Thought about writing iPhone apps – now less sure

I have been thinking about doing some development for iPhone and have come up with some really cool application ideas that I would like to turn into real applications. However, after reading on various blogs I have realised that the limitations in the development environment on the iPhone mean that those applications are not possible; at least not in a way that would allow me to distribute them through AppStore. That, of course, means that they are dead in the water since the vast majority of iPhone users will only use the AppStore.

What is holding me back? Two words – background processes.

The sad story is that third-party applications can not be made to stay running in the background when the user switches task, takes a call or when the phone goes into sleep mode. Of course, this limitation does not apply to Apple’s own applications. The argument that Apple is pushing is that they need to ensure that background processes don’t slow down the phone or drain the battery. This may seem valid but personally I think it should be left for the end user to decide. It could even be done so that the AppStore clearly states how long the application may be running in the background before it is installed – after which time the OS shuts it down.

I hope this is fully addressed by Apple soon – and no, the promised notification service is nowhere near solving my problem. Otherwise I may go back to developing my applications for Symbian or Windows Mobile – both of which I have written applications for in the past.