updated 10:13 pm EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
New feature in next OS X upgrade expected to augment websites
Apple on Wednesday sent out an email to developers reminding them about a forthcoming feature in the next upgrade of OS X, known as Mavericks (10.9). The feature, Safari Push Notifications, allows websites to send non-advertising messages to users, even when Safari isn't running -- a news site sending headlines at the user's request, for example, or an auction site notifying a user when their bid has been surpassed. Mountain Lion's Notification Center is mostly limited to installed apps, but Mavericks will bring widespread, persistent web notification to OS X for the first time.
The company has set up a page on its Mac Developer Center with videos and other resources showing how the service works and how to implement it. In the email, Apple mentions that the pop-up messages will identify the sender through the use of the website's favicon, as well as the text and any links.
A few websites already make use of the HTML5-based technology, which works with Safari 6.x, but the feature is thus far very rare, with GMail.com being the best-known site that supports it. For an example of web notifications, users can visit this site to set a simple alarm as a test.
With the Push Notifications in Safari 7.0 under Mavericks, the browser does not have to be running for users to receive messages, but the service requires that users opt-in to receive notifications, and can turn the service on, off or tailor preferences in the Notifications system preference. The feature will formally debut with Mavericks, the release date of which hasn't been set but is expected in the near future.
It is considered unlikely that Apple will debut the 10.9 upgrade on the same day as its September 10 iPhone event, and developers received a seventh beta of Mavericks just yesterday that still has known bugs (particularly with iCloud Keychain, another new feature). In all, OS X Mavericks is expected to offer some 200 major and minor features, most focused on efficiency and refinement of existing Mountain Lion technology but also including entirely new features such as advanced power management and iBooks for Mac.