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Apple ignores Jesus Phone life raft

What's wrong with background apps?

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CTIA Wireless For reasons unknown, Apple's new Jesus Phone SDK won't allow apps that run in the background. As many have noted, this rules out instant messaging - or, at least, instant messaging as we know it. But it also rules out all sorts of other useful applications, including the fledgling smartphone rescue tool from remote control maven LogMeIn.

LogMeIn Rescue Mobile officially debuted in December on Windows Mobile devices, letting support technicians remote control smartphones over cellular networks much as they remote control PCs over the web. And today, at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas, LogMeIn unveiled a new version of the app for Symbian phones. But porting this eminently useful app to the iPhone is an impossibility - at least for now.

A distant technician can't initiate a wireless remote control session on a smartphone unless there's an app running the background waiting for his request.

"We've tried talking to Apple about this," said Kevin Bardos, who oversees development of LogMeIn Rescue Mobile. "But that's not easy." [Glad we're not the only one. - Ed] Bardos and his team were also among the many who officially applied to Apple's Developer Program, but like most, they were heartlessly rejected.

In the meantime, they plan to port their C++ app to Java and move it onto the Blackberry. One major US wireless carrier is already using the app to solve handset support issues - at least on a trial basis - and LogMeIn believes this sort of smartphone remote control will eventually become the norm. Vice president and general manager Richard Redding gave us the ol' it-will-cut-carrier-costs argument.

Redding even believes that Steve Jobs will one day embrace the tool - in spite of his current stance on background apps. "We think the carriers will ask to," Redding said.

Whatever the case, you have to wonder why Jobs has taken this stance. Is he worried that background apps will slow his status symbol down? Is security the issue? Piddling network speeds?

Ah, it's piddling network speeds. Either that or Steve Jobs is convinced that the iPhone doesn't need support. ®

Bootnote

For all the news on the CTIA Wireless trade show see our CTIA roundup.

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