Nintendo fired a new system update out for the Wii U console today, which includes the ability to launch games and apps without fully booting to the main menu, and notifications that show up on the GamePad even when the Wii U is switched off.
Version 5.0.0's main feature is the Quick Start Menu. When users turn the Wii U on, the last 10 apps and games you used will display, allowing you to immediately boot a title up instead of waiting to visit the home menu.
New GamePad alerts have also been added. These are special notifications from Nintendo which will display on your GamePad even when the Wii U is powered down. An audio ringtone will play, and alerts can then be viewed.
There are numerous other additions in this update, including system updates that will now automatically install when the Wii U is in standby mode, and changes to the Wii U menu. All the details can be found on the Nintendo website