iOS4. Arguably one of the biggest breakthroughs in iOS so far. Without it, we would be without folders, wallpapers and, most importantly, multitasking. However, the multitasking switcher is the impractical implementation of multitasking Apple has thrust upon us. Lest, the way we must access these “Frozen” apps can be changed. Multifl0w, created by the talented Aaron Ash, radically changes the way we see and interact with our backgrounded apps. By providing us with an Expose view and the WebOS Cards view also, we get a much more diverse and interactive way to manipulate, and even organize our multitasked applications. Is this really the way to go however? Can we really make the best of a bad situation? Should we just settle with the switcher? Read on to find out:
Multifl0w has a decent range of features, there are currently only 2 methods of multitasking. These are the Cards feature from WebOS and Mac OS’ Expose. On a rather interesting note, apps in the Expose interface can also be reordered. While this may seem trivial, in many cases it can be rather useful. I myself, don’t necessarily tap where my apps are when on the home screen but tap where I remember the app to be. Reordering the frozen apps can be useful in that way. While the options available are enough, I’d like to see more ways to change how Multifl0w works. Currently you can change:
- Activation Method
- Animation Style
- Black Background or Your Chosen Wallpaper
- How the App Acts When Closed
A more customizable interface would be good, perhaps changing the background to another solid color or a picture other than your chosen wallpaper.
This is the Expose interface, imitating the Mac OS X interface.
Multifl0w’s design is really a two-tailed story. On one hand, it’s definitely a looker; on another, it tries to emulate 2 entirely different multitasking solutions in a very similar way. When you activate Multifl0w, your current app shrinks into Expose or Cards mode. The Expose interface, although practical, it isn’t the best implementation I’ve ever seen and leaves a lot to be desired. The dimmed screen is replaced with either a black background or your wallpaper. It really is missing the personalized feeling Expose has on OS X.
The Cards interface replicates the WebOS multitasking solution. When I first bought Multifl0w, I was excited to see this Cards interface in action. I personally love the Cards interface. While providing a practical and intuitive UI, it also looks and feels slick and smooth. This sadly, was not the case when using Multifl0w. Flicking between open apps feels restricted. However the flick to close feature is intact. This feels very smooth, just how I was hoping. As an app is flicked away, it fades away until it completely disappears both from view and the switcher.
In a future update, I’d like to see both interface’s background replaced (Or at least have the option) with the dimmed effect overlayed on your current screen, the Cards scrolling to be tweaked and for Expose to have shadowing.
This is the Cards interface while closing.
In terms of reuse, you shouldn’t look towards Multifl0w. It is currently only ailed by one minor bug, that bug can be very annoying in terms of general usage (Especially when used as a replacement for the multitasking switcher). When the SpringBoard is restarted, Multifl0w resets to having no backgrounded apps. This means that Multifl0w and the switcher are not in sync. In order to be used a replacement both Multifl0w and the switcher must be in sync. It really could be used as a replacement for the switcher, however Multifl0w might not be showing you all of your backgrounded apps. Perhaps the ability to import new interfaces created by other developers would be just what this tweak is needing. Something fresh that allows this tweak to really become an entire platform.
This is the options screen for Multifl0w, there’s not really much here.
Multifl0w comes with quite a hefty price tag at $4.99. With that kind of money, you could buy a fully featured iOS RPG. If you really hate the switcher, or just want to see it, buy. Aaron Ash is really talented to create something with this aptitude. While many tweaks have been created to clean up the mess created with Apple’s multitasking, Multifl0w stands out. For $4.99 you’re getting a more complete multitasking experience. Multifl0w will mature over time. It really is one of the best ways to stick it to Apple, and I’ll go as far to say it’s a reason to jailbreak.
The package screen for Multifl0w in Cydia.
Multifl0w has the potential to be so much more than just an attempt at Cards and Expose for iPhone. It has the potential to be any multitasking method you could possibly think of. If Aaron Ash were to open up Multifl0w for developer integration, we would have a canvas for a whole new platform for developing entire new complex and more complete ways to use iOS. Buy Multifl0w, and you could get even more than just WebOS and Mac OS.