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Urban Airship

Two powerful new features included in iPhone OS 3.0 are Apple Push Notification Services (APNS) and In-App Purchase.  APNS allows developers to send messages, update badge icons, and play sounds even when the app is not active.  In-App Purchase allows app add-ons like extra levels or subscriptions to be purchased from within an app.  These great new features will help developers create more engaging applications and open new revenue streams.  Unfortunately, the server-side implementation required for these services is not trivial to implement and can be costly (both in maintenance time and in dollars) to host.  To the rescue is Urban Airship.

Urban Airship crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s for APNS so the developer doesn’t have to.  They provide a RESTful API which developers can use to process notifications on their server.  There is also a web-based administration panel allowing developers to send broadcast messages to all users or to individual users.

Urban Airship also makes In-App Purchase a breeze.  It’s as simple as dropping in their open source library and uploading your content to their servers.  Urban Airship handles the rest.

Development houses as notable as Tapulous (creators of Tap Tap Revenge) have signed up with Urban Airship to handle their APNS and In-App Purchases taking them only hours to accomplish what would have taken weeks of development time.  Urban Airship offers free APNS up to 5000 notifications and $29 a month will get you 50,000 notifications.  Unlimited plans are also available.

Alternatives:  iLime

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