Gmail pushes onto the iPhone
Google calendar elbows in too
Google has enabled push email on the iPhone, so now received Gmail can interrupt iPhone users just as irritatingly as the native app supplied by Apple.
Gmail users have long been able to receive pushed notifications in the iPhone mail application, just by telling the iPhone it was a Microsoft Exchange account. But now the Gmail application itself can receive those notifications - though only from one account of course.
That limitation also applied to the iPhone's native mail app, at least until recently, which annoyed many users who wanted to keep their work and home email accounts separate. The new Gmail app is also restricted to one account, but combined with the native application it enables the user to receive pushed emails from two separate accounts into separate email clients.
The new Google Mobile App, already in the UK iTunes store, also accepts pushed Calendar events, and pops up reminders right across whatever it is you're trying to do:
Those notifications still pop up right across the iPhone screen, to the intense irritation of anyone not already accustomed to the Jobsian way of doing things.
Google has also integrated some search features, as one might expect, but it's the pushy nature of the new client which is the major development, as explained by Google's blog. ®
Re: I'm only familiar with the Jobsian way of doing things
Android handsets have a rather neat tray that slides down from the top of the screen. Alerts appear as icons and the user can slide down the tray to get more details if they wish.
That tray isn't always on screen - if you're watching a movie or playing a full-screen game then you won't see the notification (though an audible signal is enabled by default).
It's a very effective system, and I'd be surprised if something similar didn't turn up on iOS reasonably soon.
Tweak the notification settings
You can always tone down the push notifications from the settings panel.
Each application can have its push settings tweaked to turn on/off:
* Alert - Message across screen
* Badge - Small icon overlay over app icon
You could therefore have your Google app (for example) on your front page or the dock. Turn off the "alert" setting from the notifications. You'll know when you have new emails as the sound will pay and the badge will update to show the number of new emails.
"That limitation also applied to the iPhone's native mail app, at least until recently, which annoyed many users who wanted to keep their work and home email accounts separate."
Are you sure? I always used it quite happily with multiple accounts. What did change recently (in iOS 4.0) was the introduction of a unified inbox for those multiple accounts.