Three ways Apple can improve the iPhone's bedside manner
If you're on iMore reading this article, you already know the iPhone is a great device for powering through your day. There is no need for me to extol on what the iPhone does well. You know. As an iPhone owner who has also spent a lot of time on the competition, however, there's an area where the iPhone and iOS 7 fall short — when I go to bed every night and try to fall asleep.
I assume a lot of people out there are like me and charge their phone every night. It's a ritual. I go to bed, I plug in my phone. I wake up, I take it off the charger and get out of bed. Depending on the day of the week, the exact time I get under the covers and roll out of bed in the morning may vary. I try to hit to the gym early on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I like to sleep in a bit on Saturday. Add in a few early morning appointments and a few late nights of recreation, and I assume I'm not the only one whose schedule sometimes varies.
I also assume, like me, most people would prefer their phone not make a bunch of noises all night long, unless it's something really important — if there's an emergency the phone needs to ring for incoming calls, or texts. But all those other beeps and alerts I get for things like Twitter and Facebook, well, there's no need for them to wake me up from my dreams. Clearly Apple feels this last point is important too as they did bring Do Not Disturb (DND) to iOS back in 2012.
All that said, even after several iterations of iOS and iPhones, Apple's software and hardware decisions have lead me to the conclusion that Apple employees must never sleep. Otherwise, the following issues and feature gaps would have been addressed already.
Here's my bedtime wish-list:
Within Settings > Do Not Disturb, you *can* set the Schedule for DND to turn on and off automatically. However, unless you go to bed and wake up in the morning at the exact same time every single day —weekends included — you're not going to use it. It's far too time consuming to do this every night.
So instead of using this setting, I simply turn on DND and turn it off manually. I swipe up from the bottom of the phone to bring up Control Center, at which point I tap the moon icon and DND turns on. Hopefully, in the morning, once I wake up, I remember to then turn DND off. It's habit now, but for many weeks I would forget to turn DND off and go half the day before realizing it, missing all the beeps, buzzes, and other alerts just when I need them the most.
What should happen is this: On Settings > Do Not Disturb, there needs to be an option that I can enable that allows me to enter Do Not Disturb mode automatically while the phone is charging. As an extra layer of control, this is where the hours schedule would be handy. I could set it from 10:30pm to 8am. In other words, if I plug my phone into a charger between those hours, it's almost 100% likely that I'm in bed. However, if it's 11:30pm and my phone is still not on the charger, that means I'm awake and don't want DND turning on automatically.
BlackBerry screwed up their implementation of Bedside mode when the rolled out BlackBerry 10, but they fixed it in their next OS update. Apple, if you're reading this, PLEASE fix yours as well. iPhone users will thank you.
I haven't done a scientific study on this yet, but I'm pretty sure out of all smartphone manufacturers out there, Apple includes the SHORTEST power cable in the box. And it drives me insane. I keep my phone on my nightstand. The nearest outlet is behind the bed (a reasonable distance). The cable that comes with the iPhone is so short it barely reaches around the corner and up onto bedside table. With every other smartphone I've owned the distance is no issue. With the iPhone it is.
I've polled a lot of iPhone owners on this one, and nobody has ever disagreed with me that they would like to see a longer cable. Rene Ritchie informed me that I can go buy a longer cable, but really, I shouldn't have to. An extra 12-inches from Apple in the box would go a long way.
Back when I was in business school (if I remember correctly, it's been a lot of years), my dean's claim to fame was that he was a consultant to an airline and concluded they could save $10 million per year if they cut down the number of olives they put on the salads from two to one. I can't help but think of that story every time I plug in my iPhone. I'm sure Apple saves millions by going short with the cord, but at this point in the game, they have plenty of dollars in the bank. Please Apple, if you're reading this, stick a longer cord in the box. I can't see many iPhone owners out there not being appreciative of this.
When I picked up my gold iPhone 5s, I also purchased the brown premium leather case and the iPhone charging dock. Nobody at the Apple Store informed me during my purchase that I wouldn't be able to use my iPhone on Apple's charger when it was in Apple's case.
So, if I am using a case throughout the day and I want to use my charging dock at night —which also sits on my bedside table —I can't unless I take the case off. And that Apple case does NOT come off the iPhone 5s easily. For a while I would go through this process every night of peeling the iPhone 5s out of its case so I could put it on the charging dock. Eventually, I just gave up using the dock.
I don't expect Apple to make its accessories compatible with third party cases, but I do have an expectation that they would try and make their Apple-brand accessories work together. Again, Apple, if you're reading this, I don't think I'm alone here.
That's it. Those are the three things that would make me sleep a lot better with an iPhone at night. I can't be alone here with all of these pain points. If you're with me, let me know in the comments!