With or Without Apple: Sparrow for iPhone Will Soon Get Push Notifications

There are a fair amount of third-party iPhone email clients out there, but few ever received the kind of reception that Sparrow for iPhone got a few weeks ago. Sadly, though, unless you have a jailbroken iPhone or use a third-party service like Boxcar, you won’t be able to get push notifications for new emails from Sparrow – but this could soon change.

Apple, in its infinite wisdom, decided that Sparrow couldn’t use the same kind of special push mechanism that VoIP apps like Skype use for calls and chats.¬†According to Sparrow, the team could have enabled regular push notifications, but that would have meant storing all of its users email credentials on its own servers. Given that Sparrow is being developed by a small startup without a strong security background, the team decided that this was too much of a risk.

Today, Sparrow launched version 1.1 of its app. While this update includes a fair number of interesting new features, maybe the most interesting part of the announcement is that the Sparrow team will submit the next version of the app with built-in support for VoIP-style push notifications based on the assumption “that Apple might revise its position on the Push API.”

Even Sparrow itself notes that this is somewhat of a risky tactic. Should Apple decide to push back, however, Sparrow says that is already working on enabling push notifications with the help of “some partners” and “without needing Apple clearance.”

Version 1.2 will also include localization in nine languages, as well as support for composing messages in landscape mode.

As for the updates in today’s new version, the most important one is probably the ability to open links in emails in a built-in browser, a very convenient feature that was sorely missed in the first version. Other updates include the ability to only show specific labels and folders, to empty the trash and spam folders, and the option to keep your inbox a bit cleaner by automatically archiving a conversation after you reply to a message.