iOS 5 notifications - should there be an Apple app for that?

iOS notifications - should there be an Apple app for that?

Better notifications is probably at or near the top of the feature request list for iOS 5, and Andreas has come up with a concept for how he's like to see it done -- an Apple iOS notifications app!

He's set up a website and posted a video and... it looks interesting. Like Rene said on last week's iPad Live, Apple isn't simply going to add notifications any more than they simply added multitasking to iOS 4. They're going to look at the actual functionality users want and then figure out a way to provide it, in a traditional way or a new way. (And we'll either love it or hate it, or often a little bit of both.)

Andreas' idea isn't like Boxcar on the App Store or LockInfo on Jailbreak, it's a bit of a hybrid approach. Check out the video below and let us know if this is the way you'd like to see Apple handle notifications in iOS 5 (and why or why not!)

[iOS Notifications via The Next Web, thanks @KiTTGT]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

More Posts



← Previously

Top 5 task management apps for iPhone

Next up →

Apple airs new iPad 2 commercial - If you Asked

Reader comments

iOS 5 notifications - should there be an Apple app for that?


1st day of WWDC. Not much thought to this one. Apple basically had a press release about it. ;) There's a chance they may not, but odds are pretty high developers will have iOS 5 beta in their hands at WWDC.

Well, those are just the rumors. You have to practice some Kremlinology with Apple PR leaks. The only thing super confirmed is that no new hardware will be announce during WWDC. They didn't say anything about the week after that, or the month after that, or 2 months after that, and so on.
Basically, we don't know when. They only thing we only know is that they won't announce iPads, iPods, iPhones, Mac or other hardware at WWDC. I wouldn't be even that sure of this as plans change. Who knows, maybe they'll announce Mac Pro updates. ;)

When was "no new hardware" confirmed? Nothing is confirmed until the end of the keynote.
Can you tell I'm trying to be hopeful?

Basically, I believe Apple PR told Jim Dalrymple from Loop Insight that no new hardware will be announced during WWDC. Jim then told the world at The Loop. This was Apple managing expectations.
Engadget, Daringfireball, MG Siegler, WSJ said the same through their sources, though I think their rumors aren't as direct as Dalrymple's.
Everything else, like iPhone 5 being announced sometime between WWDC to January 2012, are basically baseless rumors. All of it just speculation with Apple sourcing.

I bet Apple wants to keep everyone on task at WWDC... keep developers talking about their software.
If a new iPhone gets announced the first day of WWDC... everyone will want to talk about that instead.
It would be lovely if Apple made an iPhone announcement 2 weeks later though :)

Nice concept.
But like webkit and processor design and the like, there should be a basic rule about adding new features. If it doesn't maintain the same speed or doesn't make it faster or maintain/improve battery life, it shouldn't be added.
Widgets and notifications are background tasks that take up precious cycles and can make the UI jerky. If it makes using foreground apps jerky, hold off.

good concept... However:
Maybe I missed this, but how would you handle notifications when you are doing something actively like playing a game or browsing? Yes, I like the idea of putting them all in one place... that's great. But the biggest flaw iOS has is that it is very intrusive.
I want to be able to browse the web and somehow manage to see my notification (what type it is) at the same time. Like on Android, I can see if I have gotten an email or a text at the top bar without interruption. In webOS, I can even read part of the email or text message and see if I should really give it my attention, yet I can continue to browse without interruption.

Good points. But again its just a conpect. But better then the annoying purple pop ups rene seems to love. YUCK.

Yeah I don't understand who thought of that design.... such a poor design for a competent OS. I had an iPhone 4 on Verizon until last week. Sold it and got myself a Palm Pre 2 (im a webOS fanatic lol). I gave iOS a good try. One of the reasons I really hated it was because of the notifications. I just don't understand why Apple seems to be putting that on the back burner...
It's probably because they are trying to find a way to make it like nobody else has. And I can respect that. But its been 4 generations of software (and almost 5 years) since its release... they should have something better by now.

Very true. It was "cool" at first but after a while seeing nothing but purple pop ups can get annoying. Not very "apple like" eirther/

Rene, quit bashing the idea of new notifications. You know that if apple adds a new system you would be saying its the best thing since sliced bread.
Now I watched the whole video. It is a nice concpect. A whole not better then that dumb locker thing as people shouldn't have to lock their phones just to see what new e-mails they gotten. They want to see a preview of what it is right there. They don;t want to take the extra steps of locking the phone and such.
I disagree on this being an "app" it needs to be bulit right in. Multitasking bar or android style in the status bar.
Eirther way bashing the idea won;t get you anywhere. When Apple updates it we all will be saying this is the best thing ever and how magical it is. I know I will as I'm thinking of going back to iphone.

are you a complete douche in real life too? you basically said the same thing in another blog a couple of days ago. i'm just glad your posting in the forums has almost came to a complete halt. just for the record you never had an iPhone to begin with

It's actually pretty funny. I've never seen someone so in love with the iphone turn like this because the carrier wouldn't let him sign up. No education, crap job, crap life, poor credit but an "expert" on mobile OS' So much hate in this one..

I honestly hate the idea of an "notification" app, just another app to put on my homescreen or take up a spot. I would like to see Apple adopt the jailbreak app "MobileNotifier."

Expect does apple really want an whole another app for just notifications or do they want it built in? I think the later kid.

Considering that they built a whole app for just uniting all gaming (Game Center), I don't think this is too out there.
They also built a stand-alone contacts app, when you can access contacts in the phone app. And they also split the iPod app into a Music app and a Video app for non-iPhones. So what's so crazy about this idea?

Actually its pretty sweet. But this is what we should have been using from the time multi-tasking was given to us. I like the double tap slide because honestly I barely use the slide option or area of the phone. It puts it to more use. Give dude a job Apple.

If playing a game or watching a video etc., perhaps a small icon could appear somewhere on the screen that doesn't intrude on what you're doing. Say you tap that icon and then your game is paused. You see what the latest notification is and then you can choose whether or not you want to answer it.

Apple, here's a secret from me to you... it's called a LED notification light on the phone... makes a huge difference in providing notifications that don't obstruct what you are doing on-screen.

SERIOUSLY. I don't understand why I actually have to get up and turn on an iPhone to see if I have anything missed. Another area of really bad design.

I don't here you saying that about all the Android phones or webOS phones that don't have an LED light either. As a matter of fact, RIM is the only company that designs their phones with LED indicator lights... If you're too lazy to press a button to see if you've missed anything, then you're not worth changing the design of the phone.

Apple needs to buy a palm pre and steal as much of their notification system as they can get away with. Its light years ahead of what apple has now. Even my old Treo had apps that would show you at a glance missed calls, voicemails, emails, appointments, todos, etc.
While we're at it, apple really needs to revamp that photos app. I can't believe with the built in apps, I still can't sort into folders without a computer connection, cant tag, name, comment a photo, can't delete photos from folders other than cameral roll without a connection, etc.
This is the stuff that drives people to jailbreak.

The did one better than buy a pre. They hired the guy who designed the notification system of webOS.

That's really nice; simple and straight to the point, without being too intrusive. That's all it really needs; nothing too drastic or overkill, just a little numbered icon or two in the top bar; something like that.

This way looks cool, and I'd love something like this or something like the Android notification system. It's one of the only things I like about my EVO compared to my iPhone.

Speechless. This is PERFECT. It's not Android, nor is it WebOS. It's how it should be done on an iPhone. Especially how all the applications intuitively fused themselves together. I can only hope they create something remotely as good!
If not, someone please make this video a reality!!!

Has no one been paying attention? Why wait? Jailbreak your phone and install MobileNotifier NOW. It intercepts nasty pop-up alerts and makes them truly useful. And rather than force you to a panel to see them, they do politely appear in your current view... To be dismissed with a simple flick or merely time out and fade away, so you needn't interrupt what you're doing and review the list at your leisure.
The future is now. Why bother imagining what iOS 5 won't do to fix this glaring issue?

There are a few points about the video above. I can't see Apple removing the iPod & orientation controls when you slide left from the multi-tasking tray, but I do like the full screen of notifications. Personally I think Apple would be better off using the huge mass of black space under the Spotlight search, and only bring up the keyboard for Spotlight if the user taps on the text entry box. As for the slide option on the lockscreen, I'm not a fan of that. The youtube video someone linked to above has a nice neat little bar that comes down from the top to signify a new alert which is nice, although I can't see the slide down option being implemented as is very "Android" and a bit ugly.

Wow! That's it. I love it. Take the lock screen image, make that the default under the spotlight search, and the keyboard comes up when the Spotlight bar is tapped. Brilliant!

No it should not be a damn app it should be integrated. WTF
Like voice to text should be integrated into the keyboard like the better android devices.

I think that is a fantastic idea! I would LOVE to have that in iOS 5. However, I do agree that I wouldn't want the last notification to get in the way of iPod controls, so I would have the multitasking bar be this (in order from right to left): All your multitasking applications, iPod controls, last notification, volume/airplay (on iPod Touch/iPhone). I think that is a great implementation of better notifications.

That's nice but like others said how are they handled when your in an app? I hope apple has something nice in store that takes away the envy I get when I see my friends with an android phone get a notification.

I love how the time says its 4:20 and any improvements in the Notification area would be welcomed and the ability to customize the notification sound for different alerts.

I greatly prefer my Android phone for notifications.
Absolutely nothing beats my awesome notification bar with a pull down menu!!!

Isn't this concept similar to Android where you "lower the blinds" and see all the notifications and tap one you want and it takes you directly to that app? I know because I also own Dell Streak 5 that I bought solely to use as a pocketable "colored Kindle reader" ($199 from Dell, no contract, unlock--TETHERING is free). All notifications from SMS, weather, FB, twitter, app-download status, email, phone calls, voice mail, and every bit of notification is available in one drop-down menu.
Apple might ran into trouble with Google, implementing this concept.

If multitasking is going to go the way of Expose, then obviously there is more room for a double tap and scroll-to-the-left function. However this would need to be combined with something else, perhaps a double tap on the top bar causing notification to show up. An app won't solve all the problems, for example, if I'm playing Tiny Wings on my iPhone and I have a call when I go back it currently says 'Ready?' via a pop-up. An app would remove this, and a component of the app.
Apple have said they don't want to follow the 'windowshade' model of Android, and I wouldn't like that either. A lot of people seem to think Android has the answers, but actually it's very poor in the way it handles multitasking (and in terms of battery life and efficency, worse than iOS). It isn't even that well presented (I used a Nexus S for a couple of months, unfortunately). As has been said, Apple will want to differentiate from the rest.

If you have to create a notifications app you are doing it wrong.
Anything is better than Apple's archaic notifications, but the best implementation someone has come up with is available in Cydia, and it's called "Notified Pro". All the blogs seem to ignore it, Apple should just buy it and be done with it..
And I'm really gonna cringe if iOS 5 comes out and they still haven't fixed the horrid baby blue pop ups...

Agreed. Apple has had more than enough time to work this out. It is the one major flaw in an otherwise really nice system. Forcing you to close / view a notification BEFORE you can end a phone call is just stupid. And having them constanly go off in your ear while on the phone is a close second. I have had so many people ask me "What was that noise" while on the phone. I have heard people suggest that I put the ringer switch to vibrate when I get a call, and yes, I guess that would take care of that, but I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO!!. You should be able to answer a TXT from the screen you are in also. I am so tired of having to click that home button all day to switch back and forth. Apple wants to talk user experience, then give us the one WE want. Bottom line, either they need to fix this, or get out the way and allow the devs to do it. WITHOUT having to JB my phone. And I agree about the post about the photo app. I could do all that 4 years ago on my BB bold.

No App! Just in a future upgrade iOS 5 preferably. I want to be able to run iOS 6 with my iPhone 4. For right now though, Just find a way to stop annoying us when were playing Tiny Wings or any game for that matter. If your phone can vibrate while talking on the phone. Might as well do the same thing while playing a game. Don't interrupt us while we're in our Zone!

Wow did you think of this all on your own? or did you just see a webOS phone for the first time and copy that? WebOS has nailed it 2 years ago, just give up and copy them, everybody else is and taking credit for it.... sigh...

Looks pretty nice overall. I don't think the "slide to view" concept is right though.
First of all, the user does not slide the item that says "slide to view" like they do with "slide to unlock", so you are introducing a new and unclear UI mechanism.
Second, sliding the app icon to view the notification is also a new concept. It is probably better to have a "slide to view" that works more like "slide to unlock", but takes you right into the notifications app or else just unlocks the notifications area and lets you then tap on a notification to open it.