Although push notifications are incorporated into many apps, it’s not a feature that’s as prevalent as we’d like to stay on top of emails, RSS feed updates, Twitter and other events and messages. Also, it can be a bit cumbersome keeping track of all of those notifications when they’re spread out among several apps (and particularly pre-iOS 5 with its handy Notification Center). Enter Fabian Penso’s Push 4.0, an app that does nothing but push notifications and does it well.
Push will generate push notifications for four different service types: Facebook, email, Twitter and RSS feeds. Out of the box, so to speak, Push lets you set up notifications for emails for free. To get Twitter and RSS feed notifications, you must pay extra via in-app purchase – either $.99 individually or you can pay $8.99 once to unlock unlimited use for all service types.
Once set up, you’ll get a push notification just like with any other app for new emails or whatever service you have set up. You can set custom sounds for each service, which is where one of my only gripes lies – you can only set a single alert sound for all RSS feeds, for example. I’d like the ability to have different sounds for each RSS feed so I can identify the source of each notification without needing to look at my iPhone or iPad.
You can see all of your push notifications in list format, choosing to view all notifications for all services in a single massive list or by service. You can also set a notification manually to remind yourself of a task or some other event and it will go off at the designated date and time using the sound alert you selected during set-up.
When viewing an individual notification event, you can send it via email, post it to Twitter or Facebook, save it to read later via Read It Later or Instapaper, and more.
Push is a universal app and works on both the iPad and iPhone. At set-up, you’ll create a log-in and password and when you use this log in on multiple devices, they’ll sync up accordingly. Push also has a web portal through which you can log in, see all of your push notifications in one place, edit services and your account settings.
When it comes to settings, Push lets you set sleep hours so you’re not woken up in the middle of the night, set a global alert sound, and more.
I’ve found Push 4.0 to work pretty reliably and have had a much better experience with it overall than with its competitor, Boxcar. Regarding Push’s pricing, I realize it may seem a bit high to some but note that sending push notifications is not free – while Apple provides the service (essentially the gateway through which notifications are funneled to arrive at your iOS device) at no charge, developers must pay for the servers to generate and send the notifications to begin with and this is not cheap. Sending a large number of push notifications can add up and if you need to stay on top of news or are a social networking fiend, Push 4.0 is worth the price.