Apple tackles 3rd-party iPhone app limits with push service

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Addressing one of the most outstanding complaints regarding feature limitations in third-party iPhone applications, Apple on Monday said it has developed a push notification service that will feed programs with data even when technically shut down.



A persistent background connection will automatically relay information from a developer's servers to Apple, and in turn to the iPhone or iPod touch application itself, allowing any program to continue receiving data while inactive.



Developers can push badges to icons, notification sounds, or pop-up text alerts. This lets an instant messaging program notify a user of a new message or other events without having to force the program open. Third-party mail clients should also function properly. The system scales easily with larger apps, according to Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iPhone Software.



The development chief justifies the changes by arguing that true background processes -- a feature heavily requested by developers -- are often flawed in other smartphone operating systems. Most implementations often incorrectly lead users to believe that they've quit programs when they remain open, reducing the battery life and hurting processor performance with each open application.



Other mobile OS makers are aware of the issue but have come up with awkward solutions to allow multitasking. For Windows Mobile, Microsoft has developed a Task Manager app just to help shut down background processes: users have to play a "game" that tests their computer science skills by identifying programs, Forstall says.



Apple's overview of its push notivation service.



The Task Manager application in Windows Mobile 6.



BlackBerry and Symbian Series 60 devices are less prone to user error, as they more clearly allow the user to quit, but can still suffer performance issues with multiple open applications.



While it helps developers cope with a previously unsurmountable barrier to developing some programs, it doesn't fully address other concerns. Apple's iPhone development guidelines forbid executable code contained within the app itself or from calling non-Apple applications installed on the device. The restriction still prevents emulators, third-party browsers with plug-in support, and other similar features used by other operating systems.



Apple may also frustrate developers expecting push notifications to be available immediately. While developers will be seeded next month with an iPhone SDK that lets them begin coding for the feature, the service itself won't be available until September, or two months after iPhone 3G and the iPhone 2.0 firmware upgrade are ready for public consumption.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,202member
    Push me... and then just touch me... until I get my satisfaction.
  • Reply 2 of 56
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dunks View Post


    Push me... and then just touch me... until I get my satisfaction.



    Classic. Just classic
  • Reply 3 of 56
    So how do you get notifications if you are out of a coverage area and/or on an airplane?
  • Reply 4 of 56
    toyintoyin Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    So how do you get notifications if you are out of a coverage area and/or on an airplane?



    Not sure how background processes could help you in either of those situations.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,746member
    Every time I see that guy I can't help but remember Ace Ventura.







  • Reply 6 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Toyin View Post


    Not sure how background processes could help you in either of those situations.



    Background processes run locally on the iPhone, and do not require connectivity to determine when a notification is to be displayed. Recall that there can be more app types than IM. For example, the calendar app provides reminders. Don't you think a third party task list app could benefit from reminder notifications?
  • Reply 7 of 56
    patsfan83patsfan83 Posts: 156member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    So how do you get notifications if you are out of a coverage area and/or on an airplane?



    One would think you would be notified when you return to service. It ain't magic.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    mydomydo Posts: 1,888member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dunks View Post


    Push me... and then just touch me... until I get my satisfaction.



    Here
  • Reply 9 of 56
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    No mention of Flash at all?



    Boo hoo.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    webfrassewebfrasse Posts: 147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    So how do you get notifications if you are out of a coverage area and/or on an airplane?



    ...day question:-)



    So where do I drive my car when I'm at sea? Stupid car!



    /Mikael
  • Reply 11 of 56
    heffequeheffeque Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mydo View Post


    Here



    Wouldn't it had been easier to search for it on YouTube? At least it doesn't have as much ad-crap and doesn't need an external add-on to view it. Here's a better link:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fJZ6DwmBXU&fmt=18
  • Reply 12 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I knew they would have a solution for IM, but I didn't think it would be this. This offers many possibilities as one could send IMs to SMS capable cell phones directly. I've never tried it but there is such a feature built into iChat.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    No mention of Flash at all?

    Boo hoo.



    It looks like Adobe has no love for Apple. Flash for Mac OS X is poorly optimized, so I can't imagine a version for the iPhone would have been built yet or more functional.



    Though if Firefox or Opera decide to build a browser for the iPhone (and I hope they do) they could potentially include Flash in the app, they just can't have the app call on Flash as a external plugin.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mydo View Post


    Here



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heffeque View Post


    Wouldn't it had been easier to search for it on YouTube? At least it doesn't have as much ad-crap and doesn't need an external add-on to view it. Here's a better link:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fJZ6DwmBXU&fmt=18



    Looked for the NSFW version but it appears to be only available on torrent sites and newsgroups.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,107member
    Gee, what was that Silicon Valley Push Technology company back in 1996-1998?



    Everyone used it on their boxes.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Gee, what was that Silicon Valley Push Technology company back in 1996-1998?



    Everyone used it on their boxes.



    It might have been PointCast, and it seemed like several major companies tried to push it or technologies like it on computer users, but I don't know anyone that actually used it at all.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    Quote:

    For Windows Mobile, Microsoft has developed a Task Manager app just to help shut down background processes: users have to play a "game" that tests their computer science skills by identifying programs, Forstall says.



    Um, Aldin was making a joke....
  • Reply 17 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    Background processes run locally on the iPhone, and do not require connectivity to determine when a notification is to be displayed. Recall that there can be more app types than IM. For example, the calendar app provides reminders. Don't you think a third party task list app could benefit from reminder notifications?



    they didn't say anything that would make me believe that a local app can't send its own notification.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    federmoosefedermoose Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    Background processes run locally on the iPhone, and do not require connectivity to determine when a notification is to be displayed. Recall that there can be more app types than IM. For example, the calendar app provides reminders. Don't you think a third party task list app could benefit from reminder notifications?



    Reminders are done by your calendar on iphone. no need for external connection. If you're on a plane, whether you have a background process or push connection, you're not going to get a notice saying your being outbid on ebay... so I'm not sure what the problem is...
  • Reply 19 of 56
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 821member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post


    Background processes run locally on the iPhone, and do not require connectivity to determine when a notification is to be displayed. Recall that there can be more app types than IM. For example, the calendar app provides reminders. Don't you think a third party task list app could benefit from reminder notifications?



    Good point, however, you are assuming that there is no way for this to happen. Already by allowing badges, etc. Apple is allowing the apps to have some sort of communication with the local OS even when closed.



    It would not be hard at all for OS 2.0 to have a local "push server" that allows the application to send a "reminder message" at a desired time.
  • Reply 20 of 56
    simacsimac Posts: 6member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    Good point, however, you are assuming that there is no way for this to happen. Already by allowing badges, etc. Apple is allowing the apps to have some sort of communication with the local OS even when closed.



    It would not be hard at all for OS 2.0 to have a local "push server" that allows the application to send a "reminder message" at a desired time.



    Except that the application would need to be running for the notification to be sent. I guess you will need to send an external notification to a server which sends it back when its time.
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