How Will iOS 5’s New Notifications Look and Behave?

The notification system on iOS is in dire need of an update. Luckily, rumor has it that this is coming in iOS 5 along with widget support. What we don’t know is how these new notifications are going to look and behave. Apple is known to make everything as easy-to-use and pretty as possible, and we are sure the new notifications will be no different. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities:

The LockInfo Concept

The picture to the left is a concept that’s been floating around of what new new notifications might look like. We’re going to dub this one “The LockInfo Concept” because it’s very similar to the existing jailbreak notification solution LockInfo.

This concept by itself resolves one of the biggest qualms many people have with the iOS 4 notifications, which is the stacking. If you have five notifications that come in while you’re sleeping, they will all show up on your lock screen on top of each other and you’d have to dismiss them all one by one, in reverse of the order they came in. That’s not exactly useful, so the LockInfo concept simply displays your lock screen notifications together in a box on your lock screen. You can tap the notification to be taken to the app to deal with it, and when you go back to your lock screen the others are still there. This is a simple fix that would greatly improve the stock notifications in iOS.

WebOS Style Notifications

We know that Apple has hired Rich Dellinger, the man responsible for the Palm Pre’s WebOS notifications, as its Senior User Interface Designer. This brings up the possibility that iOS 5 will have notifications similar to the system used on the Palm Pre and Pixi. With this system, instead of harassing you with a popup window every time a new notification comes in, the notifications are stored in a little pop-up area, similar to the multitasking popup already present in iOS.

You can expand and collapse this popup to see notifications, and when a new one comes in, it automatically pops itself up for a few seconds, but doesn’t interrupt what you’re already doing. It works very well and definitely could be a way to improve the iOS notifications with a few little tweaks.

Android Style Notifications

While it’s unlikely that Apple will directly copy the notifications system from its main competitor, Android does notifications right and Apple could perhaps borrow a few of the concepts when designing its new system. Android employs a pull-down menu for notifications, alerting you of their existence with icons in your status bar, which you pull down with a swipe to see the notifications in a list. You can tap the notification to be taken to the app, pretty easy stuff.

The truth is, there are many ways to do notifications correctly and Apple’s current method is not one of them. Notifications need to be available when you want them, but not obtrusive and disruptive. It’s likely that the final iOS 5 notifications will be somewhat of a mix of all three styles mentioned here, and will put Apple ahead of all the other players for the time being. Finally, notifications will no longer be iOS’ big weak point.

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  • http://twitter.com/GavinRoskamp Gavin Roskamp

    I think using the multitasking bar for notifications would be very space-efficient and easy to implement. Then just double click the home button and you can see all your notifications like the running app list.

  • http://twitter.com/GavinRoskamp Gavin Roskamp

    I think using the multitasking bar for notifications would be very space-efficient and easy to implement. Then just double click the home button and you can see all your notifications like the running app list.

  • Anonymous

    Notifications work great as they are. I hope they don’t mess things up. I don’t want the option to ignore a reminder that would be pointless.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Are you kidding?! Notifications are (currently) outdated on iOS. Great when you had a couple of apps, but beyond useless if you’re a power user / power communicator.

      • http://twitter.com/killa_k301 Karan Varindani

        I agree. Between at least 50 apps ready to push notifications to my system, including SMS, Twitter Mentions & Direct Messages and Facebook Wall Posts, Tags, etc, the iOS notifications system can get annoying in a hurry.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah the notifications are fine if you are getting a few texts from your buddies. But when you are getting hundreds of texts a day, emails upon emails, twitter notifications, facebook notifications, rss feeds, missed calls, favorite blog notifications, foursquare notifications, app store updates, calendar events, weather updates, etc the current notifier is complete garbage.

  • Anonymous

    Notifications work great as they are. I hope they don’t mess things up. Notifications that don’t force you to deal with them aren’t proper reminders.

    “Notifications need to be available when you want them, but not obtrusive and disruptive.”

    Off course they should be obtrusive. If a reminder doesn’t force you to look at it you’ll never be reminded.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Are you kidding?! Notifications are (currently) outdated on iOS. Great when you had a couple of apps, but beyond useless if you’re a power user / power communicator.

      • http://twitter.com/killa_k301 Karan Varindani

        I agree. Between at least 50 apps ready to push notifications to my system, including SMS, Twitter Mentions & Direct Messages and Facebook Wall Posts, Tags, etc, the iOS notifications system can get annoying in a hurry.

      • http://twitter.com/killa_k301 Karan Varindani

        I agree. Between at least 50 apps ready to push notifications to my system, including SMS, Twitter Mentions & Direct Messages and Facebook Wall Posts, Tags, etc, the iOS notifications system can get annoying in a hurry.

      • http://twitter.com/killa_k301 Karan Varindani

        I agree. Between at least 50 apps ready to push notifications to my system, including SMS, Twitter Mentions & Direct Messages and Facebook Wall Posts, Tags, etc, the iOS notifications system can get annoying in a hurry.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah the notifications are fine if you are getting a few texts from your buddies. But when you are getting hundreds of texts a day, emails upon emails, twitter notifications, facebook notifications, rss feeds, missed calls, favorite blog notifications, foursquare notifications, app store updates, calendar events, weather updates, etc the current notifier is complete garbage.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah the notifications are fine if you are getting a few texts from your buddies. But when you are getting hundreds of texts a day, emails upon emails, twitter notifications, facebook notifications, rss feeds, missed calls, favorite blog notifications, foursquare notifications, app store updates, calendar events, weather updates, etc the current notifier is complete garbage.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah the notifications are fine if you are getting a few texts from your buddies. But when you are getting hundreds of texts a day, emails upon emails, twitter notifications, facebook notifications, rss feeds, missed calls, favorite blog notifications, foursquare notifications, app store updates, calendar events, weather updates, etc the current notifier is complete garbage.

  • Anonymous

    I like the MobileNotifier notifications. Anyone else?

  • Anonymous

    I like the MobileNotifier notifications. Anyone else?

  • http://twitter.com/dylact cray

    my guess: a homescreen left to the spotlight-search-screen where all notifications are listed

  • http://twitter.com/dylact cray

    my guess: a homescreen left to the spotlight-search-screen where all notifications are listed

  • http://twitter.com/P3ngu1n0 P3ngu1n0

    Apple will (in the end) come up with the most intuituve design. Also, did anyone notice the time in the first photo? Easter Egg, much?

  • http://twitter.com/P3ngu1n0 P3ngu1n0

    Apple will (in the end) come up with the most intuituve design. Also, did anyone notice the time in the first photo? Easter Egg, much?

  • http://twitter.com/P3ngu1n0 P3ngu1n0

    Apple will (in the end) come up with the most intuituve design. Also, did anyone notice the time in the first photo? Easter Egg, much?

  • http://twitter.com/P3ngu1n0 P3ngu1n0

    Apple will (in the end) come up with the most intuituve design. Also, did anyone notice the time in the first photo? Easter Egg, much?