Is iOS ready for more widgets?
Ever since iOS 5 introduced Notification Center and the weather and stock widgets contained therein, and Siri showed off any number of clock and calendar and reminder widgets, a lot of folks have been wondering when we'll see more widespread widget support from Apple. Things like pinning widgets to the Home page or support for third parties to cook up their own widgets still just aren't there. We've been getting a wide variety of reactions to the issue in the forums, mostly stemming from concerns about battery life, but I think it's safe to say that if Apple were to ever implement a wider array of widgets, they would do it in a way that's kind to battery life. Besides, battery life is pretty good as it is; forum member redbeard points out:
If all you care about is having a phone that you only have to charge once a week you can buy a jitterbug, I'm always near a wall or a car charger, even when I'm not my 1 year, 8 month old iPhone 4 lasts all day all while running two homescreen widgets and being jailbroken.
If Apple were to ever open up the doors to widgets, they would likely stay in the Notification Center, but Android has set a decent precedent for Home screen widgets; as far as I'm concerned, the home screen widget is one of the biggest defining characteristics of Android, and if implemented well in iOS, they could make sure iOS users don't stray from the flock. Apple has already borrowed the notification windowshade idea, so it's not so far out that we'd see more Android-style features on an iPhone or iPad.
If full Home screen widgets proved too taxing on the battery, Windows Phone is doing some neat stuff with Live Tiles that could influence iOS. Right now, we don't get much more than tomato splat noifications on app icons, but what if there was more? Maybe app icons themselves could change based on contextual information - the current level in a game you're playing, who's tagged you on Facebook, a thumbnail of a popular picture on Pinterest ... that sort of thing. The native Calendar app already does this sort of thing, so why doesn't Weather? Why don't all other apps?
So what say you? Do you want to keep the pristine icon grid, or add a bit more utility at the cost of simplicity? Or maybe Apple could come up with something wholly original that distinctly stands out from the precedent set by competitors, but meets the same demand for at-a-glance info and functions. Forum member steelew suggested that the lock screen would be a good place to put that sort of stuff, and I'm tempted to agree.
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