Alongside the addition of Notes and Reminders, iCloud’s Web interface now includes a notification bar and application-specific badge icons nearly identical to their counterparts on iOS. The notifications appear in real time and let users know when a new email message, reminder, or calendar event arrives.
The first hint of iCloud Web notifications occurred in May, when an inadvertent server-side test of the feature caused placeholder notifications to appear on the iCloud.com interface of standard users.
The notifications require that the iCloud Web interface remain open, something that will limit their usefulness for many users, especially those on Macs or those with iDevices nearby. For users working away from their own devices, however, iCloud.com is quickly becoming a helpful tool for keeping tabs on iCloud data when no alternative method is available.
In its current form, notifications appear for iCloud.com users in badge and bar form for Mail, Calendar, Reminders, and Find My iPhone.
iCloud is a free service offered to Apple customers. It provides an IMAP email account, management and syncing of contacts, calendars, notes, documents, and reminders, photo sharing, and the ability to track and remotely wipe Macs and iDevices.
Users can access iCloud via its Web interface, or directly through integration in Macs and iDevices. Apple also provides an iCloud Control Panel for Windows that lets Windows users running Outlook and Internet Explorer access some iCloud features, but many users have reported difficulties with this configuration.