Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Reminders app adds geofence location alerts

Posted:
in Mac OS X edited April 2014


The new Reminders app in OS X Mountain Lion, borrowed from iOS 5, will also bring "geofence," location-based reminders to the desktop using opt-in location tracking.



Reminders is a new Mac app based upon iOS 5's Reminders app. Previously, Apple incorporated OS X reminders as a feature within iCal, because they are stored as CalDAV tasks. Like iOS 5, Mountain Lion splits Reminders out into its own app and renames iCal to simply Calendar.



The most basic layout of the new desktop Reminders app actually appears similar to a iPhone screen: a simple window presenting a list of tasks. You can swipe between lists of reminder tasks and a page of completed tasks that populates as you check off items as done. The number of reminder lists is indicated by the iTunes-like dot indicators at the bottom of the window.









Click on the triangle icon button at the bottom, and a more complete user interface appears, with an optional monthly calendar and a listing of reminder lists you have created. You can search for items using the search field.









Remind by time & date



When you create a new reminder, an information button appears that lets you configure how the task will be tracked. You can simply create a list of tasks, or you can create alerts that remind you to complete them. If you configure a reminder at a specific time, an alert will be shown in Notification Center.



You can configure how events are presented in the Notifications panel of System Preferences, specifying a brief banner that disappears on its own, or an Alert that is shown until you dismiss it (which is not the default, but probably makes more sense if you actually want to be reminded of an event in a way you won't miss).









Once you configure Alert notifications, Reminders draws a window with Close and Snooze buttons, and updates the time that has elapsed since the reminder was triggered.













Remind by location



New in the DR2 build of OS X Mountain Lion is support for geofencing, which can trigger a reminder event when you enter or leave a specific location. This requires a WiFi network connection to work, as the system obviously has to know where you are at for this to work.



Before Reminders turns on location tracking on your Mac, it requests you to approve this under the Privacy pane of System Preferences. You must supply administrator credentials to unlock the ability to turn enable Location Services, and to allow specific apps to tap into the to feature.













Once approved, you can add "remind me: at a location" to your new entry. As you type an address or contact name, the system offers suggestions of locations in your contacts or completion suggestions for the address you are typing. You can select to be reminded while departing or arriving at the listed location.









Setting a reminder also triggers an approval request to allow the background CalendarAgent task access to your current location.









You can also combine location and time alerts, so you will be given a reminder either when you cross the geofence or at a specific time.









Reminders on the OS X desktop will also tap into iCloud, ostensibly allowing you to set reminders across devices. Because the service is based on CalDAV, it should also work with any third party service that supports Calendar & Reminder features, configured in System Preferences's "Mail Contacts & Calendar" pane.











[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I love the geo fence feature (been wanting this for years) but I wish that OS X and iOS would allow you to set the fence size. For instance, some things I might want to be reminded in a certain neighborhood or even a city, not just a preset fence size for a specific location.
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I love the geo fence feature (been wanting this for years) but I wish that OS X and iOS would allow you to set the fence size. For instance, some things I might want to be reminded in a certain neighborhood or even a city, not just a preset fence size for a specific location.



    That's a good idea -- and it should be trivial to implement... Even a "you're getting warm" warning!
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    It should be called To Do's or Tasks. "Reminders" are something you stick on a calendar, like for a meeting. This is more about planning.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,108member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    It should be called To Do's or Tasks. "Reminders" are something you stick on a calendar, like for a meeting. This is more about planning.



    For me the distinction between calendar and reminders / toDos are pretty blurred. I am not really comfortable with having to check two apps multiple times per day.



    I use TeuxDeux on the Mac as I spend an awful lot of my time in Safari. I use Reminder on IOS and Calendar on both.



    I have Fantastical installed but I hope there will be a Reminders version developed. It would be more useful for me.
  • bolskevitebolskevite Posts: 22member
    I use Wunderlist right now because it syncs between my iPhone and laptop. This essentially does the same thing so it might take over. Looks good to me, and I like separating reminders from the calendar. Lots of reminders have no date associated and are just random to do lists.
  • johnnyb0731johnnyb0731 Posts: 326member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I love the geo fence feature (been wanting this for years) but I wish that OS X and iOS would allow you to set the fence size. For instance, some things I might want to be reminded in a certain neighborhood or even a city, not just a preset fence size for a specific location.



    I'd personally would want the ability to hand enter an address rather than have only addresses in contacts be usable. It's also not completely intuitive with how it works with a date and time
  • capoeira4ucapoeira4u Posts: 160member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    For me the distinction between calendar and reminders / toDos are pretty blurred. I am not really comfortable with having to check two apps multiple times per day.



    I agree with you half way on this one. I think it's nice that Apple added the new Reminders app so that it can integrate with iOS. But I actually preferred it better in Lion how Reminders is integrated into Calendar. Apple should have done the same as Contacts in Mail. You can check your contacts within Mail, but if you want to open the Contacts app, just click open Contacts button.



    By the way, can anyone tell me if by using geotagging for reminder, does it waste your battery life? I notice when I turn this feature on, the location tracker arrow appears on the top menu bar of the iPhone. So does this mean your phone is always connected?
  • lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post




    By the way, can anyone tell me if by using geotagging for reminder, does it waste your battery life? I notice when I turn this feature on, the location tracker arrow appears on the top menu bar of the iPhone. So does this mean your phone is always connected?



    There was a write up about it here a while ago and it addressed that question - no discernible effect on battery life. I have also noticed no changes personally as well - if you are asking for anecdotal evidence, subjective as it may be.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post


    There was a write up about it here a while ago and it addressed that question - no discernible effect on battery life. I have also noticed no changes personally as well - if you are asking for anecdotal evidence, subjective as it may be.



    I haven't noticed any sever battery drain when using it but the iPhone 4/4S get wonder battery life as is. I do wonder how it works.



    One method, which I think is most likely, is to pole your GPS location in a certain interval and if you are within the geofence it sends the reminder. But can it miss your location if you travel through an area too quickly?



    Another method, which is more complex, but could be better, is to use cell tower ID and location data so that when your device connects to a new cell tower that cell tower ID and location is checked against your Reminders DB.
  • nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I love the geofences on my iPhone. Never thought about having them on my laptop, but now I can think of all kinds of uses! Very nice.
  • apaulo 11apaulo 11 Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The number of reminder lists is indicated by the iTunes-like dot indicators at the bottom of the window.



    I'm sorry, but where are iTunes-like dot indicators shown on iTunes?? \ I've never seen those.
  • crunchcrunch Posts: 180member
    I love how this is implemented and use it all the time. Just like when you take pictures and wait for a moment to see them appear on the iPad's Photos app (see also iCloud commercial), this works the same way. You type the note on the iPhone, it appears on the Mac and vice versa, including status like when one item is considered "Completed" by the user, a few seconds later, iCloud has already synced it.



    The same is true for the Notes app in OS X 10.8, which is its own app. I miss Stickies a little, but you can have both if you install 10.8 over 10.7. Stickies and its entire content survives the OS upgrade. At least for now it does. :-)
  • addicted44addicted44 Posts: 811member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    I love the geofences on my iPhone. Never thought about having them on my laptop, but now I can think of all kinds of uses! Very nice.



    What I want to know is whether you can set the GeoFencing alerts to open an App, like you can right now for events in iCal.



    The reason is that I can then use the geofencing to automatically run a script which changes my network profile depending on whether I am at my office, or at home.



    That would be Awesome!
  • irelandireland Posts: 15,538member
    Notification Center is a feature I'm really looking forward to. I always found Growl ugly and cumbersome.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,312member
    This is just begging for Siri on a Mac!



    By the way, I saw a demo yesterday of a use for Siri that was astounding in its simplicity and power ... It is not the specific use that impressed me so much as the lateral thinking involved. The possibilities are endless. Apple should show this to any judge asked to hear the class action law suits against Siri for being useless.



    Link to video ... http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=bqgaxGKMdh8
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    This is just begging for Siri on a Mac!



    By the way, I saw a demo yesterday of a use for Siri that was astounding in its simplicity and power ... It is not the specific use that impressed me so much as the lateral thinking involved. The possibilities are endless. Apple should show this to any judge asked to hear the class action law suits against Siri for being useless.



    Link to video ... http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=bqgaxGKMdh8



    Is that Siri or was that sending an email using the voice dictation feature in the iPhone 4S to a company's server that parsed the info and replied via preset rules?



    This is only the beginning for Siri. I think it's many years away before it's a great service, as in great in and of itself, not just great in relation to the rest of the competition.



    It does plenty of parsing well, but the way you talk to it (as you can see in the video) is slow and steady. That's not how humans talk to each other. It doesn't feel natural. I think we'll see tech that addresses this in future iPhone updates.



    I see two major areas of deficency that will hold this tech back. First is the range of terms and means, accents, dialects, languages, etc. This will will be taken care of with continued use of Siri to compile data. This is why it had to be a public beta. Despite what the asshats say this can't be developed in a lab.



    Second is getting Siri to build a dynamic profile on your speech patterns, accents, etc. I wouldn't be surprised that we see a Siri setup that has the user read a carefully prepared paragraph in their natural speaking voice to capture all the possible phonemes one might use to create a baseline for Siri understanding it's owner.



    With two things I would expect that Siri will one day be able to understand us as well or better than any person we chat up on the street.
  • wcbaritone10wcbaritone10 Posts: 23member
    So the geo fencing is cool, however I don't see it being practical with OSX. If I remind myself to stop at the post office when I leave my house on the way to work, how will my Mac know I left the house as there will be no Wi-Fi? Would the fact that the reminders sync via iCloud in turn use the phone or iPad for the GPS on a reminder you set on your Mac? If so then it would be very useful.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    On feature I'd like to see added now that we have iMessages on the Mac ? meaning, the iMessages server knows where all your Apple devices are ? is the option to have services enable and disable as you enter and leave an geo fence or network area. To wit, have my iMessages not pop up on my iPhone when I'm home and logged into my Mac or iPad.



    Another option I'd like to see is to have the geo fence do more than just list reminders. I'd like my phone to go silent and dim the display when I'm in the movie theater without me having to do enable it. Much like the way WiFi will enable itself in certain areas but this would be done based on your geo location not a network priority setting.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wcbaritone10 View Post


    So the geo fencing is cool, however I don't see it being practical with OSX. If I remind myself to stop at the post office when I leave my house on the way to work, how will my Mac know I left the house as there will be no Wi-Fi? Would the fact that the reminders sync via iCloud in turn use the phone or iPad for the GPS on a reminder you set on your Mac? If so then it would be very useful.



    This plus Location Data in OS X makes me think (hope) that an option for cellular connectivity will be coming to Mac notebooks with the next revision.



    The cellular component of the iPad is very small and it's considerably larger than it will need to be once the MDM9615 at the 28nm lithography is ready. I'm hoping they allow for all Mac notebooks to add this option with a mini-PCIe slot like they did with the original AirPort cards in Macs. This would require the removable of the bottom casing but they already allow that with the user-replacable RAM.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,312member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Is that Siri or was that sending an email using the voice dictation feature in the iPhone 4S to a company's server that parsed the info and replied via preset rules?



    This is only the beginning for Siri. I think it's many years away before it's a great service, as in great in and of itself, not just great in relation to the rest of the competition.



    It does plenty of parsing well, but the way you talk to it (as you can see in the video) is slow and steady. That's not how humans talk to each other. It doesn't feel natural. I think we'll see tech that addresses this in future iPhone updates.



    I see two major areas of deficency that will hold this tech back. First is the range of terms and means, accents, dialects, languages, etc. This will will be taken care of with continued use of Siri to compile data. This is why it had to be a public beta. Despite what the asshats say this can't be developed in a lab.



    Second is getting Siri to build a dynamic profile on your speech patterns, accents, etc. I wouldn't be surprised that we see a Siri setup that has the user read a carefully prepared paragraph in their natural speaking voice to capture all the possible phonemes one might use to create a baseline for Siri understanding it's owner.



    With two things I would expect that Siri will one day be able to understand us as well or better than any person we chat up on the street.



    It was exactly what you said ... Quite brilliant in its simplicity and avoided any need for anything but voice commands with no improvements required beyond what is there now. That is the whole point as I see it. Yes many more improvements are coming as you describe but right now systems like that could do amazing things by interacting with server side information beyond Yelp and the like. This is a private company leveraging what is already available.



    To me this very useful real world application of Siri makes the class action law suits a joke. They remind me of watching someone trying to search with Google when they have no clue how to phrase a question that provides what they want as a result.



    By the way, there is no need to talk the way he did, I suspect that was as much part of his being aware they were filming him as anything else. I speak to Siri quite normally without any problem. People who speak slowly to computer systems are exhibiting anthropormorphism. The speed computers can analyze is way beyond it mattering if you speak at half normal speed and if they are learning then speaking oddly is self defeating.
  • djames4242djames4242 Posts: 418member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Notification Center is a feature I'm really looking forward to. I always found Growl ugly and cumbersome.



    Oh I love Growl, but with its virtual crippling by App Store restrictions, I suspect its days are numbered and we'll see most developers migrating from Growl notifications to the Notification Center. Shame because Growl has a lot more flexibility and configuration options.
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