The Wisdom of a Closed Platform

Daniel Eran Dilger has been a leading writer about the iPhone since before it came out,  and this week he writes about the choices Apple made about concurrency in the iPhone.   Unlike Windows Mobile,  the iPhone only allows the user to have a single third-party application running at a time.  Dan makes the case that portables don’t provide a rich enough interface to let users juggle multiple running tasks (it’s hard enough to do this with a desktop computer) and that it won’t be possible to give a phone-like experience without tight control on process lifecycle.

He’s right.  I’ve got a friend who has an HTC handheld that runs Windows Mobile.  It looks nice,  and it’s got some good features,  but every so often it gets in a state that pegs the CPU at 100%;  it gets warm pretty quick,  so this can’t be good for battery life.  Vendors like Apple, Sun and Nintendo, who have a lot of control over hardware and software aspects of  platform,  can often users an experience that can’t be matched by more open platforms,  where no vendor claims responsibility for the performance of a system.