Quick App: Boxcar Push Notification for Tweetie and Twitterrific iPhone Twitter Clients


Boxcar [$1.99 - iTunes link] is almost more enabler than app. It only does one thing, but thus far it does it very, very well -- it sends Push Notifications for Twitter @mentions and Direct Messages (DMs) that then open in either Tweetie or Twitterrific.

Setup is straight forward; you log into your account through an in-app view of Twitter's website, and authorize Boxcar. You can select whether you want Push Notification for either @mentions, DMs, or both, and which of the aforementioned apps you want to open them in (hopefully support for more options will be forthcoming, such as Tweetdeck, Birdfeed, Twittelator Pro, etc.). You can also choose to automatically tweet them a shout out.

Like all Push-enabled apps, you can exit to the iPhone Settings to turn on or off Sounds, Alert (text boxes), and/or Badges.

That's it. Sit back and enjoy Push Notifications so you can immediately know when anyone talks to or about you on Twitter. Even when you're watching a movie on your iPhone. Or playing a game. Or writing an SMS. Or even taking a phone call -- if anyone still does that...

In other words, it works so well, you may have to learn to better manage your Twitter interruptions.

Now the crux: is a couple of bucks a lot to pay for an app that arguably only extends the usefulness of other apps that you already paid a few bucks (or more) for? Depends on how badly you want Push Notification for Twitter, whether you're willing to wait for full-on Twitter clients to add it themselves (however long that takes), and if you realize a couple of bucks is very little, and partly going to support the developers servers that are handling the Twitter calls and passing them on to Apple's notification servers.

I bought it without a second thought. You'll have to weigh the value (which is more important than cost) yourselves, and let me know what you think in the comments -- or @reneritchie and I'll get it right away via push ;)

More pics after the break!

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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

Quick App: Boxcar Push Notification for Tweetie and Twitterrific iPhone Twitter Clients


Interesting concept.
Here you have a 3rd Party App supplying PNS to other apps.
How long before Apple bitchslaps this into oblivion?

are push notification available on the 3G OS 3.0 or only on the 3GS? My 3G (running OS 3.0) does not have a ‘notifications’ option in the setting.

@uphomer: you don't have any apps that use notifications, or don't have them set to use notifications. Once you set up at least one app to use notifications, the option appears.

Presumably, this works by Tweetie/Twitterific having registered some protocol handler, and then Boxcar invokes that tweetie:// sort of NSURL. I doubt Apple would want/care to break that mechanism, since plenty of apps in the app store use it, but Tweetie certainly could break the specific Boxcar->Tweetie link just by changing their handler registration in a future version. (Assuming, of course, my hair-brained speculation on how Boxcar works is correct.)

This still doesn't sound as good as what I've envisioned for a Push-enabled twitter client. I imagine that a perfect implementation would allow you to specify what kind of notification you're sent depending on the kind of message. For instance, for a simple mention/public reply, I could set it to be simply a badge. But I could set it to send an alert when I get a DM. I could be mistaken, but it doesn't sound like this gives you that kind of flexibility.

I have issues with Boxcar randomly working. iTweetReply works faster and more consistently and leaves badge icons. You can reply from within it (doesn't open Tweetie/Twittelator). Downside: you lose your tweet if something happens while you're writing it.

For some reason I don't think the Icon Factory will supply PNSfor twitterific as they would have to build their own servers for PNS to work. An app that already has that structure in place, like Twinkle (ugh), coulée implement Push much more easily.

I'd really like to see the option to be able to choose certain people I follow to be pushed to me so I could go away with SMS updates.

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