App Review: Notifications for iPhone

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Notifications App Review by msbaylor. For more App Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!

Notifications [$2.99] for iPhone does just what the name suggests -- hooks into Apple'I've never regularly used an RSS reader, because I would add a lot of feeds, then when I'd open it, I had all these things to read and that little number badge would be in the hundreds staring at me from my springboard. I happen to be one of those people that if there's a number badge on an app, then it needs to be resolved immediately. So I deleted the app. Resolved, right?!? Not exactly what should be done...

Getting back to the app - The resolution to my issue was using the Notifications app. This allowed me to set up certain RSS feeds to be checked and Push notifications to be sent to me. Notifications doesn't only do push for RSS, but Twitter, Gmail, and if you know how to code, then these are some bits of code that you can utilize on your website. So the app applies to both beginner & advanced iPhone users.

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The app itself is quite simple. The main page consists of all the notifications you have received to date and the settings page, which allows you to check latency, to test sending push notifications to yourself and to show you which services you have enabled.

My main issue with this app was determining how to enter my feeds & Twitter searches so that it would send me the notifications. I ended up doing a Google search for the company and finding a login page (that I first registered for) and logged in to be able to edit my notifications. I really don't understand why they couldn't add a button in the settings pane that opens up an IN-APP BROWSER! Mind you, the website is mobile formatted; however, the blanks you type into are not, so it is a bit catty-whompus.

Right now I have about some 30 feeds that Notifications checks for me and one Twitter search. While their website states that the notification come instantly, I noticed that it can take from instantly to 15 minutes before you receive notification. A nice little feature I noticed on the web was the ability to open up a pre-selected iPhone Twitter app when you received a Twitter notification.

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Conclusion

Overall, the service is great. If you are looking for a solid RSS application with PUSH, then this is NOT the app for you. If you don't care much about the app itself & its UI, then you should be just fine purchasing this app. The one main thing I’d really like to see improved is the app itself – to have the capability to marked notifications as read or unread & the ability to sort into categories would be an added bonus.

Pros:

-Unlimited notifications (as many RSS feeds as you want etc.) -Notification response time is very reasonable.

Cons:

-App navigation is horrible -Notifications appear in app all bunched up, no way to mark as read. -Must edit setting in a browser. -No RSS feed search

TiPb Review Rating

TiPb Forums Review: 3 Star App

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There are 21 comments. Add yours.

Fonewiz says:

Ok so if it doesn't reliably send push notification then what's the point?

thepedigree says:

Ronnie J... Do you mean an rss notification widget or a push widget? I'm eagerly awaiting a push notification widget that works with LockInfo and will show the last several pushed notifications. GRiP works, but no sound on beejive IM pushes is a bit of a dealbreaker.

Wesley says:

You've missed a HUGE benefit: with this app, you can send any notifications to yourself, without having to make your own App or creating an infrastructure to communicate with the APNS.
For instance, I have a PHP script that automatically downloads some torrents for me, and I use Notifications to send myself a message so I can be aware of what is going on, and latency is very low (1 or 2 seconds mostly).
This app is a gateway between notifications and services. RSS is ONE of the ways to use it (and indeed THIS PARTICULAR FEATURE is not that good, and not that useful either).
It can also be used to notifty you about Twitter. For now you can search for terms and be notified when people post them, like @yourusername for replies (what I do), but in the near future the developer will better integrate the app with Twitter. And you receive the notification SECONDS after anyone tweets it, it's amazing.
This review is very poor, you missed the entire purpose of this app. =(

Wesley says:

By the way a new version of this App was just rejected by Apple:http://twitter.com/appnotification/status/6277850764
So there must be something in the way to adress all interface problems.
And you have Safari on the iPhone, so having to go to the web to configure is bad but not the worst thing ever.

fassy says:

@Wesley
Notifications plugin system does look like it might be better for out-of-the-box twitter/fb/rss support, but if you are mainly interested in custom notifications, you should take a look at Prowl instead, which does not have the most polished UI, but which is extremely flexible.
Not only does Prowl have an http API (which I use quite a lot myself for build scripts and similar), but it also integrates with nicely with Growl (or Growl for Windows), which means you can get notifications from any Growl-capable application on your computer.

icebike says:

This app seems to be confusing the purpose of RSS. It was never intended as and seldom worth getting push notifications for the average blog posting, or routine news item.
Google Reader is just perfect for RSS if you ask me. Nobody has anything that comes close.
For the Hot News Flash sort of notifications, there is an App called BNO (Breaking News Online). You can set the categories you are interested in and receive push notifications. You can also set "don't bug me" time periods.
This thing is WAY faster than anything I've seen. The 4 police officers gunned down in Seattle appeared there a full 3 hours before there was any new in the mainstream press, or google news. The Russian Train bombing and Nightclub fire at least two hours before AP News app with its highly praised push notifications made any mention, and way sooner than any RSS feeds in my google reader from any news sources.
And in the area of Pointless Push notifications, IM+ just had an update that lets you get push notifications when a buddy comes on line on any of the services that support status reporting. Selectable sounds too.

Danny Rodri says:

I love this app, incredibly fast. I use it everyday for Twitter and my gmail. Great App.

Websyndicate says:

@icebike. I personally use boxcar for gmail main reason is I get the pretty box with the description of the email. Better than opening the email and finding out it's spam or not so important.
Also I would use exchange for gmail but I have my work email on my iPhone so I only get one exchange accout at a til on the iPhone.

fassy says:

@icebike
I use and love Google Reader, but RSS is for more than just news; it works for any content channel the producer thinks is episodic. Podcasts are a good consumer-level example, and in fact using Prowl I threw together a quick webapp on Google App Engine to get free push notifications when my podcasts update. Would I want push notifications for blogs or something whose RSS/Atom feed is updated all the time? Of course not -- but RSS-backed push is a great combination for things that are infrequently but erratically updated.
As a specific example, ESPN releases their daily PTI show haphazardly. Sometimes it is available at 4:30 Pacific, sometimes at 6, sometimes later that night or even the next day. By monitoring their RSS and using Prowl, I get a push notification whenever the latest episode is ready to download, which is wonderful when I am out and about.
Yes, it would be nice if Apple did this for us and slapped a badge on the iTunes app, but, since they do not, RSS and Prowl (or Notifications) does the trick nicely.

icebike says:

@Websyndicate:

Better than opening the email and finding out it’s spam or not so important.

You get spam in Gmail ??!!?! How do you manage that?
At 1:05 Pacific Standard Time BNO pushed the news about Billy Joel's daughter.
Every other news app: Crickets.

Tom says:

I believe you have to say whether you got the app for free or paid for it.
Sent from my Droid.

Matt Sawyers says:

@Tom Actually according to the FTC, you only have to state if you got it for free. Since it does not state it, I'd assume most people would figure I didn't receive it for free. Just for clarification: yes I bought the app.

Price Change Alert Push Notifications says:

Pretty cool app to aggregate notifications.
App Popular gives you unlimited price change alerts for all apps available for download worldwide.
-John :)

Taco says:

I use the iPhone's built in mail program to check 6 independent emails, two work, two private-personal, two website related, including a gmail account. Gmail uses push mail, just fine on the iPhone 3.0 OS without need for any other software.

Websyndicate says:

@icebike
I don't get spam too often everyonce in a great while. Yes it does happen omg what will I do. How I manage it well I just mark it as spam and hope for the best. I wish I could use exchange for my gmail but my job is mission critical IT enviornment so I need to know what's going on.
Like I said before it's pimarily for the little pop up window.

Marguerite Stang says:

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