Apple to re-design the iOS notification system [Update]

An anonymous tip picked up by Cult of Mac says that Apple is planning on buying out a small development firm to head up integrating its notification system into the iOS family. The current system is argued to be one of the weakest points in iOS, when compared to others platforms like webOS. The firms identity is currently unknown, even to the tipster, but the firm does have an application in the App Store.

Rumors going around at the moment suggest that Boxcar from App Remix which provides push notifications for emails and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is the firm in question, though other sources are indicating that its highly unlikely. The CEO of App Remix was asked if Apple was planning to buy out the firm and replied with a Steve Jobs style response, "no comment....".

Rich Dellinger who was chief architect of Palm’s system and inventor of the webOS banner notification system was hired by Apple last year sparked rumours that plans of a re-design of the notification system was inevitable, though after much time Apple has failed to deliver. If Apple is to acquire the firm anytime soon, we could possibly see the revamp of the notification system as early as the release of iOS 5, which is due to be announced in the coming months.

[Update] A reader from Cult Of Mac has posted a quite ingenuous concept to use the empty space from the spotlight page as a new way to display notifications alongside with the current system.

I chose to put it in Spotlight because if it was located on a separate homescreen, then it would mean two swipes to get to either your notifications or Spotlight Search. As it stands in iOS 4.2, Spotlight is massive waste of space (literally speaking). The search bar takes up a tiny portion of the screen and there is plenty of unused space underneath. As you can see in the diagram, simply tapping the Spotlight Search bar will bring up the keyboard and allow you to perform a search instantly. The only difference is that notifications are displayed if you don’t tap on the search bar.

image sources: Apple, Cult Of Mac

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39 Comments

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The unused space that the Spotlight Search page always drove me nuts. It would be great to see them use it like this for a notification area and a search tool as well.

Notified Pro, basically emulates the Android Notification system, as with most iOS shortcomings/issues, Jailbreaking is the solution.

THANK GOD!!! FINALLY!!! Please revolutionize the notification system apple make something useful and something better than the notifications systems out there today!!

I just tried boxcar and had to delete it because i think it broke my Twitter to Facebook integration plus boxcar was a bit of trouble to set up with too many options.

Odom said,
Curious that in all these articles you never see a screenshot with all 5 bars next to an AT&T network ID

lol... If I ever happen to get full bars, I'll shoot you a screen shot (don't hold your breath) (;

I agree with the post, maybe they should make it more like WebOS's notification system. I still to this day find it the best system out there for notification. I have said it many times now, when WebOS 2 comes to the Pre Plus, I will finally be ditching my Blackberry!

I agree. webOS has the best notification system. Android's isn't much further behind. Just about anything would be an improvement over what iOS has today.

MattStocker said,
I agree with the post, maybe they should make it more like WebOS's notification system. I still to this day find it the best system out there for notification. I have said it many times now, when WebOS 2 comes to the Pre Plus, I will finally be ditching my Blackberry!
Web OS 2.0 won't be coming to older Palm devices because they lack the "power" to run it.

Anaron said,
Web OS 2.0 won't be coming to older Palm devices because they lack the "power" to run it.

Ahhh man after saying they would do as well for so long! Bah!

MattStocker said,

Ahhh man after saying they would do as well for so long! Bah!

In months time they will do something "special" for those that have the older hardware and want webOS 2. So wait before you make a rash decision.

That idea you've added to the article is brilliant. Best implementation idea ever, spotlight would overlap the notifications when you search which is acceptable.

Chasethebase said,
That idea you've added to the article is brilliant. Best implementation idea ever, spotlight would overlap the notifications when you search which is acceptable.

Personally, I think Notifications need to be their own thing, not integrated into some other feature.

itsthenewDC said,

Personally, I think Notifications need to be their own thing, not integrated into some other feature.

They're not integrated into spotlight, they're using spotlight's UI and sit there whenever spotlight isn't in use.

Chasethebase said,

They're not integrated into spotlight, they're using spotlight's UI and sit there whenever spotlight isn't in use.


Unless I'm just not reading this right, isn't that the same thing as just being integrated into Spotlight? Making it the Spotlight/Notification screen. Instead of having a Spotlight screen and a Notification screen.

*Sensational headline alert*

This is all only rumour and speculation, not confirmed. Misleading Neowin headlines yet again jumping to conclusions/giving false hope.

Matt Hardwick said,
*Sensational headline alert*

This is all only rumour and speculation, not confirmed. Misleading Neowin headlines yet again jumping to conclusions/giving false hope.

There has to be SOME motivation behind an articles' name to make people read it.

Matt Hardwick said,
*Sensational headline alert*

This is all only rumour and speculation, not confirmed. Misleading Neowin headlines yet again jumping to conclusions/giving false hope.

I understand why they do it. But I agree with you it is annoying!

Thank GOD! They need to update this, and the Maps application. Coming from Android, I miss having my voice navigation. Google Maps rocks!

I love my iPhone, but the notification system is awful. You're limited to a blue box on the lock screen with some text in it, and more or less nothing but numbers on app icons when using the device itself. When a notification pops up, you have to dismiss it to carry on doing what you were doing, and there's no way to get it back.

BGM said,
what exactly is the problem with it?

If you get 10 notifications at once, there's no way to see what the previous 9 were. And the notifications can be a combination of SMS messages, missed call notifications, pop-up boxes, calendar and clock alarms, push notifications, and local notifications. Sure, badge icons sometimes tell you that there was a notification, but it doesn't tell you what it was.

BGM said,
what exactly is the problem with it?
There is no way to make things private. Even if phone locking is on anyone can see the last notification. Even if its a MMS with a naughty picture your GF sent you (just an extreme example).

Boxcar added a nice 'private message' option so the notification can say the tweet or whatever. Or make it just say 'you got a tweet'.

BGM said,
what exactly is the problem with it?

To add to iKenndac's post:

Its intrusive. Imagine if every app in Windows popped a dialog in your face whenever it needs attention. Thats what the apps do in iOS. I have most applications' notifications turned off because of this.

At the same time, I want it to be intrusive if its an SMS or something. Just more controllability would be nice.

I really like the idea of using the spotlight space for notifications.

necrosis said,
There is no way to make things private. Even if phone locking is on anyone can see the last notification. Even if its a MMS with a naughty picture your GF sent you (just an extreme example).

Boxcar added a nice 'private message' option so the notification can say the tweet or whatever. Or make it just say 'you got a tweet'.


You can turn Message Preview off in the Messages settings.

BGM said,
what exactly is the problem with it?

LOL! Please dont get me started about how worse it is!!! Jailbreaking made it a little better with the icons to appear on the top bar when I have a email or a facebook notification. But the popups are just pretty the worst!!

The notification system on iPhones was one of the reasons why I never got one and went with Android. I love my Droid's notification system.
But on point, sounds like a welcome upgrade for iPhone users to get a updated notification system. This is why competition is great.

RedFlow said,
The notification system on iPhones was one of the reasons why I never got one and went with Android. I love my Droid's notification system.
But on point, sounds like a welcome upgrade for iPhone users to get a updated notification system. This is why competition is great.

Same here, I find the integrated notification system built into Android to be very elegant and well designed. About time Apple improved theirs.