Google Latitude on iPhone? Background Process?

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Google just introduced a new service, Latitude. I will not go in the details of explaining what it does, simply because the official web page is detailed enough, and has a nice/fancy video.

Google Latitude

What is relevant for me is the list of phone with which it will work:

Will it work with my phone? Google Latitude is a feature of Google Maps for mobile on these phones:
  • Android-powered devices, such as the T-Mobile G1 (coming soon)
  • iPhone and iPod touch devices (coming soon)
  • most color BlackBerry devices
  • most Windows Mobile 5.0+ devices
  • most Symbian S60 devices (Nokia smartphones)
  • many Java-enabled (J2ME) mobile phones, such as Sony Ericsson devices (coming soon)
This service is free from Google; carrier charges may apply.

My question is: how is this going to work, given the fact that Apple’s iPhone are not allowing any “Background Process”? The user will have to a)”open the application” and b)”send a notification about it’s position”? I seriously doubt this is going to be the interaction pattern.

From my point of view, only three cases are possible.

Apple authorize this App to run in Background

This means Google will be treated as “special” respect to all the other application developers (small or big), creating a lot of disappointment around the iPhone Developers’ Community. Besides, I ignore if this is technically possible with the normal iPhone SDK APIs.

Apple integrates this functionality in the Maps App

It will not be surprising at all. They did the same kind of “close collaboration” for Street View. The relevant aspect here is that they will have to have either the whole Maps application running in background (I doubt of it), or develop an independent and detached process that does the notification part. And I think this will create the same disappointment described before…

Apple removes the "lock" on Background Processes

That’s the option that everyone expects and hopes for. iPhone has currently the biggest Application Market EVER (in a bit more than a Year, and not counting the “Jailbroken market”); a Market bigger even of the one for Symbian S60, that is way older. BUT, this will not last, if the other competitor will start to run their market, because the “undoability” of a lot of applications on iPhone will change the shape of things quite quickly. Anything can rise as fast as it can fall. That’s the new and unwritten rule of the Mobile Apps Market. ;)

Anyway, this is at least what I see here. For once, I liked to share with you guys: my work doesn’t allow to say much about what I do, so it’s nice to share some thoughts about my work field sometimes.

What do you think?