Home Was Apple Not Ready for Push Notifications?

Was Apple Not Ready for Push Notifications?

If you’re wondering where all the Push Notification-enabled iPhone apps are, you’re not alone. Many of the most highly anticipated applications designed to work in iPhone’s OS 3.0 have not yet had their updated versions approved. On the list of overdue apps are AIM, IM+, Beejive IM, and ESPN ScoreCenter to name a few. And who knows how many lesser-known and brand-new applications are still sitting in limbo!

So what’s the reason for the delay? One iPhone application developer has his suspicions. He’s discovered what appears to be an issue with Apple’s Feedback service and is now questioning if this, and not the backlog of new app approvals, is what’s causing the holdup.

Developer Suspects Trouble with Apple’s Feedback Service

Reports Dominik Balogh, developer of the soon to be push-enabled app NotifyMe, there might be problems in the Feedback service provided by Apple’s APNS (aka “Push”) servers. In a posting on the Macrumors forum, he wrote,

Until now, we have noticed only minor glitches in Feedback service running on APNS servers. These servers deliver Push messages to user’s iPhone or iPod touch.

Feedback service alone is periodically checking whether target iPhone application(s) are still reachable. If the Feedback service finds out that the target Push application (special unique token used) is already uninstalled or the Push messages are not possible to deliver repeatedly for whichever reason, it automatically lists the token of that unique user as “invalid”. Developer’s servers has to disable that user’s account temporarily to prevent unwanted resource hogging and wasted traffic on both sides. The token is marked as “valid” back again if the same user is interacting with affected Push application some time later (or new clean token is generated).

The main purpose is clear. 1) No trash 2) saved resources 3) saved processing power 4) saved traffic — in case users are not reachable. Could be as many as hundreds of thousands.

This Feedback service is currently not responding to our servers in about 4% of cases according to our own logs. Everything else’s running fine.


2009-06-20 17:32:08 – Feedback check…

2009-06-20 18:32:10 – Feedback check…

2009-06-20 19:32:15 – Feedback check…

2009-06-20 20:32:16 – Authentication failed because the remote party has closed the transport stream.

2009-06-20 20:32:16 – Feedback check…

2009-06-20 21:32:18 – Feedback check…

If, indeed, there was an issue with the Feedback service, it makes sense that Apple would hold back on approving what will surely be some of the most-used applications taking advantage of the new OS’s push capabilities. These apps will generate a huge load of traffic and processing power, so it’s critical that Apple’s service is working without a glitch before the updates are released.

Apple to Developers: Sorry for the Delay

Incidentally, Balogh recently received an email from Apple’s iPhone Developer Program, apologizing for the delay. It reads:

Your application, NotifyMe 1.0, is requiring unexpected additional time for review. We apologize for the delay, and will update you with further status as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your patience.


iPhone Developer Program


A couple of otherdevelopers are reporting receiving the same email. 

A Second Opinion: 50,000 Apps to Approve = Major Backlog

Of course, suspicions aside, it’s also just as possible that Apple is simply dealing with an extremely large backlog of apps in need of approval. With 50,000 applications now in their ecosystem and a new OS to support, the number of app updates waiting for the green light is probably bigger than ever before. And Apple’s never been too speedy when it comes to their mysterious approval process.

While this theory makes sense, we have to wonder: if Apple was experiencing glitches with their Push Service – glitches we’ve seen in the past with MobileMe, for example – would they ever admit it? It’s doubtful. Unless someone from Apple HQ itself decided to leak what’s really going on with the approval delays, we would probably never know…we could only suspect.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.