Apple’s iOS 5 Includes New Notifications, Game Center Upgrades — Good for Apps?

Notifications are a main component of any developer platform, and Apple has so far struggled to build a mobile interface for them that matches the quality of the rest of its operating system — not to mention the notification system on Android, its rival.

That’s changing as part of the new iOS 5 software due out to consumers this fall. The company announced a new drop-down interface today at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, called Notifications Center. Instead of receiving the intrusive dialogue boxes that Apple has had to date, users will be able to pull down a window from the top status bar of the main iOS interface to view all notifications, whether they are from third-party apps or Apple’s own. Swiping a notification will take the user to the app.

As many have been quick to note, the interface is quite similar to what Android has already offered.

New notifications will go away after a moment, unless users swipe down to see the full interface. They’ll also appear on the locked screen. As annoying as the current interface is, it does force users to pay attention to apps (assuming they don’t adjust their settings to turn off notifications). Developers, who get access to the SDK for the new iOS today, will be eager to explore just how much more or less responsive users are to the new version.

Among other upgrades today, the company is also adding some features to its in-house game portal app, the Game Center. It will now show scores of friends’ friends, as well as offer game recommendations from friends. Some turn-based games can be played within the app, and games can be purchased and downloaded directly from it. Apple today said that the Game Center has 50 million users, but it didn’t provide any more stats about how the app is used to promote third parties — and it’s not clear how specifically effective it has been to date at helping them grow and make money.

[Screenshots via Engadget.]