The latest iPhone 2.2 operating system fixes many things, but something is still missing: Push notification services. Once again, Apple has missed the opportunity to enable push notification in a new update, which is especially bad after they failed to meet their self-imposed September deadline. That makes it almost two months late now. So what's the problem? Is the cause just a technical glitch or maybe there are other hidden, last-minute reasons behind it?
Many developers and users were eagerly awaiting for the 2.2 update to finally enable push notification services, which disappeared from the 2.1 beta right before release. Essentially, push notification is a clever way for your iPhone applications to receive messages from the network at all times, even while they are not active. Since the applications don't need to be active constantly, asking data to the application server every X minutes, this method saves power while giving you all the convenience of server-sided push messages.
As any BlackBerry user knows, push services allow the developer to implement functionality that is extremely useful. For example: An instant messenger program would be able to notify you whenever a new message is received, even while the application itself is not running. Think about it just like an SMS. Another example: A voice over IP application can receive a call and alert you right away, so you can pick it up like any normal telephone call. Or maybe return the call using the normal telephony service if you are not in a Wi-Fi spot.
As you can imagine, this makes push notification a Holy Grail for users and developers alike. The only people who may not be happy about these are the carriers. After all, the idea of an instant messaging application with push notification services taking over their lucrative SMS business doesn't seem like a very good one.
Or maybe I should take off my tin foil hat and just assume that Apple has hit a roadblock that nobody at engineering ever expected. But a two month delay? Why? It just sounds too weird.
Whatever it is, I only hope they deliver it as soon as possible.