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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Multitasking in iOS4 -- Internet Radio

Multitasking in iOS4 -- Internet Radio
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asxless
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Jun 23, 2010, 11:14 PM
 
Earlier today I posted in the Apple iPhone 3Gs forum (partially in jest)...
"So exactly how many internet radio apps in the "multitasking/recent apps" bar/tray can be actually "multitasking" e.g. playing audio at the same time ?" At the time I thought it was obvious. Surely iOS4 would only allow 1 internet radio app to play at the same time. But I was wrong

Apple released the new version of the NPR Radio app with iOS4 support this PM to join Pandora in the multitasking internet radio app race. And..... by golly BOTH of them will stream audio at the same time* while reading MacNN in Safari I wasn't quite ready for listening to BBC World News with a Texas Blues Band in the background, while reading about iOS4. But hey, it does make the BBC news seem just a little bit less stuffy

asxless in iLand

* to try this you need to fire up NPR first, then kick in Pandora.
     
Tuoder
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Jun 23, 2010, 11:59 PM
 
You asked it to do something silly, and it did. That sounds like a faithful device to me.
     
zacharace
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tuoder View Post
You asked it to do something silly, and it did. That sounds like a faithful device to me.
Agreed. Fascinating, yet logical...and silly.
     
asxless  (op)
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:46 PM
 
Actually, what I asked my iPhone to do was not silly, but what my iPhone did was IOW I asked to listen to a different audio source but what it did was add the new audio source to the one it was already playing in the background.

Note: The process in not symmetrical. If you fire up Pandora first, and then the NPR news app, the iPhone does what I originally expected. Pandora quits playing in the background and the NPR news app takes over. So it is not clear whether this lack of symmetry is a flaw in the Pandora app or NPR News app or iOS4 or all three.

This may seem pretty trivial now, with only two 3rd party audio apps running in the background. But after a bunch more internet radio apps have been updated to play in background, things could get a little more complicated/annoying. In Apple's current implementation of multitasking, EVERY app you launch gets stuffed into the multitasking/recent-apps/fast-switcher tray. It doesn't take very long to get a tray full of app icons. So after launching a few internet radio apps searching for what you want to listen too, it may take some time/effort to hunt down and kill the app that you launched hours ago, so it will quit playing and allow you listen to something else.

asxless in iLand
( Last edited by asxless; Jun 24, 2010 at 02:57 PM. )
     
Tuoder
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by asxless View Post
Actually, what I asked my iPhone to do was not silly, but what my iPhone did was IOW I asked to listen to a different audio source but what it did was add the new audio source to the one it was already playing in the background.

Note: If you fire up Pandora first, and then the NPR news app, the iPhone does what I expected. Pandora quits playing in the background and the NPR news app takes over. So it is not clear whether this a flaw in the NPR News app or iOS4 or both.

This may seem pretty trivial now, with only two 3rd party audio apps running in the background. But after a bunch more internet radio apps have been updated to play in background, things could get a little more complicated/annoying. In Apple's current implementation of multitasking, EVERY app you launch gets stuffed into the multitasking/recent-apps/fast-switcher tray. It doesn't take very long to get a tray full of app icons. So after launching a few internet radio apps searching for what you want to listen too, it may take some time/effort to hunt down and kill the app that you launched hours ago, to get it to quit playing and allow you listen to something else.

asxless in iLand
Maybe my attitude comes from using old machines that didn't hold your hand and ask you if you're super duper sure you want to delete stuff, but why should the iPhone assume you don't wish to do both?

I think a good solution would be to inlay a little speaker icon onto the icon of the program, so that you know which apps are producing sound. I have the same issue with Firefox (and every other browser I'm aware of). I'll be listening to a music video or something on one tab, and then I open up something in another tab, and all of a sudden, I'm being assaulted with so much junk, and I have to ctrl-tab through every little tab to figure out which the offender is.

OTOH, I've often played a game in which I wished to retain the sound effects in addition to some music playing in another program, and I'd like not to lose that flexibility.
     
kman42
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Jun 24, 2010, 03:30 PM
 
This is a bug in the NPR app. If you notice, the icon doesn't appear in the multitasking audio bar like Pandora or iPod. I'm sure they'll fix it soon. It streams in the background, but you can't control it in the background.
     
asxless  (op)
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Jun 24, 2010, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by kman42 View Post
This is a bug in the NPR app. If you notice, the icon doesn't appear in the multitasking audio bar like Pandora or iPod. I'm sure they'll fix it soon. It streams in the background, but you can't control it in the background.
That would be my guess too. But since I currently only have two 3rd party apps capable of streaming audio in the background, deciding which behaved according to Apple's specs was a toss up

FWIW I did notice that the Pandora icon shows up in the multitasking audio bar like the iPod app. But the only "controls" provided in the audio bar are not very useful for the NPR app anyway. So why bother? Which leads to my next multitasking quibble...

Assuming Apple's design spec is to use the multitasking audio bar to show/control the app playing the background, why can't I quit that app by holding down on it's icon right there in the audio section of the multitasking bar where it is easy to find? As it is, I can touch the icon to reopen the app and then use the app's controls to stop playback or I can find that app's icon somewhere in the multitasking tray and then hold down on it to kill it. IMO both methods are more cumbersome than necessary.

FWIW today was the first time ever that the iPhone's battery ran completely flat. It did it in less than 7 hours, and the vast majority of that time it was in standby. Kind of makes me wonder whether all those apps in the tray were messin' around while I wasn't looking/listening

The more I play with the multitasking/recent-apps/fast-switcher functionality and UI the more I think this part of iOS4 is not really up to Apple's normal standards for intuitive ease of use.

asxless in iLand
     
asxless  (op)
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Jun 24, 2010, 05:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tuoder View Post
Maybe my attitude comes from using old machines that didn't hold your hand and ask you if you're super duper sure you want to delete stuff, but why should the iPhone assume you don't wish to do both?

I think a good solution would be to inlay a little speaker icon onto the icon of the program, so that you know which apps are producing sound. .....
I'd bet that as kman42 suggests, Apple intends that only one app is playing in the background at anytime and that app's icon should be visible in the audio section of the multitasking tray.

asxless in iLand
     
asxless  (op)
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Jul 9, 2010, 08:46 AM
 
Or maybe not....

Apple has now approved updates to at least three streaming Internet Radio apps that play in the background WITHOUT displaying their icon in the audio control section of the recent-apps/multitasking tray. Two of the apps will actually play simultaneously with a third app. That's right, three internet radio apps streaming news and music at the same time.

So the original issue remains -- How to easily track down which of possibly several internet radio apps scattered about in the recent apps tray is the one that is/are actually playing in the background so it/they can be stopped?

Apple needs to fix the UI on the iOS4 Recent-apps/Multitasking tray or it needs to fix the iOS4 apps multitasking updates approval process or BOTH.

asxless in iLand
( Last edited by asxless; Jul 9, 2010 at 09:37 AM. )
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 9, 2010, 08:51 AM
 
I just got my first internet radio app update that behaves this way, as well.

Dumb.
     
   
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