This could be the start of something cool. Loopt, the location-based social network, has figured out how to use the iPhone to push your current location to their servers, without the app even running! It’s like running it in the background, but we all know that Apple doesn’t allow that.
TechCrunch has the details on how they pulled it off:
Loopt co-founders Sam Altman and Alok Deshpande would not disclose the names of any of these partners, noting that the system set up to make this happen is very “complex” and involves a number of players. But at least one of them has to be AT&T, which is, of course, the network the iPhone runs on. Loopt, which seems to be particularly good at carrier relationships, has cut deals with AT&T in the past.
What this means is that these guys have gotten around the iPhone’s limitation by keeping a pipeline open on AT&T’s side that is constantly sending your location data to Loopt. This doesn’t require any app to be running on your iPhone — not even Loopt — and the location data will be sent even when you’re on a call or surfing the web on your iPhone. Most importantly, because there is no app required to do this, it doesn’t drain your battery life, Altman tells us.
The downside is that it’s currently limited to 5,000 users and it’ll cost $3.99/month. Still, it’s got the potential to be a very cool service so it’s worth giving it a shot. You can sign up here to test it.