Forget multi-tasking, push background notification is where it’s at. With the limited resources available to mobile devices, running multiple applications in the background can tax the CPU, drain the battery faster, and lead to system instability as multiple applications fight for memory allottment and CPU cycles.
Apple has seeded a new iPhone 2.1 OS SDK beta to select iPhone developers with the tools needed to create iPhone applications that can take advantage of the push background notification service. The first iPhone 2.1 OS SDK beta showed signs of Apple’s push notification service, and now this latest SDK beta gives some developers the tools to craft applications compatible with the service.
While Apple has seen to it that their core applications on the iPhone and iPhone 3G can run in the background (Mail, Safari, iPod, Phone, Text Messages), they’ve barred third-party applications from stretching the iPhone’s resources too thin. To that end, Apple unveiled their push background notification service at the iPhone 3G keynote. Push background services allows third-party applications to receive updates from third-party servers without the need to keep the application up and running. Information from third-party servers would be pushed to Apple’s push background services server and then pushed down to the iPhone through a persistent background connection.
Information can be pushed to all manner of applications, like instant messaging or social networking apps. The push background notification server allows for data can be used to update icons, sound-off notification alerts, pop-up text alerts, etc.
Bring on the push background notification services! With a little luck, we’ll be seeing applications capable of receiving information updates in the background (while inactive) in a few months.