If you are not getting excited about the coming release of iOS 7, you should be, it’s fantastic! Todays blog will again have a new focus, we’ll go over (in quite a bit of detail) what’s new in the Notification Center for iOS 7. I will say this much, I have NOT bee a big fan of the Notification Center since it’s arrival with iOS 5. Yes it is an easy way to see system alerts, and App push alerts in one place, but it’s also quite a drain on your battery, that’s not great to begin with! That aside, Notification Center was Apple’s first step toward a better way to handle the alerts we get throughout the day, from the apps that “must” alert us. With Notification Center for iOS 7, Apple has taken a nice step forward. Notification Center now provides drop-down access not only to all your alerts, but your most recently missed alerts as well, and it includes an all new contextual Today screen and finally, the ability to access the notification center on the Lock Screen. Now I don’t know yet if the Notification Center will cause less drain on the battery, but there is always hope!
Here's how Apple describes the improvements to Notification Center in iOS 7:
“Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.”
Based on what Apple's showed off at the WWDC in June and at Apple.com to date, here's how the new Notification center works:
- Notification Center, like all of iOS 7, is built on a new physics engine so it behaves more like a real-worldobject. It has velocity and collision detection, so if you slam it down, it'll bounce!
- I am a big fan of the new, tabbed interface which lets you choose between Today, All, and Missed.
- The Missed view does only shows you alerts from the last 24 hours.
- The All view, as the name suggest, shows you all of your alerts.
- The All view is similar to the iOS 5 and iOS 6 version of Notification Center, with an app-by-app breakdown of your alerts. The Tap to Tweet (Twitter) and Tap to Post (Facebook) buttons are currently missing, or to have been removed, but they were not notifications to begin with and existed out-of-context in the Notification Center.
- The Today view shows you the current day and date in large type along with a written description of the current weather in your location, and a written description of your next appointment. It can also tell you if current traffic conditions will impact your next trip, another feature I’m a big fan of. Along with that you get a more elaborate, graphical look at Calendar, Reminders, and Stocks, as well as a written description, recapping what's coming up for you tomorrow.
- Notification Center, like it's new companion, Control Center, is finally accessible from the Lock screen.
Notification Center is largely the same in iOS 7, which is great for people already familiar with how to use it. The ability to pull Notification Center down even while on the Lock screen is not something I’m sure I like, but I will give myself time to adjust to it. The Lock screen already enjoys notification support all its own, but nothing as powerful or persistent as Notification Center. The doubling up is slightly awkward, more function over form, but it will likely appeal to people who prefer convenience over privacy.
The difference between All alerts and Missed enjoys similar overlap but similar appeal to power users. "Missed" may be misnamed, as based on the demos it looks more like a "Recent" or "Latest" view, but that might be straightened out once the behavior is better understood.
The Today tab, is the biggest change. It strangely is similar to the old Windows mobile Today screen of years and versions passed, but with an Apple focus, and most certainly an iOS 7 look and feel.
The written out weather and next appointment could be interpreted as a step backward when it comes to view-ability, however it most definitely is a step forwards in terms of information. iOS 5 and iOS 6 had a graphical weather widget that was easier to get the view at a glance, but didn’t provide much more than “rainy” and “sunny”, not really much help. My hope is that Apple will find a way to balance both. Re-introduce a graphical element and keep more text. The same goes with stocks, which used to scroll in one tidy widget, and now sprawls out row after row.
The integration of traffic information, is a HUGE plus and hopefully only the first indication that Apple is heading towards an implementation where they parse location, time, calendar, and every other metric they have at their disposal and present contextually appropriate, predictive alerts in Notification Center.
So there you have it! The new Notification Center features that will become available to everyone when iOS 7 ships to the general public this fall.
Do you like what you’ve seen of the newly updated Notification Center so far? Let me know your thoughts!