updated 02:15 pm EDT, Fri September 4, 2009
Location-based app works around background limits
Loopt is set to launch the first third-party iPhone app to work in the background, according to The Business Insider. Apple has not yet allowed developers to utilize true background processes, although Loopt works around the limitation by monitoring information from servers.
The location-based social networking service tracks a user's position based on network connections, even while the app is turned off. The company claims it has received permission from AT&T, while users must manually enable the tracking feature.
Loopt follows the movement of friends and shows them on a map. Users can also take a quick look at a "who's nearby" list, or view a "life graph" of every place visited. Alert options can be configured to send notifications when certain friends happen to be nearby.
Rumors early in the year suggested Apple was going to bring background processes to the iPhone firmware 3.0 update, although the reports turned out to be inaccurate. The functionality is expected to be added eventually, although it may suffer the same fate as the push notification feature which arrived much later than initially anticipated.
Loopt's always-on service will be tested with 5,000 users for two weeks. Interested individuals can sign up at the company's website to participate, while the feature will cost $3.99 per month following the formal launch.