Mysterious Push Notifications

2 12 2008

With the recent 2.2 firmware update, Push Notifications are still absent from the iPhone OS.

Scott Forstall announcing the Push Notifications

At WWDC 2008, Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iPhone at Apple announced an update to the SDK dubbed “Push Notification Service”. Solving one of the major complaints surrounding the iPhone SDK, Push Notifications would allow you, for example, to receive instant messages even when the AIM application wasn’t open. It works by keeping a persistent connection to the Apple Notification server and lets the third party such as AIM notify the Apple server of events (such as receiving an instant message) if no existing direct connection exists.

Very well received by developers and consumers alike, Mr. Forstall revealed this new feature at the WWDC keynote and said that it would be seeded to beta testers shortly and would be available in September. Shortly after the release of the 2.0 software in early July, iPhone OS beta testers indeed received a seed of the 2.1 firmware which included hooks and documentation for the Push Notification service. After the fourth iteration of the 2.1 beta release, the Push Notification service was mysteriously pulled for “for further development”.

Beyond that vague statement, over two months past the given release window, we have still heard nothing more about Push Notifications from Apple. This seems to be a recurring trend for Apple, who seems to be over promising and under delivering, which could be attributed to its growing size. Perhaps we will get the status of Push Notifications soon, but for now the consumers and developers are still in the dark. If they can’t deliver on these dates, then why give them in the first place?

There is probably a good reason we still don’t have Push Notifications, however, since Mr. Forstall took the liberty of announcing it at WWDC, why haven’t we had an update? If anything was learned from the 2.0 firmware and the related bugs, or the MobileMe launch, we should be glad Apple is keeping a low quality release from going public, but there is no reason to be in the dark about it–especially considering it is almost two months late already. There are developers and consumers who are anxiously awaiting the release of this new feature and we all just want to be in the know! According to recent rumors, due to major issues with the initial implementation, it appears we might have to wait until we start receiving push notifications to our devices.