Notifications in iOS 5:

iOS has been in need of a notifications refresh for some time. Thankfully, Apple addressed this, and we managed to get our hands on the pre-release beta to show you through the ins and outs of the iPhone’s next software update.

The first thing to check out with the new notifications setup is the settings. Access your settings menu, tap ‘notifications’ then select the app you want to customize. You can choose whether you want the new banner style notifications, the old blue alerts, or none at all.

You can also choose which apps you want to have ‘badges’ on. (These are the little red circles with the number of notifications displayed within.) You also get the choice as to whether or not you want to have the notification shown in your lock screen.

On the lock screen, your chosen apps will be displayed in chronological order. The newest alerts will be at the top of the list. By sliding across on any of the notifications, you access that specific update, whether it be a calendar reminder, text message or email.

The banner alert displays when you are using your phone. It shows up at the top of your handset for a few seconds before disappearing again. To access your notifications from here, you simply drag down from the top, and an Android-style drawer appears – albeit a much better looking one. (At least, in my opinion.)

To access the message/alert, just tap on the required notification, and you’re there. The drawer drop-down is very responsive to momentum, and so far, I’ve not experienced any bugs. (I have in other areas though – but that’s for another part of the in-depth preview.) The drop-down menu can also be arranged by time, or arranged manually by app type.

iOS 5 preview, part 1 Notification Center and iMessage

Overall I’m pretty impressed with the changes. The fact that Apple is offering its customers the choice is pleasing. Some are quite happy with the blue pop-up box, and don’t want the change.

Others, like many of us, have been craving a more intuitive system, and a more functional lock screen. iOS 5 addresses both types of people, seeking to make everyone happy. Personally, I think the designers have done a great job. It’s quick, easy, and it looks good.


iMessage was launched in direct competition with Blackberry’s BBM. Only worry here, for RIM at least, is that with iOS devices making up 44% of the US’s mobile market there’s a much bigger scope for success. It could quite easily surpass the amount of users tapping away on BBM.

The main thing about iMessage is that it isn’t a separate app (unlike BBM). Instead, when you select a contact to send a text message to it scans the contact’s details to see if that person is a registered user of iOS 5.

The wording in the text field changes from ‘Text Message’ to ‘iMessage’ automatically and the color-scheme alters from white and green speech bubbles to white and blue.

During the message you get real-time delivery and read status reports next to your message. Also, an empty speech bubble appears when your contact is typing a message. It’s actually really efficient, easy to use, and completely free. And just like the standard messaging system you can send video and images as well as text.

Notification Center and iMessage

The great thing about iMessage is that it updates on all your iDevice simultaneously – a great feature if you need to swap devices for any reason. As soon as a message is sent on your iPhone, it’ll appear on your iPod or iPad.

Again, this is a great new feature. Apple kept it simple for the end user by not forcing you in to using a new app, instead your phone automatically detects if the contact is on iMessage.

So guys, what do you think? Are you digging the new notifications? Will you just keep them as they always have been, or customize? Will iMessage kill off BlackBerry? Let me know in the comments section

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