[HTML2]Apple Push Notification Service has changed the way that iPhone app developers communicate with their users—by enabling developers to remain in contact by sending messages directly from their applications. Not only does it keep the application in the user’s mind, it provides yet another way of improving the user experience.
But there’s one little problem with the whole push setup. You see, for all the beauty of the iPhone interface and the apps therein, push notifications are still simple text messages. And that might not always deliver the user experience developers want.
Now, Portland-based Urban Airship has introduced a better option: AirMail, a new service that allows app developers to deliver rich push notifications to their users, simply and easily.
And that, my friends, could be what they refer to as a “game changer.”
Don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll believe The Unofficial Apple Weblog (tuaw):
As this video shows, push notifications are no longer throwaway products. Using AirMail, they can be stored and referenced through an in-app library. Applications can create message histories that persist well beyond the life of a normal push message. What’s more, those notifications can involve the user in a multi-directional process, whether confirming that they have taken their pills (as shown here), are ready to take a meeting, or that they acknowledge that a security alarm was triggered in error, among other uses.
Much like the difference between SMS and MMS or the difference between text email and HTML email, Urban Airship’s AirMail provides a whole new set of capabilities for developers interested in pushing information to their users.
The feature is currently in limited developer release. So it will be a bit before any of us see this on our iPhones. But it will be interesting to see who picks up the functionality and starts to deploy it.