Let me state this: I don’t need multitasking from the iPad. Even better, I don’t need multi-tasking from a 10 inches portable tablet device. But before I go through this, I believe we need some “background” about the whole multi-tasking problem.
First, go read this post from John Gruber where he explains the reasons nehind the lack of “backgrounding” on the iPhone.
“The profound simplicity of the iPhone user interface stems in part from the complete lack of interface elements for managing processes. There is no task manager or memory meter; if you want to know what’s running, the answer is simply whatever app it is that you’re looking at. “
Indeed, the iPhone is the finest example of “human interface”: you’re doing what you’re looking at. I could have Mail and Youtube running at the same time on my Mac, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m watching a video. Multi-tasking can be workflow, as Milind Alvares wrote in his SmokingApples piece, but it’s not an imperative. Just take a look at all those Mac applications that help you focusing on one app at a time: they basically bring single-tasking into your workflow once again.
I don’t need a multi-tasking capable portable device. I just need an excellent single-tasking oriented yet multi-purpose tablet. And that’s what Apple is building. How am I supposed to run 3 apps at a time on that screen? But physical limitations aside, let’s look at the concept itself.
The iPad isn’t meant for people who require multi-tasking.
My mother doesn’t need multi-tasking. She doesn’t even know what it’s multi-tasking. But surely she would appreciate an intuitive multitouch “tablet computer” which requires a few taps to have a very good browsing experience. I strongly believe that a great and focused user experience is better than a crappy and unusable “let-me-resize-that-window“-based workflow.
Does this mean I hate multi-tasking? No. It’s just that I want a new and different experience from the iPad. You know, focusing on one task at a time is really productive sometimes.