Due to lots of interesting stuff to do and heavy multitasking I haven’t had the time recently to sit down and write. But thankx to an application called OmmWriter I managed to escape the evil world of multitasking and to write this little article here exactly about this topic. These are my thoughts on multitaksing, simplification and their relationship to Apple’s latest product.
1. People complaining
Reading through the Future Shock article by Fraser Spiers I started asking myself why people areÂ complaining about the lack of multitasking on the iPad? I have to admit that I’ve been running with this pack. But after living on an Android Phone for about a year now, after using Single-Task-Oriented Software like WriteRoom, Ommwriter, etc. I changed my mind. So maybe the lack of multitasking is one of the most brilliant features of the iPad.
2. A little bit of history
For years we’ve been complaining about the desktop metaphore (multiple windows, folder based file system, task bar, add crazy stuff here) and how hard it is for ‘normal’ people to understand. These symbols and metaphors might have been important in the early days of computing but the world has changed a bit since then.
I remember reading the book Interface Culture by Steven Johnson back in 1999 where he actually talked about the same topic: Why are we still bound to folders and the desktop? Most kids don’t even know what a folder is. But it seemed like the computer industry didn’t have the guts to get rid of it, to get rid of complexity, to get rid of features. For years we’ve been ‘oppressed’ by managing multiple tasks and windows simultainiously. Now we’ve been given the chance to leave that behind. And how do we react? We complain about it.
3. How Apple managed to leave the desktop behind
Apple has managed to do an incredible thing. We’ve constantly been pushed away from the desktop without noticing it. Starting for example with applications like iPhoto. It lets us forget about the file system and helps us to organize photos in a human way. Similar things happened to music and the iPod. The next important step was the rollout of a phone with a Single-Task-Oriented Interface which introduced Â the idea of this kind of ‘reduced’ environment (based on small widgets/apps). Now this ecosystem is being expanded to the iPad. I’m not saying that this is the most revolutionary product ever. But it’s a another step in a constant move of innovation and simplification. A move away from multitasking, away from the desktop.
“Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together.”
– The Unix Philosophy (via mnmal)
Let’s sum this up and get outta here…
So I guess this in a important step for people getting back the control over technology. It’s about giving people less options but more control over their lifes.