The first accessory of its kind we’ve received for review, Incipio’s Prompt Visual Notification Pod ($40) takes advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 to provide multi-colored alerts based on the notifications received on your device. It’s designed to sit on your desk and give a visual indication of what’s happening on your iPhone or iPad when you’re not looking at the screen. When it’s connected to a device, Prompt will flash the pre-determined color as alerts arrive; the colors can be set using Incipio’s free companion app. Shipping with a Micro-USB cable, the indicator actually has a battery inside that can last for seven to ten days per charge.
Prompt’s base is a black plastic triangle with rounded corners, measuring 2” long on each side. Rising out of it is a “notification lens”—a white plastic cap—bringing the total height of the accessory to 1.4”. Inside is a multicolor LED system capable of displaying ten distinct shades. Much like Apple’s Magic Trackpad, Prompt has a button on its underside that is activated when you press down on the top of the unit. Also on the underside are a small speaker and a reset button, while the Micro-USB port can be found along the edge of the base.
By default, Prompt is set up to display ten different colors corresponding to different categories of apps, as set by the developers. For example, incoming calls glow white, social apps such as texts and Facebook are green, and entertainment is pink. It’s a little disappointing the choices can’t get a bit more granular, as it would be nice to have a different alert for iMessages than Twitter, for instance. When Notification Center is hit, Prompt immediately lights up with the corresponding colors, and then pulses in and out until you either dismiss the notification on your phone, or press down on Prompt. If there are multiple notifications, they’ll be displayed in the order they were received.
Our testing found that the accessory worked just as advertised—it’s a sturdy little device with a cool design. If you’re considering using it an an office, it probably makes a lot more sense for desks with PCs than Macs: with OS X features such as Notification Center already in place and Continuity coming in Yosemite, many of those notifications are already available on a Mac’s screen. On the other hand, it needn’t be used in an office—if it’s placed on a nightstand or elsewhere, it can be handy to let you know what’s happening on your phone. A clever idea with some appeal for some types of users, Prompt deserves our general recommendation. It allows you to avoid constantly looking at your phone, without missing what’s going on.
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Compatibility: All iPads, iPhones, iPod touches (iOS 7+)