iPhone push notifications – where the hell is it? Does anyone care?

Wed, Jan 28, 2009


It’s been over six months since Apple first promised that it would soon deliver push notifications for the iPhone, and six months later, we’re still waiting.  Some have criticized Apple for only allowing its own programs to multitask, and with the upcoming Palm Pre supposedly being able to handle up to 15 programs running concurrently, one has to ask if Apple is ever planning on releasing push notifications for the iPhone.

Macworld, though, takes an interesting point of view and raises some questions about whether or not adding push notifications is even worth the trouble, and if not, then perhaps Apple has scrapped the idea entirely.

For example, Macworld brings up the point that the utility gained from adding push notifications is somewhat limited to the extent that the relative number of programs that would actually benefit from such functionality is rather small.  While push notifications make sense for programs such as instant messaging, it creates a whole world of problems  when applied to some of the more popular iPhone Apps such as Pandora.  That said, Macworld theorizes that perhaps “Apple decided to ax the push notification system because it didn’t do enough. As a company, Apple’s never been afraid to say “no” to things that aren’t up to snuff, even when it’s a product that’s close to shipping.”

One of the more salient explanations regarding the lack of push notifications is how it would affect the user experience.  Apple prides itself on making products that deliver top notch user experience, and often lost in the discussion is how push notifications might sully the way a user interacts with his or her iPhone.

Right now, you might get text messages popping up dialog boxes when you’re browsing the Web or checking your e-mail, but imagine that every application on the iPhone had the ability to interrupt you. Sure, you’d probably be able to turn the notifications on and off for individual apps, but all it takes is one irresponsible application, and you’re inundated with dialog boxes and literal bells and whistles.

Apple prides itself on simplicity and elegance—maybe the company realized that the notification system might cause more problems than it solved.

After the fiasco that was the introduction of MobileMe, it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple has chosen to take its time with push notifications before it unveils it unto the iPhone community.  After a plethora of problems related to 3G service last July, the last thing Apple needs is another well-publicized snafu.  Push notifications might well be on the way, and it’s just as likely that it will never see the light of day.  One thing’s for sure though – it won’t be released until all the kinks/questions/concerns have been worked out a hundred times over.  Until then, users seem to be getting along just fine without it.

You can read more on the story over at Macworld.


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