fast app switching but I cant remember.

      Looks like Im gonna make good use of activity monitor and I will probably buy iStat 3 (been using the old free version for a while).
    1. mohaas05's Avatar
      mohaas05 -
      Mac OS X already reserves the majority of free RAM and delegates it out to apps itself. That's why when you go into Activity Monitor, free RAM also seems to be very low.

      I think this could be a revolution in computing. Imagine, instead of just minimizing, being able to close a document or a movie or a presentation, and being able to open it and go right back to where you were. For the productivity and media focus and ease of use that Macs have always been known for, I'd say its a great step to take.
    1. blueblaze4444's Avatar
      blueblaze4444 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Eagleye View Post
      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

      Quote Originally Posted by SnowLeo View Post
      Damn now more than ever were gonna need a mac cydia to fix all the performance and battery draining crap apple likes to add.

      I can swear I read something somewhere about something in windows 7 multitasking that was related to fast app switching but I cant remember.

      Looks like Im gonna make good use of activity monitor and I will probably buy iStat 3 (been using the old free version for a while).
      Why a mac "cydia" when you can still download software from the internet with no restrictions?

      Quote Originally Posted by mohaas05 View Post
      Mac OS X already reserves the majority of free RAM and delegates it out to apps itself. That's why when you go into Activity Monitor, free RAM also seems to be very low.

      I think this could be a revolution in computing. Imagine, instead of just minimizing, being able to close a document or a movie or a presentation, and being able to open it and go right back to where you were. For the productivity and media focus and ease of use that Macs have always been known for, I'd say its a great step to take.
      +1


      If this does happen, then I guarantee that apple will find a way to make this work. If it doesn't work well, then they WON'T USE IT. It would jeopardize the Mac OS and they are smart enough to realize that. This is just speculation. How many times have people came out and said that an idea that Apple has is not going to work....and then it works. Who knows if this is even true, and if it is, then I'm sure they'll find a way to minimize CPU usage and/or battery life.

      Calm down people. Relax, have some fun.

      Y'all are Windows 7 lovers.
    1. SnowLeo's Avatar
      SnowLeo -
      Need multiFl0w for mac to close and manage apps. Cant find that on the internet. The real reason though is at I want much easier acces to mac themes because finding themepark themes for SnowLeopard or getting widgets on the desktop... Very difficult to do and hard to find.

      Activity monitor simply wont cut it any more after Lion. Even with iStat
    1. blueblaze4444's Avatar
      blueblaze4444 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SnowLeo View Post
      Need multiFl0w for mac to close and manage apps. Cant find that on the internet. The real reason though is at I want much easier acces to mac themes because finding themepark themes for SnowLeopard or getting widgets on the desktop... Very difficult to do and hard to find.

      Activity monitor simply wont cut it any more after Lion. Even with iStat
      Difficult to put widgets on the desktop? It's just a terminal command:

      defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES

      Replace the YES with NO to reverse.

      Lol, why would you find multifl0w now when there's no need for it quite yet? If Apple does use this whole "backgrounding" concept with 10.7 then I'm sure that within minutes developers will have their own tweaks and you don't need cydia for that. I don't see a need for OS X themes, I like the interface as it is. No one even knows that apple will do any of this. sheesh
    1. athleticswimmer's Avatar
      athleticswimmer -
      Quote Originally Posted by stlcaddie View Post
      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.
      ^^ amen to that!!


      But I would still want to try lion before I actually use it.....better safe than sorry
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by mohaas05 View Post
      I think this could be a revolution in computing. Imagine, instead of just minimizing, being able to close a document or a movie or a presentation, and being able to open it and go right back to where you were. For the productivity and media focus and ease of use that Macs have always been known for, I'd say its a great step to take.
      It is pretty revolutionary, almost like in Windows 95 when they started asking you "Do you want to save the changes to [this document]? Except you won't have to press TWO buttons!
    1. SnowLeo's Avatar
      SnowLeo -
      Poor photoshop job on erasing the previous epitaph on the tombstone. Photoshop CS5's content aware tools make it ridiculously simple. Just select the area, hit delete, hit the content aware button in the popup.... and BAM fills it in perfectly.
    1. cory's Avatar
      cory -
      I'm still unsure about Lion, but I have some time to warm up to it. It should be interesting to see what they come out with.

      Oh and by the way... This is how an article should be written. Well said and put together and researched! Take note messany.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meh View Post
      You're a gamer and you run a Mac? Lol?
      Sounds like someone has never heard of Valve porting their Source games and Steam to Mac. (Different meaning?)

      I'm curious how this is going to work and if it will work efficiently.
    1. gotjpeg's Avatar
      gotjpeg -
      Quote Originally Posted by awesomeSlayer View Post
      Sounds like someone has never heard of Valve porting their Source games and Steam to Mac. (Different meaning?)

      I'm curious how this is going to work and if it will work efficiently.
      Yes like the 5 games valve has but yet you can't run the games on the steam store.
    1. Forgoten Dynasty's Avatar
      Forgoten Dynasty -
      How has no one figured this out yet? Everyone keeps posting "TOO MUCH RAMZZ" "OHH NOZ MY CPUZ"

      It wont hog CPU or ram. When you close the app it quits. But it save the state that you were working on. So when you relaunch the app it opens right were you left off. I'm sure it will save some cache in your memory so relaunch won't take forever but for the most part the app will be gone from your memory. Think of it like IOS multitasking.

      This will actually SAVE ram and CPU.

      You have no ideas how many times I don't close applications just because i like to keep my current state without having to save.
      Ik this will revolutionize the way I work.
    1. Aleckloss's Avatar
      Aleckloss -
      How will All the full screen games work? There's no way SCII will just "background"
    1. magusxxx's Avatar
      magusxxx -
      Quote Originally Posted by stldirty View Post
      but how will i close my pr0n
      It's called a Zipper.
    1. chavalozvi's Avatar
      chavalozvi -
      It will eat up too much memory. Minimizing a window will have the same effect
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      This would be awesome, but I agree with some as far a CPU and memory issue that could be present