Apple: Where the hell is the push notification service?

Prior to my current iPhone i had a Blackberry Curve. And the single most important feature it had was Blackberry Messenger. I messaged other blackberry users a lot, and since I paid a flat fee for data usage, I could basically send 1000 messages a day and not get charged extra. Even considering the extra cost for the data plan, the blackberry was cheaper than my previous Nokia phone, where I had to pay for each SMS I sent.

Then I bought an iPhone. Mind you, in Mexico we had to wait for Apple to create the iPhone 3g. Then we had to pay through the nose for the device, and then again a significant amount for the monthly data plan. All in all, phone service + data plan pretty much equals what I was paying monthly for my Blackberry. However, due to SMS usage to replace what I previously did with Blackberry Messenger, the iPhone was costing me about twice as much as the Blackberry each month. I had to cut back on my messaging;  spending that amount of money for a communications device and then having to cut back on your communications just doesn’t make sense. Why did this happen?

The iPhone has no Blackberry messenger equivalent. Sure, there’s fring and plenty of other messaging applications, but since Apple didn’t see fit to allow for 3rd-party background processes, none of these applications work unless they’re in the foreground, unlike BB messenger which would deliver messages at any time.

Can it be done? Sure it can! Apple’s applications (Mail, phone, SMS) do it all the time, beeping and popping a nice notification icon to let you know “you’ve got mail”.

“Not to worry”,  I thought. “At WWDC where the iPhone 3G was announced, Apple announced a push notification service where applications could send, through Apple’s servers, background notifications to any iPhone app, to be displayed in several different ways.” This would enable messenger functionality for almost any application and would mean you could send instant messages without incurring SMS charges. After all, I’m paying through the nose for an unlimited data plan, I should put it to use. Apple said the service would be available by September.

September came and went. October came and went, and so did November.

iPhone software updates came and went: 2.0 was the original iPhone 3G release. 2.0.1, 2.0.2, the 2.1 major release on September 12th, and 2.1.1. By now we were wondering where our push notifications were.

Apple announced the 2.2 firmware in October. Expectations grew high that it would include the vaunted push notification functionality. But on November 21, we were disappointed again: 2.2 includes mostly eyecandy improvements. Apple, come on! this is an expensive device, and you can’t keep delivering disappointments. Performance and stability improvements are welcome, but WHERE THE HELL are: 1) the PUSH NOTIFICATION SERVICE YOU PROMISED YOU’D DELIVER TWO MONTHS AGO and 2) A FREAKING CUT/PASTE FUNCTION LIKE EVERY $20 PHONE ON EARTH?

This is an official call for Apple to stop wasting time and delivering the functionality I was promised; Now don’t get me wrong, I like the iPhone, but the lack of this service is costing me money, since all those messages I have to send through SMS are not cheap. The thought of going back to the blackberry has crossed my mind; so Apple, you either deliver this sooner rather than later, or I’ll snatch a Blackberry Storm the first chance I get. Because yes, the iPhone is THAT expensive; It’d be cheaper for me to purchase a Storm at retail price, than keep subsidizing, through SMS,  the iPhone’s inability to come into the 21st century with regards to BASIC functionality. Oh, and maybe then I’d be able to keep using my wonderful Blackberry unit converter, which I’ve been unable to port to the iPhone because, hey, I can’t afford the $100 to enter the iPhone developer program, because I spend it all on SMS!

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