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Posts Tagged ‘Notification Center’

Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 2

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Apple on Friday released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 2 to OS X developers. According to TheNextWeb, the Cupertino-based company also posted an extensive list of known issues and bugs within the latest operating system. This second OS X 10.8 release comes exactly one month after Apple announced Mountain Lion, introducing developers to iMessage on Mac computers, a new Notification Center, Game Center integration, AirPlay mirroring, enhanced iCloud support and a number of redesigned apps.

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iPhone owners living in the past finally get a peek at the present

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

There will always come a point when hardware limitations prevent previous-generation iPhone and iPod touch models from receiving the latest version of iOS. The issue is more prominently discussed in the Android community due to the frequency of updates and the time-consuming process vendors face when making customized software elements available on a new Android build. But owners of older versions of Apple’s mobile devices also know the pain of seeing features added to iOS that they will never get to enjoy until they purchase a more modern device — until now.

A group of independent iOS developers have taken it upon themselves to bring a number of the great features iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS owners enjoy to the first and second-generation iPhone and iPod touch. Using a custom iOS build called Whited00r, popular iOS 5 features including enhanced mutitasking support, reminders, home screen folders, video recording and even Newsstand are made available on older iPhone and iPod touch devices.

Released earlier this week, Whited00r 5.1 is a custom version of Apple’s iOS 3.1.3 software. While the software affords a number of great iOS 5 features, some of the most sought-after elements newer iOS builds including Notification Center and App Store access are not available in Whited00r. Other features such as iCloud have been recreated to an extent — iCloud support in this custom iOS build uses Dropbox as a back end.

Owners of Apple’s iPhone, iPhone 3G or first and second-generation iPod touch obviously don’t have to worry about voiding any warranties by installing Whited00r since their warranties have long since expired, but things can always go awry when working with unauthorized software. Many users report success with Whited00r, however, and the team behind it has a forum in place to help users who run into trouble.

Whited00r 5.1 is available for free and can be installed using Apple’s iTunes software on a Mac or a Windows PC. The team behind Whited00r recommends that users set up their devices as new rather than restoring from a backup after installing the customer software.

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iOS 5 review

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Now well into its fifth year of life, iOS has always been known for its exceptional polish — and also, its glaring feature holes. But, just like clockwork, each year since its 2007 debut, those shortcomings have been addressed one by one in a sweeping annual update. In 2008, the platform was opened up to developers giving us the App Store, 2009 saw the introduction of copy and paste — which we’d argue is still the best implementation to date — and last year “multitasking” finally made a presence. So what has Apple chosen to rectify in 2011? Well, for starters, notifications gets a complete overhaul with Notification Center, tethered syncing dies at the hands of iCloud and messaging gets a do-over with the birth of iMessage.

If you recall, we first got acquainted with iOS 5 in May after downloading the developer preview, but how does the final release stack up? And does it have the chops to compete with the latest from Mountain View and Redmond? After drudging through seven betas, we’re ready to conquer all that the final release has to offer, so join us, if you would, past the break.

Continue reading iOS 5 review

iOS 5 review originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 12 Oct 2011 14:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iOS 5 turns Japanese iPhones into earthquake alarms

Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Following the devastation wrought by the recent Japanese earthquake, Apple has hooked the country’s early warning system into iOS 5. The tectonically-volatile nation has the most sophisticated alarm in the world, delivering life-saving warnings seconds or minutes before disaster strikes. iOS users already had access to this functionality via apps like Yurekuru, but iOS 5 will bring it directly into the operating system. The service can be activated in the Notification Center settings pane, accompanied by a warning that the constant connection will deplete your battery faster — a fair exchange if it saves your life.

iOS 5 turns Japanese iPhones into earthquake alarms originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 22 Aug 2011 09:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple’s iOS 5 notifications are great, but webOS is still better

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

When Apple finally added cut, copy and paste support to iOS, it made the long and painful wait its customers endured completely worthwhile. Apple’s implementation was so much better than competing platforms, it really wasn’t even in the same league. The UI was fantastic and the operation was both intuitive and precise. This is what we have come to expect from Apple when it corrects its past mistakes and omissions. And yet with the introduction of a completely revamped notification system in iOS 5, the Cupertino-based technology giant took a different approach: it did not lead, it followed. I’ll elaborate…

Apple’s new notification system works thusly: when a new event triggers a notification, one of three things happens. On the lock screen, a notification will appear with an icon representing the associated application positioned to the far left of the notification. The user can either ignore the notification, or slide the icon all the way to the right side of the screen to open the appropriate app. Or, if the device is in use, a banner will display across the top of the display containing the notification. The user can either ignore it or tap it to open the appropriate app. Finally, the old notification UI may be used, causing a pop-up to display at the center of the screen until it is dismissed.

Apple also introduced the iOS Notification Center, a pull-down aggregate of all notifications that is clearly “inspired” by Android. It is an obvious refinement of Google’s notification pane though, and it also allows users to customize the number of notifications each app will display in the Notification Center. It even supports widgets and third-party developers can build their own.

The iOS 5 notification system is, without question, leaps and bounds better than the old iOS notification system. Let’s face it, though — as horrible as iOS notifications have been until now, anything would be better. The system still has plenty of room for improvement however, and unlike Apple’s cut, copy and paste implementation, iOS 5 notifications are not class-leading. Instead, the two-year-old notification UI found in webOS is still iOS’ superior.

WebOS removes the additional layer of complication introduced by the Notification Center, and Android’s notification pane before it. Notifications are represented by a single row of small icons at the bottom of the display. To view a notification after it has been displayed and minimized, the user simply taps the icon. The message then reappears and the user can either open the relevant app by tapping the notification, or dismiss it by swiping the message off the screen to the left or right. The system is incredibly simple, extremely logical and, to quote one Steven P. Jobs, “it just works.”

Another uncharacteristic oversight is Apple’s placement of the notification banner at the top of the display. While the mechanism is infinitely better than then old disruptive notifications, it’s nowhere near as smart as webOS. When a notification pops up at the bottom of a webOS phone, it acts just like an iOS 5 notification and covers part of the UI. Then, however, it is reduced to an icon that pushes the entire UI up and out of the way. This means even though the notification is occupying screen real estate, the user can continue to perform each and every function he or she could if the notification was not on the screen. It also means the notification is still easily accessible from any screen, whenever the user chooses to interact with it; there is no need for a separate drop-down pane to collect notifications.

In iOS 5, the notification banner hangs over the top of the display, obscuring the status bar and the area beneath it. Unfortunately, the area beneath the status bar is where the iOS UI places buttons that control key functions. So, for example, notifications cover most of the send button in the email app or most of the back button in messaging apps or Twitter apps. If a user tries to sneak a tap on those buttons, it is highly likely he or she will instead tap the notification by accident and leave the current app. This, some might argue, is even worse and more disruptive than a pop-up that needs to be dismissed, as seen with the old iOS notifications.

If the user does not immediately interact with the notification, it disappears into the Notification Center. For active smartphone users, this seemingly great notification hub can often become a cluttered mess until various notifications are acted on or dismissed. Apple does give users the ability to customize the number of notifications each app can display in the Notification Center, which is much appreciated, but it is still nowhere near as elegant as a single row of icons that is always visible and easy to interact with. This is what webOS affords.

There are certain areas where Apple’s system does make advancements in the space, such as the ability to customize notification behavior for individual applications. I also very much like that I can open a new message or relevant app without unlocking the device by interacting with a notification on the lock screen. Uncharacteristically, however, the behavior Apple chose for this interaction is contradictory. Elsewhere in the UI, swiping from side to side on a message gives the user the option to delete that message. On the lock screen, that same swipe gesture opens the relevant app, where logic might dictate that a swipe should dismiss notifications that are not of interest.

I really expected more from Apple. And so much more is possible.

Why can’t I dismiss a notification that appears at the top of the screen? Why can’t I dismiss individual notifications on the lock screen? Why can’t multiple notifications appear at once at the top of the screen with a better UI? Why can’t I mark a new email as read simply by interacting with a notification? Why can’t developers have access to APIs that give their users the capability to perform unique interactions with notifications that perform custom functions? All this and more might be coming down the road, but Apple has had far too long and has innovated in far too many other areas for the company to simply catch up in this crucial area of the UX.

I expected innovation.

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Apple iOS 5: Day one

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

I’ve been using iOS 5 on my primary iPhone 4 since it was made available to developers yesterday around 5:00 p.m. This is the most solid iOS beta Apple has ever released, so far. What’s even more impressive is that Apple seems to have fixed every single gripe I’ve had with the platform. Little things that drove me insane that were available on other mobile operating systems — like setting a default calendar notification time so you can quickly go into the calendar app, jot down the meeting, location, and time, and bounce out — have now been added to iOS. Hit the break for my thoughts after spending some time with iOS 5.

Notifications, which were probably the biggest issue in people had with iOS, work amazingly well now. Yes, they took a page out of the Android book with the drop down notification “drawer”, though in typical Apple fashion, it looks and works better. I love that there’s a stock ticker and weather in there, and I love that I can customize what I want to appear in Notification Center. I can choose the type of alert, how many messages to show, in what order, sorted how I want, and whether to show it on the lock screen or not for privacy. That’s invaluable to an iOS user. The one thing I’d like to see, however, is the ability to push the notification off the screen like webOS. For instance, you’re in an app, you see a message at the top, and want to get rid of it. Instead of waiting for it to go away after a few seconds, ideally, I’d love to be able to swipe it off to the side and continue my task. Notifications from all apps work, by the way — they don’t have to be updated because Apple controls those APIs.

iMessage. While I haven’t spent much time in it, I have talked with a few friends, and it’s pretty ingenious how Apple just extended their SMS / MMS app into a full-fledged messaging service. When you start a new message and type in your buddy’s contact information, Apple will quickly check if they’re on iOS 5 and automatically switch from green (SMS) to blue (iMessage), and you’re off and running. Once you talk to someone on iMessage, future conversations started will show a blue chat icon next to their name as they will be iMessages — brilliant.

Other favorites so far are the ability to finally customize alert tones for email, calendar reminders, and more; email flagging; widgets in the Notification Center; wireless iCloud backups and of course, the ability to use the phone while it’s syncing. I’ll report back tomorrow with more.

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Apple iOS 5 iPhone / iPad 2 hands-on!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

We just loaded up Apple’s brand new iOS 5 on our iPhone and iPad 2, and man… we’ve been waiting a while for this stuff. For starters, notifications with Notification Center are so, so necessary, and while we haven’t lived with it for a while, we can already see how much of a difference this will make in daily usage. Also, the Twitter integration? Ridiculously slick and easy. Now, the really interesting part… iMessage. We haven’t found anyone to use this with, so we’ll report back, but it’s tied to your Apple ID which is how your iPad and iPod touch can make use it of, since they obviously don’t have cell phone numbers. Well, you know, the iPod touch doesn’t. We’ll be updating this post live as we keep toying with iOS 5 on the iPhone and iPad 2, and we’ll keep updating the screenshots in the gallery below as well!

  • Preference to open pages in Safari in a new page or in background (amazing!).
  • More alert choices for emails, calendar, and the ability to buy more.
  • Ability to create keyboard shortcuts (autotext) to replace custom phrases. The default entry is “omw” which is replaced with, “On my way!”
  • Software update option in settings to check for the latest OS.
  • Sync now button to wireless sync to iTunes
  • Ability to customize how notifications in Notification Center look — you can customize how many recent ones to show, 1, 5 or 10, if it’s showed in the lock screen, if it’s in Notification Center, and also the alert style, banner or alert style.
  • Twitter installs directly from the settings page if it’s not installed directly, you aren’t even taken to the App Store.
  • FaceTime button in iMessage messages at the top now
  • Tweeting photos is, so so slick. It displays on Twitter as powered by Photobucket, and it’s from iOS.
  • There’s a new option to print out from the Maps app… hilarious.
  • You can make new albums right from the device itself in Photos.
  • You can move and add photos to albums.
  • Doesn’t look iMessage is fully baked in here yet.
  • You can customize the default alert times. This is so needed — so now when you enter a calendar entry, you don’t have to set the default alert time you like — I’m a 15 minute calendar alert type of guy.
  • Email flagging doesn’t look to be enabled in this beta, though S/MIME support is. Never mind, it is. You have to go into the message and tap “mark”.
  • It seems that Reminders sync with Exchange (Tasks basically), but you can’t set location-based reminders if you’re on Exchange, just with iCloud. You can selectively choose where to sync the reminder though, it’s just not streamlined if you use Exchange.
  • You can set the caller ID for FaceTime calls, so if you call someone, you can choose it to display your cellular number or email address.

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