For months now, we’ve been waiting for Apple to make good on their promise to bring push background notifications to the iPhone. Apple announced the iPhone push notification feature back in the middle of last year, but has since gone silent on the development of the technology. The release of the iPhone 2.2.1 OS without background push notification support has spurred some interesting rumors of late. Most intriguing is the possibility of running applications in the background with the next major iPhone OS update (iPhone 3.0 OS).
Official iPhone applications (those available through the iPhone App Store) are prohibited from running in the background. Rather than taxing the iPhone’s limited resources by running an inactive application in the background, Apple forces iPhone apps to terminate when not in use. While unofficial iPhone applications, available to jailbroken iPhones (don’t know what “jailbreak” means?), can run in the background, Apple’s control over the App Store prohibits the majority of iPhone apps from continuing to run as a background process.
Push notifications would be nice. They’d allow official iPhone applications to receive updates (like instant messages, weather, stocks, etc.) even when dormant. But, an even better solution would be to allow iPhone apps to persist in the background, even while another application is active. Which brings us to the rumor.
MacRumors is reporting that the rumored iPhone 3.0 OS firmware update may bring with it the ability to run at least a couple user-selected iPhone applications in the background. The iPhone isn’t going to perform well (speed, battery life, stability, etc.) with a dozen applications all vying for a piece of the iPhone’s CPU and battery at the same time. But, the iPhone may be able to handle running a couple iPhone apps at the same time with an acceptable hit to performance.