Lion’s App Resume: How it Will Probably Work


In my coverage of the OS X Lion preview Wednesday, I wondered how the app resume feature would work. I noticed that in the preview, the activity indicators in the Dock (those white dots) were all gone. Poof. I squinted at the image below until I was certain that my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Then I realized: You never see activity indicators in iOS.

See, no glowing white things!

If Apple’s goal is to bring the good from iOS into OS X, then this move makes sense. iOS’s multitasking behavior would allow you to open applications like normal until you run out of RAM, then the app resume model kicks in and applications will start suspending themselves in memory, available quickly if you need them, making activity indicators redundant.

This would give OS X a huge advantage over Windows. Imagine never running out of RAM again, and yet never having to quit an application again. The OS will manage it for you, just like in iOS. That’s what Apple’s aiming for here. The need to quit and start apps to begin with was only really a convention put in place because memory had to be managed in some way so that the user could control what got prioritized. An app resume feature eliminates that need.

The only problem is launching the applications fast enough to make the experience  perfectly mimic iOS. How would Apple do that? Using flash storage. Apple’s already using it exclusively in the MacBook Air, so I think we can expect a flash-only MacBook Pro in the future.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to an always-on future, or dreading it?

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