Background apps on the iPhone/iPod

Stu “Prolost” Maschwitz posed the question of what filmmaking-related app would be nice for the iPhone. I replied that a cast & crew scheduling app, with push or wifi notifications, GPS locations of the crew, alarms, IM between the crew, and a backend DB somewhere, would have been great. If the app was to be developed & designed carefully, an iPhone can last at least 2-3 days on WiFi with the app constantly connected to check for messages (I was getting 3 days of registered VoIP on WiFi years ago already on my Nokia phones of the time).

And then it hit me: without background apps on the iPhone, this idea is busted. It just wouldn’t be a realistic solution.

Sure, we can talk all day about background apps needed because we want our Twitter or IM notifications in real time, but in all honesty, that’s more play than work. The idea above instead, is a real work app, and can easily save a lot of money during the shooting of a feature film. To me, this example made me feel even more the need for bg apps, than any other example in the past given by the average net user.

IMO, Apple should get a clue, and make sure they offer bg apps by January. That’s all I have to say about this. Either their phone is a smartphone that’s it’s truly useful to people, or it’s a glorifying ‘feature phone’.

Then, of course, there’s the Android platform, which does allow background apps.


blover wrote on June 15th, 2009 at 6:52 PM PST:

i agree in that they should eventually market the device as a mini-computer with a phone as a minor thing, however everybody knows that most software developers don’t know what they are doing and they put crap out there that ruins apple’s reputation.

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Eugenia wrote on June 15th, 2009 at 6:58 PM PST:

Microsoft has taken a lot of heat for crashes that happened because of buggy drivers (any kernel can get crashed by these), but at the same time, their product was also useful to people. So I am afraid that’s a risk Apple will have to take, even if it’s not something as radical as allowing new drivers into the system. See, sure there’s a general risk from allowing bg apps, but on the other hand, that’s an application that will require 100 new iPhones to be bought for the cast and crew of a movie set. So it’s not a lose-lose situation for Apple.

memson wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 4:15 AM PST:

Scenario: The iPhone is a client. The app allows for off line interaction and the data is sent back to the scheduler linked in to a central server. The push notifications are fed by the server. There is no need for a background app, because the iPhone simply reads the information from the server when the app is launched. This is how it would work. Your data is in the cloud, there is no single node, all nodes can interact with the data (display for all and some allow editing.)

Having tested 3.0 and push messaging, this would work very well.

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Eugenia wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 9:22 AM PST:

Erm, no. Push is only one way to do this. The other way, is plain wifi. When you are shooting in the middle of nowhere (e.g. a desert), you need wifi and an IT person, not the non-existent cell network.

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