Notifications at last

Apple's iOS, the software that powers the iPhone and iPad, is a wonderful thing. But it does have some flaws, and the uppermost has to be the awful notifications. New text messages, emails, twitter notifications and the like pop up, interrupt whatever you're doing, and then are dismissed, never to be seen again. Surely there's a better way?

Well, yes there is, and now we've seen it. Apple just showed off iOS 5, the version of the software that will power the iPhone 5 when it appears - as well as coming to the iPhone 4 and 3GS. And, praise be to the gods, it brings with it much-improved notifications.

Alerts of new happenings now pop up in the top of your screen, without interrupting what you're doing, and vanish after a few seconds. Then, at any time you can swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up Notification Center, a nice list of all the recent happenings from which you can launch the relevant apps. And what's more, if all the action happens when you're away, the lock screen will also show you notifications, and you can unlock right into one of them with a swipe. It's all very clever, albeit nothing significantly better than what Android offers.

iOS won't be with us until the autumn, but we're already having severe trouble waiting.

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