iPhone and Spotify users are in luck as the streaming company sent out a review of their iOS 4 application a few days ago, and the application is now available for download from the App Store. The application has three main new features:
- Support for rapid application change. Now we can exit the application or access it from the options menu quickly and without waiting for the application to log in.
- Adds support for multitasking. This way the application can now completely replace the iOS 4 iPod application, we can use the controls and access all options while surfing the Internet or doing other tasks.
- Finally, it includes support for some of the latest desktop version features, plus it has a new design for the news section.
The new version is a radical change when using the application, to the point that now it is truly useful to have such an application on the iPhone. Let’s see in a real case how multitasking works and how practical it can be.
Not long ago, I myself wrote an entry trying to explain how the system implemented by Apple works and how it can be as or more useful to the user than any traditional application management system. The result of that entry was a lot of comments against Apple’s decision, many people think it is a bad idea and not a good solution.
The truth is that applications like Spotify prove the system is useful, practical and prove Apple right. Now we can listen to music and do other tasks, what difference does it make how the system is implemented?
Now when we open Spotify we completely replace the iPod functions of the computer with those of Spotify, this means that we can use all the benefits and accesses of the system and only affect the application that is active at the time, in this case Spotify. We can now access all these system features:
- Once the app is open, we can access the application quickly from the multitasking menu. If we’re browsing the internet or using any of the system functions, we can switch to Spotify with two clicks.
- We can use the playback controls on the iPod. If we access the multitasking and move the list of applications sideways we access a secondary menu where it shows us the Spotify icon (the application active at that time) and some playback buttons, with these buttons we can modify the music that is playing at all times and even access the application if we press the corresponding button.
- If we lock the phone, the music will continue to play (just as if we quit the application) but we can now use the playback controls that are displayed with the locked phone without affecting the phone’s own application. We can turn the volume up and down and control playback.
- Finally we can use the physical buttons of the iPodiPhone to control the volume as well as the control included in the headphones without them interfering with other applications.
It’s true, it’s not a real multitasking system. True, the implementation is radically different… but… I repeat the question from before: what difference does it make?
The user sees exactly the same experience as with any traditional system implemented to date and gets a couple of advantages such as extra battery life and a system managed entirely by the operating system.
Although the subject has hardly been commented on, a system managed in its entirety by the system is logically a more closed system and less practical for the programmer, although much more useful for the average user. A user who does not have to manage his system’s memory or be aware of which applications he can or cannot open simply uses them while the system takes care of everything else.
Do you still have doubts about the usefulness of the system? I’m sure that on the iPhone you can have doubts, but I’m completely convinced that when we see the operation on the iPad we can only think how we have been able to live without it all this time.