Big Fat iPhone SDK “gotcha”

So I had an idea for a great iPhone app that now appears will never happen.

Why, you ask? Because Apple wants to have super-strict control of the user experience. The problem is hidden in the documentation… A nice little limitation that gets but a paragraph mention.

The iPhone will only allow a single 3rd party application to run at a time, and they also disable the ability to run an app in the background. My idea required an app that would run whenever the phone was on. Guess if I wanted to do anything, I’ll have to jailbreak my iPhone after all.

How does this impact the average user? This means no (useful versions of) instant messangers, listeners for push-based services, rss notifications, or anything else that the user would like to happen when they’re not actively using the application. This more or less limits the iPhone SDK to games and a few business applications.