With iPhone 3.0 OS upon us, we’ve finally seen the delivery of much-needed push notifications from Apple. Applications that take advantage of this new feature continue to trickle in, and though the selection is slim right now, there are a handful of apps (some on their way) that should allow you to become more productive throughout your day.
With push notifications, you can now stop checking news for breaking stories, or forget opening your IM app to see if someone is looking for you – rather, you can get instantly notified instead. Let’s take a look at a handful of useful apps that can get you the information you crave even more quickly.
iPhone Apps with push notification
Chat and Instant Message Apps
BeejiveIM: Web – iTunes: By far, my favorite instant messaging app for the iPhone, BeejiveIM ($9.99) combines Google Talk, Yahoo!, MSN, AIM and more all under one program for your iPhone. Now you’ll receive IM notifications even when you have the app closed.
YoFrog: Web – iTunes: YoFrog ($.99) is a mobile group chat application that allows you to chat with all your friends or business associates (who also need YoFrog) at once. No more SMS mayhem! With version 1.1 (sent to the App Store last week and waiting for approval), you’ll now be instantly notified when your contacts are trying to chat with you. They also have a free, Lite version.
Textfree Unlimited: Web – iTunes: Textfree ($5.99) allows for unlimited text messages (for one year) to any other US mobile phone. You’ll need to set up a username for people to text you directly, so it’s not ideal for your contacts – but probably not a bad deal for anyone who sends a ton of text messages and doesn’t want to upgrade to their carrier’s unlimited plan. Push notifications for Textfree will now notify users as soon as a new message comes in (imagine that!). They also have a Lite version that limits you to 15 messages per day and is ad-supported.
IM+ with Push: Web – iTunes: A popular instant messaging app, IM+ ($9.99) can now update you in real time when you receive an IM. You can manage IM with all of your contacts from any of the instant messaging platforms, including Skype.
To-do List Apps
RememberTheMilk: Web – iTunes: One of the most popular web-based to do list managers (and my go-to web app), RTM will now instantly notify you when you have a list item that’s due. The RTM iPhone App is free, but requires a Pro account with Remember The Milk for $25 per year.
ToodleDo: Web – iTunes: Another solid to do list manager, you can purchase their iPhone app ($2.99) to use with your free or paid subscription to Toodledo. Push notifications will let you know when an item with a due-date is coming up.
ReQall: Web – iTunes: ReQall (Free) is a unique information manager for to do items and other reminders. If you haven’t used it, I’d suggest trying it for a week to see if it makes sense for you. Open the app, speak, and let their system convert your speech into a to do item. The app now supports push notifications to instantly notify you of upcoming events.
BillMinder: Web – iTunes: ($.99 on sale) The next update of this bill reminder application promises push notifications. Just set your due dates and make sure notifications are turned on. Now you’ll never forget to pay a bill again… accidentally, at least.
NotifyMe: Web: Not to be confused with Notify.me, the IM notifier app, NotifyMe (price unkown) is yet to be approved by the app store, but promises notification for anything you can think of. Set it to notify you when your favorite TV show is about to start, when you are supposed to call back a client, or when you need to change the cat box! You’ll need to set up each alert, but the developer promises you can set up a new alert in as little as two taps. The free version (with some limitations) is in iTunes now.
Occasions: Web – iTunes: Occasions ($.99 on sale) notifies you of the birthdays and anniversaries of your iPhone contacts. You can also add more information about each contact or add reminders for people not on your phone’s contact list. For me, this is great. I manage all of my contacts in GMail and they’re synced to my phone automatically, so now I can get notified of the events in their lives, without having to do much extra work.
Other Apps with Push
AP Mobile: Web – iTunes: The popular free news app now supports push notifications of breaking news. However, it seems like it might not be working properly (serious lag time and not all notifications coming through). If this gets fixed, it could be very useful for those of us who can’t stand missing the latest North Korean missile launch.
AreMySitesUp: Web – iTunes: While push notifications are not yet available for this app, they promise that it’s coming. For an app that is built to “notify” you when your web site goes down – push would be ideal, of course. Their app is a free companion to the Premium membership on their site (starts at $25 per year). There is also a Lite version of the app that works with their free plan.
Zillow Real Estate: Web – iTunes: If you’re looking for a home, it doesn’t get much better than Zillow (Free). While you could always find houses for sale near your location (no need to enter an address), you can now get push-notified of new listings that match any of your saved searches.
E*Trade Mobile Pro: Web – iTunes: For the investors out there, you probably know you can already manage your E*Trade account with their iPhone App (Free), but now they’ve introduced push notifications. You’ll get stock and account alerts pushed directly to your phone’s screen. Next time you miss that big opportunity, it won’t be E*Trade’s fault!
Will Innovators Rise to Push?
While the apps that currently use push notifications are handy, I hope that developers will take this opportunity to do some things above and beyond your typical “message waiting” notifiers. E*Trade, Zillow and a few others get the idea. I’m waiting for the app that allows me to get notified of anything I decide I need to be notified about. With all the open APIs out there today, it’s bound to come along.
Things I want pushed:
1. Allow me to be notified when my car or house alarm goes off.
3. How about instead of giving me a big vibrating brick of plastic at the restaurant while I wait for a table, let my phone connect to your system and you can ping me instead.
4. I’d also like to know immediately when Albert Pujols hits another grand slam – or when any other sporting event I’m interested in occurs.
5. What about when I need two days of rain-free weather, within specific degrees, in order to paint a fence or deck. Should I really have to check the weather forecast every day? I’d rather have an app that did the work for me.
Sooner or later, push notification of almost anything will be a reality, making our digital lives even more real-time. What type of alerts would you like pushed to your iPhone?