A new update to eBay's free iPhone application enables users to better keep an eye on items they're interested in buying.
Users can now opt to receive push notifications for when they've been outbid, or when an auction they're watching is close to ending. As soon as a watched item enters that threshold, the user gets a message that both alerts them and gives them a quick option to jump back to the item to make an increased bid.
The app isn't just about viewing, though; users can now use it to make payments. Using eBay's PayPal technology — and only PayPal — iPhone users can now make a purchase bid on a new item directly from the device, without having to go back and use a regular computer or deal with the payments in mobile Safari. However, this option does not apply to all items.
If an eBay item requires immediate payment, the purchase bid must be made on a normal computer or via eBay's desktop application.
eBay was one of the first big applications to hit the iPhone, shortly following the release of the device's 2.0 operating system version, which included the App Store and installable native applications. The company later demonstrated push-notification features on-stage at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference in June of 2008, an entire year before Apple actually made the feature available as part of OS 3.0.