Are Apple iPhone Notifications About to Improve?

Critics of Apple’s iPhone notification system have new hope for less intrusive alerts now that Rich Dellinger is back with the Cupertino company, notes PreCentral. Dellinger left his User Interface Designer role at Apple to work on the webOS platform at Palm, where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he “invented the non-intrusive banner notification system used in webOS” — widely viewed as one of the most elegant and effective notification methods on smartphones today.

Apple’s notification service certainly grabs the attention of an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad user when required, perhaps too well. During my two and a half years of iPhone ownership, I remember all too well the bone-jarring pop-up notifications that would take my focus away from the task at hand, especially when Apple opened up the platform to third-party notifications. I’d be surfing the web to research a breaking news story on the run only to be pinged with a non-timely text message or a meeting reminder. The current notification system doesn’t just notify; it completely stops all other interaction and train of thought.

Thanks to Dellinger, notifications on webOS — now owned by HP , which agreed to purchased Palm in April — appear prominently underneath the currently active program card. So while any open application window makes room for the notification, it doesn’t take a back seat to it, and a simple swipe removes the notification message and restores the active application to full size. Alternately, a tap of the notification allows the user to take action on it — think Google Android notifications, but more refined and without having to pull down the Android “window shade.”

While there’s no guarantee that Dellinger will be working on notifications for the newly renamed iOS platform, he has the smarts and the experience to raise the bar for Apple devices.

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