Friday, May 22, 2009

How the Push Notification Works on the iPhone

If you are curious on how the Push-Notification works on the yet to come iPhone 3.0, here are the details.

Apple has been testing their push notification system with a preview edition of the AP News app; this app is made available to selected developers only on the iTunes Store. Of course, this new app requires iPhone OS 3.0 and breaking news is supposed to be notified even when the app is not running. So here is how it looks like:

1) When you launch the app for the first time, you're asked if you want to enable push notification. Let's answer OK.

2) Well, you are good to go now, but lets see what can be configured. Go to Settings (of your iPhone) and you'll see a new item called "Notifications".

3) Then you will see a list of apps that uses the push notification service.

4) You can then configure three settings for each app; you can be notified by: 1. Sounds, note that the app developer decides what the tune will be, not you, 2. Alerts which is a pop-up, 3. Badges, the little red circle with a number of unread messages like the Mail app.

So now, how does this work in live? Badges, there is no need to explain. The Sounds, umm, it would be nice if the user can choose a tone like the ringtones; it probably will depend on the app, but the AP News buzz sound is not good for ones heart. Also, it might be nice to have a time schedule in which you can turn it off at night. Alerts is like when you get a text message; it looks like below:

BTW, if you are curious, it does work with both carrier network or Wi-Fi. In the above picture, the phone is in Airplane mode with Wi-Fi on, although the Wi-Fi icon is not on. (May be it works without any Internet connectivity. You know, Apple is very innovative so…)

Now, my opinion on this: I think this really does not replace background processing. For example, with the AP News app, you launch the app after receiving a notification which takes at least few seconds. Then, the app really doesn't show you the related article; or at least it wasn't obvious to me. Think about using this with an IM app, constantly switching apps going back and forth with another app, each time logging in and out of your IM session. The notification is not delivering messages to the app, it's just a notification; after the app is actually launched, it still has to load information via the Internet and the app has to be well developed so that it actually is in sync with the notification message. All this is going to take so much time that users will defiantly start to complain.

Push Notification is probably for applications such as emails or news updates. If you are playing games, doing some research on the web and wanting to IM chat with someone going back and forth, this is not yet the solution.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Microsoft's Laptop Hunters Ad Not Impressive

I have to say, the Laptop Hunters series ad from Microsoft is really not impressive. (I have the official video clips down below.) Well, true, in this economy, it must be very appealing to the general crowd and I think Microsoft is being successful in that aspect. But basically, what Microsoft is saying is that Windows computers are simply cheap; that's it, nothing more. For a while, sales will go up, but in the long-term, will the "PC" manufacturers be happy for what Microsoft is doing for them?

Side note, although I'm a fan of Apple products and do some development on its platform, I do depend on Microsoft products and they are equally important. So I'm not trying to say Apple is the best and Microsoft always sucks, but Microsoft is kind of doing that on its own.

Can Microsoft ever have a branding image that ties to keywords like: "innovative", "gorgeous", "easy-to-use", instead of "cheap", "copy-cats" and "frustration"? Oh, BTW, Microsoft itself doesn't tie to "cheap" at all, but their sales channel, "PC", does. No wonder why PC manufacturers are exploring Linux flavored OS and some even installing Mac OS!

The first of the series. Yes, direct comparison with Apple.

Actually a different Lauren. I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft is hinting a new operating system named "Lauren"…