This is something I’ve been meaning to write, and hadn’t yet, but this post on Engadget (which I’m sure will be followed by the same info on a million other sites) reminded me of it, and makes me hopeful that it’s going to happen.
In a previous post, I wrote about how Apple could use the Messages neé iChat status message as a way to put a cork in many of the situations where alerts happen on several different devices.
I chatted with several people about that idea, and I still think it’s a reasonable, easy-to-understand solution for the problem. If Apple could implement some fancy-pants, foolproof, Bluetooth/WiFi-driven connection between my phone and computer that doesn’t require any setup and solves all the problems, that’s cool too, but I have a hard time imagining that foolproof part coming to fruition.
As I thought more about it, I actually liked the idea even more. I liked it so much that I decided my iPhone should just have a status. I should be able to set my phone to Away, and it will suppress any and all notifications (not just iMessages) until I’m no longer away. When I come back from away, all those notification can be sitting in Notification Center for me to catch up on. And similarly to iChat having a preference to a) keep status as away, b) set status back to available, or c) ask what to do upon my return to the computer, iOS could do the same when I move to a different location or whenever I unlock the phone again.
When iOS5 was released, it was extremely aggravating that the switch to turn off all notifications was gone from Settings. It was already aggravating enough to have to go thru all those layers of settings to turn it off, but now that’s not even an option. Each app has to be turned off one by one. I have 37 apps with notifications on!
I imagine the iOS status message being on the lock screen, so that it’s easy to turn off and on, and front-and-center whenever I look at my phone. It would be useful to avoid interruptions in a meeting and to avoid being woken up by a friend’s texting binge in the middle of the night. Once Mountain Lion comes out and also has Notification Center, we’ll be getting even more dual notifications, so there needs to be a plan.
If this Do Not Disturb switch for Mountain Lion is an indication of where Apple is headed, I will be really excited to see it implemented in iOS as well.