The day has finally come that push notifications are available for iPhone and iPod Touch with the new firmware 3.0 update. This capability is one that many iPhone/iPod Touch users have been anticipating for some time now. It will enhance the usefulness and function of many apps. One app in particular caught my interest. So, I took a look at exactly how Textfree Unlimited will work with this new function.
The addition of push notifications to Textfree Unlimited allows you to receive a notification when you receive a text using the app. When you open up your Textfree app, it will ask you if you want to allow push notifications (the most recent update is required). If you tap “OK,” they should be enabled. Now, when someone texts you to your textfree.us account you will receive a notification. This is regardless if the app is running or not or if your device is locked or not. It works much like getting a text message on an iPhone.
The notifications come in three different ways, the alerts or pop-up windows, sounds, and badges seen as a number in the upper corner of the app icon on your screen. In the Settings app on your device you can choose to turn any one of these on or off at any time.
I tested this app sending and receiving texts first with my iPod Touch on when the app was closed. Next, I tried locking my iPod. The push notifications still came through (very cool). [Update: Push notifications on an iPod Touch will only work when the iPod is locked if it is connected to a power source (either your PC or charger), it will not work otherwise. Thanks to Brick for the comment.] With the new addition of push notifications, the need to pay for the ability to text is near zero. The only limit now is the range of your Wi-Fi network.
Testing push notifications on an iPhone was near identical to the iPod Touch tests but with two exceptions: no need to be connected via WiFi (obviously) AND push notifications work whether the iPhone is locked or not.
If you’re looking for an alternative to text messaging that AT&T’s plans, or you have an iPod Touch, the introduction of push notifications makes Textfree a whoooole lot better.
Textfree Unlimited is $5.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Textfree Unlimited is not the only app to take advantage of this new capability, though. Other apps that make use of push notifications include AreMySitesUp (Free), Tap Tap Revenge (Free), Star Defense ($5.99), Pollen (Push) (Free), Weather Alert ($0.99), AP Mobile (Free), Leaf Trombone ($0.99), E*Trade Mobile Pro (Free), and Hey Where Are You (Free). Many more apps are coming that will support this functionality, keep checking back for more updates.
For more OS 3.0 information check out: iPhone OS 3.0 is here. Where to Start and Changes to check out
Apple released iPhone OS 3.0 for iPhone today, creating lost work productivity accross the globe as untold numbers of fanbois eagerly update their iPhones and iPod Touches. The update brings many new enhancements to all generations of iPhones and iPod Touches and we’ll start breaking these down over the next day. However, there’s been no shortage of information about OS 3.0 since it was seeded to app developers some months ago.
So where do you start, you ask? Well, here’s just a few of the much desired enhancements that iPhone OS 3.0 brings and how to use them:
1. Spotlight searches. Similarly to Spotlight on you Mac computer the new iPhone OS features search across all of the apps on your iPhone. What’s also very nice is that it’s FAST, just like what you’re used to with Spotlight on your main computer. To try it out, unlock your device. Press the home button to make sure you’re at the home screen, now you will notice that there is another “dot” (ok, spotlight) left of the left-most screen indicator. This is the Spotlight screen. Just swipe right (move the screen left) and voila! Start your searches. Touching a result will launch that application and open what you selected. Very nice.
2. Voice Memos. iPhone OS 3.0 introduces and new application: Voice Memos. Apple’s impementation of Voice Memos is clean and concise and works great. After launching the app you have a record button and VU meter. Press record -> speak -> press stop and you’re done. Listenning to voice memos is easy, just select the menu button on the right and you’ll get a listing of all of your voice memos. Touch one to listen to it.
3. Landscape Keyboards. Finally! All of the Apple applications now support landscape keyboards for easier typing. This includes Notes, Mail App, and Messages App. This has been one of those frustrating omissions for the past two years and we are happy to see it finally arrive. To try it out, just launch any of these apps and tilt your device into landscape mode (that was probably obvious, but ah-well!).
4. Notes Syncing. Yep, no more worries about losing those notes, you can now sync them with Mail.app using iTunes on your desktop. Nice.
5. Cut, Copy & Paste. Yes, I’m sure you were as giddy as a little school girl knowing that today would bring Cut, Copy and Paste to your beloved device. So now that you have it, try it out! Copy/Paste is easy to use and works across all applications. Just touch in the text area, get the magnify and then lift your finger (or double-tap the text area). The cut/copy markers and buttons will appear. Drag the two ends to include the text you want then touch one of the actions. Now head on over to another application, repeat above steps but now touch paste. Done. Easy. Beautiful. Sigh.
6. Push Notifications. Ah, the famous push notifications have arrived. If you don’t know what these are then let me explain quickly: push notifications is Apples answer to background running applications. Since Apple does not permit apps to run in the background (ie: chat apps that would check for chats) they have come up with this system to appease developers. How it works is that if you have an app installed that uses push notification, the app developer can “push” content or messages to your device and you will be notified, regardless if the app is open or not. Eg: AP news app can push you breaking news headlines.
7. YouTube enahancements. Even YouTube saw some enhancement love today. The new YouTube app allows you to sign in to your YouTube account where you can view our uploaded videos, subscriptions, favorites, history, playlists, most recent, and top rated vids.
8. iTunes and App Store. iTunes and App Store now have more purchasing options, such as movies, TV shows and the capability to redeem codes via your device.
9. Others. A few other enhancements worth mentioning are: Stereo Bluetooth, Internet Tethering (not yet for AT&T), MMS messaging (note yet for AT&T), shake to shuffle and oh so much more.
Since the new OS includes over 100 enhancements and changes we can’t possibly list them all, but as you find more of them – share the knowledge and please let us know in the comments.
AppChatter.com is not a rumor site by any means, and so for the past several months we’ve had to sit back and bite our tongue as every other Apple oriented blog out there took it upon themselves to report every single rumor possible about the upcoming iPhone. Well, today was reconciliation day for all as Apple laid out the new iPhone firmware and of course, the new iPhone 3G S.
- Two new iPhone models: 16GB iPhone 3G S ($199) and 32GB iPhone 3G S ($299)
- In addition to the two new iPhone models Apple will continue to sell the original iPhone 3G 8GB for $99.00
- Some are reporting that the “S” designation on the new iPhones is for “Speed.”
- New iPhones will be available on June 19th. That’s June 19th.
- Updated features on the 3G S iPhones include:
- Significantly improved battery life: 9 hours on wifi, 10 hours watching video, 30 hours of audio playback, 12 hours of 2G talk time, and 5 hours of 3G talk time.
- Support for Nike+
- Built in digital compass.
- Voice control and voice dialing.
- Control iTunes via voice commands.
- Voice commands float around in the background on the screen.
- New camera with 3.2MP, auto focus, auto exposure, auto white balance.
- Tap on the screen to focus on that part of the picture.
- Improved low light sensitivity.
- Macro capability.
- Captures video (woot!).
- Video at 30 frames per second in VGA resolution, also auto-light and auto-focus.
- iPhone 3G S is roughly 2X faster overall from iPhone 3G.
Along with the new iPhone 3G S comes a new software update for all iPhone ownsers. We previously reported about the new firmware when it was seeded to iPhone developers and now here is the final word on it:
- New iPhone OS 3.0 firmware will be available world wide on June 17th.
- Copy/Paste and Undo supported across all apps.
- MMS is now available (ATT will not support MMS until later this summer).
- Spotlight is being added to iPhone OS 3.0.
- Rent and purchase movies right on the iPhone.
- Improved parental controls.
- Data tethering via USB or Bluetooth for both MAC or PC (only 22 carriers in 42 countries, no word on ATT).
- Autofill usernames/passwords in Safari.
- New feature: “Find my iPhone” available only to MobileMe subscribers.
- A new remote wipe command that you can remotely wipe the contents off the iPhone.
- Send a message from land line or online to trigger remote wipe.
- App subscription support.
- Push notifications for developers.
- Much more.
- iPhone OS 3.0 is free for all current iPhone users (2G and 3G) and is $9.95 for iPod Touch owners.
So to sum it up: new iPhone OS 3.0 is available on June 17th and the new iPhone 3G S will be available on June 19th. Mark your calendars and schedule your vacation days (as I turn to my “other” job to do just that). We’ll be bringing you the iPhone 3G S full pics and coverage on the 19th once we’ve been down to the Apple store to get one. Stay tuned!