Apple is relying on iPhone developers to test one of the features in iPhone OS 3.0. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company asked developers in an e-mail to test its push-notification technology, which allows apps to receive updates.
Apple will use an Associated Press application to test the push process. "We have selected a prerelease version of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0 to create a high-volume test environment for our servers," the e-mail said.
Apple will take the stress off developers' servers by having information sent to its servers, and then a text or instant message will go to developers' iPhones. So if the Associated Press has a breaking news story, it will first go to Apple's servers. Then Apple will send a message to developers.
The iPhone 3.0 push-notification technology is believed to use the same technology as Apple's push system for MobileMe, according to AppleInsider.
Ready Or Not
Not all developers have received Apple's request for help. But those who participate are required to use iPhone OS 3.0 beta five, which will run for the next seven days before expiring, according to the company.
"I am sure that Apple has been testing the service with thousands of requests and they now want to open it up to hundred of thousands," said Alex Sokirynsky, the iPhone developer behind the Podcaster and RSS Player apps.
Regardless of how the push-notification test goes, there won't be much time to make changes. "Nothing they can do if they find a problem at this stage," Sokirynsky said. "We are less than three weeks away from the iPhone 3.0 announcement."
But one change Apple can make if it runs into an issue is to add additional servers. "I am surprised that Apple has not made this available earlier," Sokirynsky added.
"Apple initially said that we would have push service with iPhone 2.0, so it's been a long time," Sokirynsky said. "I remember that Apple announced the push service and then never rolled it out, but never said why."
He thinks Apple simply could not scale it at the time. "Think of the size of the service: 30 million iPhones times 35,000 apps equals 1,050,000,000,000 push requests," he said. "OK, so maybe that's a high estimate, but the service has to be massive."
Apple spokesperson Simon Pope was asked how important it is for Apple to get this right the first time without glitches. He responded, "We've nothing additional to add."
While developers will work to make the rollout smooth, users will benefit from the technology in several ways, including pushes through Twitter, RSS feeds, and other methods.
Users as well as developers have been waiting for push notification since fall, when it was initially expected. The service was delayed after Apple realized there would be much more demand on the system from third-party developers.
"I personally hope everything goes as planned, because I am looking forward to using the notification service not only as a developer but as a regular iPhone user," Sokirynsky said. "I have many apps, including Tweetie and RSS Player, that I am looking forward to alerting me."