Apple Insider is theorizing that Apple's long delayed, potentially dead iPhone Push Notification Service (PNS) may simply be waiting on the next release of Apple's server, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
We all know the background already: Apple announced a PNS back at WWCD 2008 as a work around for some forms of multi-tasking. It would send status updates (numbered badges like Email, sound alarms and popups like Calendar) for things like IM and Twitter clients, but still wouldn't do anything for streaming music apps, for example. Never-the-less, it's September release window came and went, with the service disappearing from early betas, unseen and unheard from since. (Unless you're one of those who believes the App Store icon is beta testing PNS already -- and not too consistently if so).
Interestingly, Apple Insider goes into RIM's and Microsoft's push technology, the former using the carrier channel to push updates with SMS-like technology, the latter using specially formatted push emails to update calendars, tasks, etc. Apple, by contrast, is said to be using standards-based Instant Messenger technology (XMPP).
If Apple needs to make the PNS, you know, work before they release it, and Snow Leopard Server is providing the back-end needed for it to work, then a delay is certainly better than a disastrous release like MobileMe's. We'll need to see more, however, before we really know if Snow Leopard Server is really connected and, if so, whether or not we'll really see PNS released with it, or if PNS is truly dead and Apple is investigating true multitasking for the iPhone.
So, we're left with the age-old questions: Is Apple still planning on releasing PNS? And are we willing to wait for a rock-solid solution? Or do we just want real multi-tasking now?