Rumor: Apple is Considering Allowing iPhone Apps to Run in the Background


Push Notification Service was supposed to be Apple's solution to allow iPhone apps to run in the background. It is one of most requested features by iPhone users along with copy and paste and support for Adobe's Flash. Apple had announced that it would be available to iPhone users in September 2008.

However, Apple had strangely pulled out the Push Notification Service APIs in fourth beta version of iPhone firmware 2.1 and there has been no further updates from Apple about the feature.

But looks like Apple has not forgotten about it. MacRumors is hearing that Apple is considering allowing real background processes instead.

iPhone apps
thus far cannot run in the background, and therefore cannot ping for
data unless you're running them explicitly which is something most of
us have been accustomed to; having used smart phones such as Blackberry.

This was the reason why iPhone users and developers have been
requesting Apple for a feature to allow iPhone apps to run in the
background which can be very useful for Instant Messenger apps, Facebook etc.

Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iPhone Software at Apple,
believed that enabling background processes was not the right solution
when it comes to mobile phones, as it would affect the iPhone's battery
life and degrade performance.

Apple was planning to solve this problem by offering developers with Push Notification Service. However, Apple had strangely pulled out the Push Notification Service APIs in fourth beta version of iPhone firmware 2.1 and there has been no further information from Apple. Though it the reason for the hold up is not clear, it is quite evident that something is holding Apple from releasing it.

MacRumors is reporting that they have heard that as an alternative Apple is considering allowing apps to run as user selectable background processes.

MacRumors expects this feature to be released in iPhone firmware 3.0 update but will be limited to only one or two processes for 1st Gen iPhone and iPhone 3G based on their hardware. The next generation iPhone, however, would likely see less
restricted background process support due to its improved hardware. It is speculated that the next generation iPhone could come with quad-core processors.

If the rumor is true then it would be a u-turn by Apple based on their comments back in August 2008 where they believed that enabling background processes was not the right solution for the iPhone. But its very good news for iPhone users as the limitation of not being able to run apps in the background was quite frustrating.

What do you think? If Apple allowed only one or two processes to run in the background which iPhone apps will you chose. Let us know in the comments.

In case you don't want to wait, there is a jailbreak app aptly called
iPhone Backgrounder
which allows you to run iPhone apps in the background but
for that you need a jailbroken iPhone.

[via MacRumors]

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