However, according to John Gruber at daringfireball.net:
As a postscript on the “no background apps” policy, a source confirmed to me that the iPhone AIM client AOL demoed during the iPhone Roadmap event does not cheat by continuing to run in the background — it quits when you switch to another app, but doesn’t log you out of AIM automatically. Such a client can’t notify you of IM messages from the background (a la the way the iPhone notifies of you SMS messages), but when you switch back to the AIM app, messages you missed should appear. Be wary of claims that “An app that does X is impossible without background processing.”
I trust John implicitly on his Apple insider info. This makes me *wrong*.
I also said in my follow up, that this was AOL and that as such, anything was possible, and so they just might do something this lame. But to tell you the truth I really didn’t believe that. It was and is inconceivable to me that AOL would bring perhaps their most important franchise to the iPhone in such a way that it would be little more (in fact perhaps a little less) useful than *non-push* email.
If even the big name partners will be prevented from making useful communications products that actually do things like notifying you of incoming messages – let alone any other interesting communications related applications – the implications are staggering. I just still have a hard time believing this is so.
I do think, though, that John’s conclusion that this demonstrates one should be wary of people (that would be me) saying you can’t do X on the iPhone because of background processing is quite off. You have no need to be wary of me. I am telling the truth about the significance of no backgrounding, and John is demonstrating that fact.
What this really suggests is that Apple is going to prevent *everyone* from doing communications products in a very evenhanded – perhaps ham-handed – way. They are OK with the entire third party communications app category failing – at least for a while. What was to me a huge downside for developers outside the velvet rope, has just become an astonishing downside for all iPhone users. And if I want instant in my instant messaging, I better stick to my old school Blackberry.
In truth, I think I preferred the situation where Apple was just lying. Because AOL Instant Messenger without instant messages – that totally sucks.