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Rumor: Apple looking to buy developer for new iOS notification system

post #1 of 40
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Apple may buy a third-party App Store iPhone developer to help it create a new notification system for a future version of iOS, according to a new rumor.

An anonymous source reportedly informed Cult of Mac that Apple is "trying to buy a small app developer" in order to update is iOS notification system. The individual apparently did not know the name of the company, but said it has already created an iPhone application that is available in the App Store.

Author Leander Kahney suggested that one potential acquisition could be Boxcar, a free application (iTunes link) from developer appremix. The software controls push notifications for applications such as Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, RSS feeds and more.

The notification system in iOS has been criticized by many for being too intrusive, forcing users to immediately view or close an update from an application or service, rather than giving the ability to revisit it later.

Last June, it was discovered that Rich Dellinger, former user interface design architect at Palm and creator of the non-intrusive webOS notification system, was hired by Apple. That led to speculation that the iPhone maker was looking to improve its push messaging and notification system for iOS, but thus far the functionality has remained largely unchanged.



Apple typically releases a major update for iOS, its mobile operating system, once a year in June. Last year, Apple showed off features of iOS 4, including multitasking support, to developers, and the software eventually shipped alongside the launch of the iPhone 4 in June.

Cult of Mac's recent track predictions have missed the mark, as the site incorrectly reported last October that the new MacBook Air would have user-upgradeable RAM, processor speeds up to 2.4GHz, and a battery life of between 8 and 10 hours. The site did corroborate AppleInsider's own, accurate report that the new MacBook Air would come in two screen sizes: 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches.

The site also claimed in November that Apple plans to include a near-field communications RFID chip in the next-generation "iPhone 5." It was said the hardware would not only allow "e-wallet" transactions, but also grant ability to securely turn a nearby Mac into your own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords.
post #2 of 40
They could hire the monkeys from the Career builder adds and not do any worse than the current system.
post #3 of 40
Maybe just me, but the cultofmac comments seem a bit catty. I think the predictions were close enough to be in the running.
post #4 of 40
Can they hurry up about it, notifications are a laughing stock in iOS. Did you see the HP TouchPad notifications? it looked like Growl, very slick.
post #5 of 40
Might want to add that Boxcar is one of Gruber's top apps, it was in Giz or Engadget, one of the tech blogs this week.
post #6 of 40
If true, this really sucks. Was hoping this Dellinger character would have had some impact by now. The current notification systems is an absolute joke when compared with ANY other major mobile OS, including Symbian that has just been tossed aside.

In two months are we going to read that Apple had started to look for speech recognition specialists?

Anyway, hope it's all just a lousy rumor.
post #7 of 40
With the huge slap to the face HP threw at its phone customers (after PROMISING their customers updates to the new WebOS, decided to not ever support the current phones), and the fact they just started selling the Pre2 when they announced its successor the day before, my guess is that there will be a bunch of WebOS dev people looking for jobs soon when their platform, as awesome as it may be, falls flat due to mis-handling of the whole project.

Apple should snatch them up. I have both an iPod Touch and a Palm Pre + Hands down, the WebOS notification system is so much better!
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post #8 of 40
That "9 squares icon" in the nav bar button is a rip-off from the facebook app!
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post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post

If true, this really sucks. Was hoping this Dellinger character would have had some impact by now. The current notification systems is an absolute joke when compared with ANY other major mobile OS, including Symbian that has just been tossed aside.

In two months are we going to read that Apple had started to look for speech recognition specialists?

Anyway, hope it's all just a lousy rumor.

You realize the current notification system sucks and yet you hope they don't fix it?
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post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post

In two months are we going to read that Apple had started to look for speech recognition specialists?

I can see it now in June 2012....

Steve: Oh and one more thing, the new iPhone 6 can actually understand you when you talk. This is really magic folks. You say words and they just appear on the phone without typing.
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

You realize the current notification system sucks and yet you hope they don't fix it?

I think he meant to say that he hopes it's a rumor that they are looking into it this late. As mentioned above, they already hired the guy who developed webOS's notification system, so let's hope it's just a rumor that they have to resort to looking elsewhere. That would only slow down the overhaul of the current system.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

You realize the current notification system sucks and yet you hope they don't fix it?

I think he is hoping they already made major progress and would not need to hire/buy a new team and start over a couple months before iOS 5 should hit beta.
post #13 of 40
So, if they just recently acquired these companies, does that mean improved notifications won't show up until iOS 8.2.1?
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

You realize the current notification system sucks and yet you hope they don't fix it?

Err.. no. Read again. If the rumor is true, it sucks because it means that Apple has made little headway on notifications, and it a much improved and badly needed notification system is a long way down the road. I, for one, had expected something with iPhone5 for example.
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

So, if they just recently acquired these companies, does that mean improved notifications won't show up until iOS 8.2.1?

I like your optomism
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

I can see it now in June 2012....

Steve: Oh and one more thing, the new iPhone 6 can actually understand you when you talk. This is really magic folks. You say words and they just appear on the phone without typing.

Separate topic, but given that Nuance tech is licensed by Siri (which Apple bought), does this mean there may be restrictions in how Apple deploys Siri's expertise? Really would like to see voice mnore widely deployed but wondering if this is going to be years in the making as well.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post

If true, this really sucks. Was hoping this Dellinger character would have had some impact by now. The current notification systems is an absolute joke when compared with ANY other major mobile OS, including Symbian that has just been tossed aside.

In two months are we going to read that Apple had started to look for speech recognition specialists?

Anyway, hope it's all just a lousy rumor.

Really, what "impact" exactly would you have expected by now? If someone was hired last June, it would stand to reason that the impact of hiring that person wouldn't be realized until the update that's still to come this summer. Yes, we all agree that notifications are poorly handled in iOS as compared to other OSs. It's also something that's fairly trivial to remedy. Seeing as though Apple has hired the person responsible for what is currently the best notification system implementation, I suggest to you that you relax and wait to see what iOS 5 has to offer. If notifications are not improved in iOS 5, then you have every right to complain about what "impact" this person may or may not have had. Until then, keep your expectations in check.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

That "9 squares icon" in the nav bar button is a rip-off from the facebook app!

Actually that icon used all over the place, not just FaceBook or apps.

It's usually used for selecting layout mode, row (icon is 3 lines, stacked) or grid (icon is 9 squares in a 3x3 grid)


Although I just noticed, Mac OS X Finder uses a 2x2 grid icon for grid/icon view
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post #19 of 40
I'm assuming that iOS 5 must be pretty far along in development by now and probably already has whatever notification system changes they're planning in place. I certainly hope they are planning changes for v5 -- it's getting a little silly with the current system.
post #20 of 40
If true, new notifications aren't ready until iOS 6. At this point, I would assume that the features for 5 are pretty much set in stone. Also, how would they do it? Notifications at the top and you tap it? Nope, that scrolls to the top of a page/email/SMS. Pinch to zoom like gesture? Nope. Using more than two fingers isn't optimal on the small screen of an iPhone. Swipe a few times to the left past spotlight? A bit cumbersome. I can only guess a swipe from the bottom.

I am willing to bet some functionality will be lost, like certain home button options when they included "multitasking". I am sure they'll get it done, but it will resemble something like a competitor's.
post #21 of 40
I wonder if they would look at the makers of a jailbreak app. The notification system built into BiteSMS is the greatest single improvement worth jailbreaking an iphone for, love that app, i haven't used the standard iphone messages app in over a year since i was turned onto BiteSMS.
post #22 of 40
It is interesting that two rumors just started floating around.
1) smaller iPhone for $200
2) Apple acquiring developer to work on notification system

I think these two rumors are connected.
I believe Apple is working on an iWatch(a.k.a. iPhone nano).
The iPhone nano is not a contract free iPhone, but an iPhone accessory.
The primary purpose of the iPhone nano is to serve as a unobtrusive notification system.

The Sony Ericsson LiveView is already such a device for Android phones.
It is cheap and is not an Insanely Great Experience.
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by another_steve View Post

Really, what "impact" exactly would you have expected by now? If someone was hired last June, it would stand to reason that the impact of hiring that person wouldn't be realized until the update that's still to come this summer. Yes, we all agree that notifications are poorly handled in iOS as compared to other OSs. It's also something that's fairly trivial to remedy. Seeing as though Apple has hired the person responsible for what is currently the best notification system implementation, I suggest to you that you relax and wait to see what iOS 5 has to offer. If notifications are not improved in iOS 5, then you have every right to complain about what "impact" this person may or may not have had. Until then, keep your expectations in check.

Well, whoop be damn doo!..., But who the hell gave you the stripes to roam this forum.. You suggest I "relax"?. You feel quite self-important, dont you kid?

Quite simply, if the rumor is true, then Dillinger is unlikely to have had the impact we thought he would have in terms of a new notification system being available for release soon.
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

If true, new notifications aren't ready until iOS 6. At this point, I would assume that the features for 5 are pretty much set in stone. Also, how would they do it? Notifications at the top and you tap it? Nope, that scrolls to the top of a page/email/SMS. Pinch to zoom like gesture? Nope. Using more than two fingers isn't optimal on the small screen of an iPhone. Swipe a few times to the left past spotlight? A bit cumbersome. I can only guess a swipe from the bottom.

I am willing to bet some functionality will be lost, like certain home button options when they included "multitasking". I am sure they'll get it done, but it will resemble something like a competitor's.

I'm assuming that Apple is taking its time so that the iPhone and iPad implementations can be near-identical yet take advantage of iPad's extra space. Apple is almost never first with a feature (e.g. copy and paste) but it's extremely tight and elegant when they get there...

I'm imagining:
1) Similar to webOS, a small bar slides in underneath the dock. There's enough spacing between the app icon rows that they can compress to make room (similar to when making a phone call or tethering).

2) If there's one notification, the app icon shows up with a preview of the notification. For example, it will show the Messages icon and "JOHN SMITH: Hey, when are we gonna meet up for..."

3) If there's more than one, perhaps only the icons will show up in a row, with badge numbers indicating numerous notifications.

4) Swiping up will bring up a larger preview panel, similar to an iOS folder or an OS X Stack. (Ooh! Imagine a "Fan"-style stack flying up!)

5) Tapping on a preview will launch the full application. Swiping right to left will dismiss it. Remaining notifications collapse to occupy the remaining space.

That's how I'm imagining it. Both webOS and Honeycomb seem to do this fairly similarly, because it makes sense to do it this way! If Apple can do it with a little bit of OS X flair, that would be great!
post #25 of 40
I would think Apple can figure out a notification system without buying a small app company this late in the game. The fact that they hired a WebOS UI engineer last summer points to the iOS notification shoe dropping with 5.0. If anything at this point it's just about small tweaks (I really, really hope).

For now I'm using LockInfo, Notified and BiteSMS to cope with the notification disaster that is iOS. Apple should buy those developers IMHO.
post #26 of 40
No-brainer. Acquire Boxcar (Or whoever), revamp iOS Push Notifications and integrate the new system into OS X Lion as a first-party stand-in for Growl and into Me.com with HTML5. The Apple ecosystem then has Unified Push Notifications, another feather in the OS X/iOS/MobileMe DesktopClass/Mobile/Cloud system's cap.

And, honestly, the only part of iOS that I think actually needs any significant improvement is the Notifications. Sure there are other things that would be ice, but at this stage, apart from the fairly basic Notifications system, there are no longer any glaring problems in my eyes.

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post #27 of 40
OR..... Grab Open notifier from Cydia and make it better. Or use growl. haha
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post #28 of 40
I don't buy it. iOS 5 should be launching in June/July and acquiring and integrating Boxcar into iOS requires more time.

And even if it is possible, the integration will be hacky at best. Apple needs to rethink how notification should be done and implement it deep in the iOS layer. Not some service that runs on top of everything.
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

I don't buy it. iOS 5 should be launching in June/July and acquiring and integrating Boxcar into iOS requires more time.

And even if it is possible, the integration will be hacky at best. Apple needs to rethink how notification should be done and implement it deep in the iOS layer. Not some service that runs on top of everything.

They might buy a developer to get around IP issues. For example, AirPrint support for Mac and Windows printers was rumored to have been pulled because there were IP issues that it conflicted with. So, they might possibly buy the developer just to own the IP but not actually use any of their implementation.
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post

If true, this really sucks. Was hoping this Dellinger character would have had some impact by now. The current notification systems is an absolute joke when compared with ANY other major mobile OS, including Symbian that has just been tossed aside.

In two months are we going to read that Apple had started to look for speech recognition specialists?

Anyway, hope it's all just a lousy rumor.


Buying a developer at this stage doesn't necessarily mean Apple hasn't gotten around to change the notification system yet. They could have made their version which is very similar to another product out there, and decide to purchase the original developer just to avoid any potential legal issue.

Edit: obviously posting without looking at what's already posted.
post #31 of 40
this rumor seems suspect, at least with the Boxcar business -- realizing that Boxcar must use the existing notification framework currently. I'm not sure what value add they would provide. Now perhaps some of the solutions available for jailbroken devices could prove interesting...
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

It is interesting that two rumors just started floating around.
1) smaller iPhone for $200
2) Apple acquiring developer to work on notification system

I think these two rumors are connected.
I believe Apple is working on an iWatch(a.k.a. iPhone nano).
The iPhone nano is not a contract free iPhone, but an iPhone accessory.
The primary purpose of the iPhone nano is to serve as a unobtrusive notification system.

The Sony Ericsson LiveView is already such a device for Android phones.
It is cheap and is not an Insanely Great Experience.

Taking this probably an extra step to far but isn't it interesting that both the two rumors of:
1) smaller iPhone for $200
2) Apple acquiring developer to work on notification system

Both rumors pop up right after HP shows off the Veer and they also made a big deal of the notification system in WebOS in their announcement the other day?
post #33 of 40
I don't use Boxcar, but it appears to be a way of setting up notifications for various servcies like Twitter and Facebook, with a few customizations such as individual sound alerts and a "view notifications" page.

It doesn't look to be a real reworking of notifications front-end UI, however, unless I'm missing something. It looks to primarily use the existing frameworks-- badges, sounds and pop-ups-- so I'm not sure what the point of acquiring them would be.

In general I would be surprised if Apple felt the need to purchase a developer to rework notifications, at this point. It's not like they don't have some pretty good designers working for them, maniacally focused on the iPhone. The rumor makes it sound like they just sort of overlooked the whole notifications thing till just recently and went "Shit! We need to overhaul this pronto, better buy someone up who's already figured it out!" Given the frequently noted hiring of the Palm notifications guy, we know that isn't true, and it's a little hard to believe that whatever work they've been doing just sort of hit a dead-end, or something.
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post #34 of 40
Sadly I can not get it to work. Have gmail forward to the address provided. The only time Boxcar notified me is when gmail send verify code. After that. Zilch notification.

Hope Apple can do better than this.



edit: it's notified me now. With sender and title, not full message. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
post #35 of 40
I don't get the rant about iOS's notifications.
I have no problems at all. I see a number against Messages, Emails. What more do I want ?
This is simplicity and the Apple way. I can't see why it needs any updating.
post #36 of 40
This style of notification system would be a great addition to a cloud service like mobile.me. You could decide what notifications to send to what devices based on apps and time of day. Like turning off Facebook notifications at night while asleep but still allowing SMS from a whitelist of contacts. Also adding NFC or bluetooth detection to give Blue Phone Elite functionality to iDevices and the mac wold be cool as well.
post #37 of 40
I guess notifications are a big part of mobile OSes. Something they couldn't get for "free" from OS X, so they're not ahead of the game on this, unlike most other things. They will probably have to struggle through several iterations before getting it right.
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by akf2000 View Post

Can they hurry up about it, notifications are a laughing stock in iOS. Did you see the HP TouchPad notifications? it looked like Growl, very slick.

I hate Growl.
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post #39 of 40
iOS needs a reimagined notification system and a file browser added with wireless-ducument-sync with your Mac. Ensuring your latest iWork files are identical on both platforms. So then you can actually do a little work on your iPad while on the move and it will actually be worth it. Files would still remain inside apps. The iOS file browser would be in addition.

That's all for now. Do it.
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post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

iOS needs a reimagined notification system and a file browser added with wireless-ducument-sync with your Mac. Ensuring your latest iWork files are identical on both platforms. So then you can actually do a little work on your iPad while on the move and it will actually be worth it. Files would still remain inside apps. The iOS file browser would be in addition.

That's all for now. Do it.

I agree. Sort of.

The annual update of iOS tends to fix the area-of-maximum-suckage.

For me, there are three stand-out areas which could benefit from improvement.

a) File management. I want a more rational way to move data. To and from my iDevice wirelessly.
b) Notifications. I want to see a stack of chronological events. Not unlike a twitter stream.
c) Syncing. I don't want to physically tether my iPad to get podcasts, and files.

I think both a) and c) could be solved by a DropBox-type cloud-based file soup. The file soup needs to be accessible by every app, much like photos are now. But apps would only see files that were relevant to it.

I think the idea that Apple would need to buy Boxcar to solve notification seems a bit absurd.

C.
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