TiPb Answers: Should Apple Have Released Push Notification Services with iPhone 2.1?

TiPb loves answering your emails, but we also love sharing our answers with the community in hopes that more people will benefit, and even better answers will present themselves (hey, that's why we have them forums!). Today's question comes from Brandon:

I think it was universally acknowledged that September was when Apple promised is background notifications for the iPhone 2.x. September has come and gone and I don't know about you guys but I still don't have background notifications on my iPhone. Would be nice if you guys posted something busting apple's 3@!!$ for missing the date and hoping we wouldn't notice. I think alot of people like myself bought iPhones with the promise of these notifications in mind.

TiPb answers, after the jump!

We posted about the lack of push-notification when it disappeared from 2.1 Beta 4, and again when it didn't show up in 2.2.

However, our take is that 2.0.x was so beset with bugs, that Apple had to focus on stability first, and then worry about new features later.

We think Apple was humbled on July 11th, and they've chosen to take some extra time with Push Notification and get things right, rather than rush out new, likely buggy features just to make self-imposed deadlines. (Do we really want a Push Notification Service as broken as MobileMe was at launch? Hopefully not!)

Of course, TiPb would love us some working Notifications, so we really do hope we get them -- stable and properly polished -- in 2.2.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

TiPb Answers: Should Apple Have Released Push Notification Services with iPhone 2.1?


I agree that they did the right thing by waiting. My sense is that the group in charge of push is the same group in charge of iTunes and charged with fixing MobileMe after it's disaster of a start. That's a lot on the organization and it would make sense for them to hold back until things are stable before they venture out into new territory. There's a whole lot of time between now and the end of the year. My guess is that this is in place before the end of the year.

i think they are waiting on a way to allow a channel for all programs to be able to turn push off through settings. i think that is what is holding them up. otherwise every program could use push notify and would be up to the programmer if they want to allow it to be turned off. creating a centralized push notify conduit cant be easy

Given the problems they had over the summer with 2 updates being released 2 weeks apart, I'd rather wait until they got it right. Yes, it's a bit frustrating not having push notifications but it's not the end of the world especially when it will eventually arrive. I'm happy that everything is now working on my iphone and the last thing I want is to go through all those weeks of bugs and crashes again.

I don't disagree about what they did with 2.1. This is common practice with software products... cutting scope to deliver additional (and necessary!) fixes. But I am concerned a bit about what signal it sends that Notifications are also not in 2.2. We're getting past the bug stage -- though I personally still find 3G connectivity unreliable, I can't necessarily put that at Apple's feet -- and it's time to start closing feature/functionality gaps.
That said, the application for which I would most WANT notifications, IM, has a lovely and working alternative in Beejive IM. I find that using SMS for "background" notification works /extremely/ well, and others seem to agree (forum). Push email is still a joke, and I'm hoping with Notifications will come real-world support for IMAP IDLE (which the /rest/ of the world, with /background apps/, has be default today).
SDK holes, app functionality holes... time to get out the shovel, Apple, and start filling them in!

I'd rather them wait until it's done, no more buggy software, but they at least need to let people know what's going on, I mean it was announced publically

Yeah they should have. That was one of the mistakes that Apple made when putting out the 2.0 firmware. Apple should have included push notifications with the initial 2.0 firmware.