Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a guy about Apple’s products and specifically the iPad.
This guy isn’t a geek, but he’s computer savvy and has been for a while. He’s also a bit of an Apple fanboi and recently bought an iPad, which was the jumping off point for our conversation.
He’s also a BJJ instructor and a teacher, so he’s accustomed to studying and observing behaviors.
I quizzed him about some of the usual suspects that were missing, e.g. Flash, front-facing camera, multi-tasking, etc.
He replied that the iPad meets about 90% of his needs. Based on what I’ve heard, I tend to agree, and if you’re hoping to get the classic 80/20 split, 90/10 is fantastic.
He went on to give a great use case against multitasking.
When you finish using an app, all you do is hit the Home button, no saving, no quitting, nothing. The app takes care of all that for you, no fuss, no mess.
I thought about this for a minute, and it’s a phenomenal insight that most of us would never think of because we don’t even think about the process of quitting apps. It’s second nature.
I was reminded of the tutorial I gave my parents about how to use OpenOffice, specifically the warnings about saving before quitting, the differences between closing and quitting an app, all the meta that goes into dismissing an application.
These are learned behaviors that have existed since the dawn of the GUI, so we rarely think about them.
I’m not saying this one use case is the Holy Grail, but when combined with the technical limitations of using memory on a device with no swap and the degradation in performance multitasking produces, it seems like an even better PM decision to leave out multitasking from the get-go.
I wonder if adding multitasking would even hurt the overall iPhone experience for people who are accustomed to apps closing on their own. How will they react when apps remain open in the background. Sure, we know iPhone OS 4.0 does not do true multitasking, so it might be a non-starter, but still, this is a departure from the original and expected behavior.
In the comments on my post about multitasking, there were several legit use cases that made a lot of sense. However, I wonder if they fall into the everyday variety. Interrupting turn-by-turn directions with a phone call is a good use case, until you consider the strict distracted driving laws many states are enforcing, which in many cases, include in-car navigation systems.
Anyway, food for thought. Find the comments.