Normally I don’t keep track of patents and trademarks, possibly because of the sheer amount of them and also because rarely does any of these ever see the actual light of day. However this new notification system Apple has filed a trademark for may well end up in your iDevice in the near future. The patent Apple has filed for basically attempts at giving your more information as far as your notifications is concerned.
The icon in question is essentially designed to give you three different kinds of notifications; mail, calendar and messages. It uses the same badge notification system we’re used to seeing on iOS, except that now instead of one notification per icon, you get three. Naturally I suppose this wont be limited to just mail, calendar and messages but any combination of apps can be used.
The filing is for Europe and Apple has not been granted the patent yet. If they do I see no reason for this to be excluded in the next iOS update as it looks like a real space saver. Mail/Calendar/messages are my most used apps and it would be nice to have their notifications combined rather than having to search for individual icons. Of course how this is implemented is entirely up to Apple but as far as UI implementations go, Apple rarely disappoints.