iOS 6: Is it time for Apple to revamp the Home screen?

At Macworld 2007 Steve Jobs pulled the original iPhone from his pocket, held it up high above the stage, and showed off the app launcher-based Home screen... that's pretty much remained the same ever since.

That's not entirely true, of course. Apple quickly added the ability to create WebClip icons for websites, and to re-arrange and delete them. With iOS 2 (iPhone OS 2) they added native apps to that mix. They increased the number of Home pages. They added Spotlight. They added wallpaper. With iOS 4 they layered in the multitasking fast app switcher. They layered in folders. The iPad, and the iPad alone, got landscape Home screen support. With iOS 5 they layered in Notification Center and Siri.

Is it time for something more?

Familiarity is a feature

The new iPad (2012) review

To a casual user -- someone who only makes calls, plays music, takes photographs, and runs the occasional app -- the iPhone today works almost exactly as it did back in 2007. Just like a casual Mac OS X user can ignore the Terminal, iOS users can happily ignore Spotlight, the fast app switcher, folders, Notification Center, and Siri, and still fully use and enjoy their iPhone. They can wait years between hardware upgrades (and sometimes, because of that, software upgrades) and still pick up the latest iPhone and use it exactly as they used the first iPhone.

That may not matter to gadget geeks who change their platform as often as they change their jackets, but to mainstream users, to those for whom technology has traditionally been intimidating and inaccessible, that familiarity is a huge feature.

It's why Apple made the iPad work almost identically to the iPhone and said as much -- hundreds of millions of people already know how to use it.

It's why Home screen interface and experience isn't fashion. If you're bored by the iOS UI or UX, consider how little computer UI and UX has changed much over the last few decades. For all its other advances, for all it's design tweaks, OS X still has icons and folders on a desktop, the same as the classic Mac OS had generations ago. For all of Windows 8's Metro skins and finger-friendliness, it will still ship on beige boxes with full mouse and pointer support at its core.

That being said, mobile is moving at a blisteringly fast pace. While the iPhone and iOS were the startling new in 2007, they're now one of the oldest mobile experiences in the space. Interface and experience aren't fashion, but users are fashion conscious, and phones are subject to fashion trends.

Android has a huge marketshare. Windows Phone is getting a lot of attention, not just from AT&T but from designers. BlackBerry 10 may bring a new level of gesture-based interface to the table (if they can solve the discoverability issues).

These Home screen experiences not only look different to iOS and the traditional app launcher, but they function differently as well.

App launchers and information density

iPod touch 4 gallery

iPhone wasn't the first app launcher style Home screen. Not by a long shot. Long before smartphones, Palm Pilots were based entirely on the icon grid. When smartphones came along, the Treo retained the app launcher. Windows Mobile adopted it as well. Even today, you can find app launcher Home screens on webOS, BlackBerry OS, and Android. Some of them also add other layers, like Cards or widgets, but for the most part app launchers are never far away.

That's because they're familiar, as mentioned above. You see an iconic representation of something you want to do, you tap it, and it opens up. Because they're iconic (or supposed to be), and because human brains are great at pattern recognition, they scale well and can (usually) be picked out even among a large quantities of other icons.

What they lack is information density.

With very few exceptions, all an icon on an app launcher tells you is which app will launch when and if you tap it. They're static images and there's typically no information about the current state of the app, or any relevant data beyond the static image.

In the case of Apple's iOS, Calendar will show you the current date on its icon, and Apple created a badging system to overlay the number of outstanding alerts an app has pending. But that's it. With Notification Center, with a little extra effort, you can pull down snippets of those alerts, and see widgets for Weather and Stocks. However, the level of immediately available, glanceable data remains low.

Even if we consider the status bar, which shows carrier and Wi-Fi, time and battery, location and Bluetooth, none of it is actionable. It can't provide additional information or take you to it. (Although it has added persistent color bands for tethering, voice recording, VoIP or telephone calls, etc. and tapping those will take you to the associated app or Setting.)

Widgets and cards and tiles, oh my

There's no consistent Android interface, but stock Google, Sense, TouchWiz, "Blur", and other manufacturer implementations typically offer some variety of widgeting system. With them, you can have social statues, search boxes, clocks, news feeds, and a huge amount of glanceable data available right on the Home screen. They typically take up more space, however, might use slightly more battery and bandwidth as they keep up-to-date, and add an element of chaos to the layout. However, the amount of time they can save makes for an excellent tradeoff. (If that type of data is important to you -- some users simply don't find a use for widgets on computers or smartphones.)

HP TouchPad review

webOS takes a different approach, shrinking entire apps down into "Cards" that stay live-ish on the Home screen, and thanks to more recent updates, can be stacked together. Flipping through Cards doesn't give you an iconic view or a widget-ized extract, but a look at the entire app, in its current state, with its current data. BlackBerry's Tablet OS essentially aped this approach as well. The only drawback is that sometimes some apps aren't as identifiable by their actual screen as they are by their icon (long white list views just look like long white list views). So, it might take a moment to find the exact Card you want, but probably not longer than finding and launching an app.

Both Android and webOS have easily accessible app launchers as well. Both also typically provide more information in the status bar, including the ability to tap into icons to activate drop down menus or initiate other functions.

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Windows Phone 7 took an even more radical approach. They threw away the Windows Mobile app launcher and replaced it with a tile-based Home screen. Squares or rectangles represent categories of functionality, and can show a small amount of live content -- a picture, an avatar, a number, an icon, etc. It's not always great, however, since at times they take up the space of a widget while not showing much more data than an icon. (They're not as informationally dense as they could be, at least not yet.) And because they update, they're not as visually persistent, which means they lose the advantage of pattern recognition.

BlackBerry 10, which will only be released later this year, seems to be taking a hybrid approach. In the little they've demonstrated so far, they've shown something akin to a set of four cards, one per corner. Sliding panels also allow access to notifications, messages, and more. (Somewhat like Twitter for iPad. There's likely a lot more to it as well, and we'll hopefully see it as time goes on.


iPhone 4S siri hero

Siri is and isn't a Home screen. It isn't the traditional implementation of a Home screen -- something you can sit in and navigate around. It demands immediate interaction. But Siri can be used to access data and apps without having to move through the traditional Home screen. Rather than unlock, look for an icon, and launch, with Siri hold down a Home button, wait for a double tone, and speak.

Siri can by no means replace the traditional iOS Home Screen, but it can and does sit in parallel to the traditional iOS Home screen, and can replace its use in a few very specific ways. Yet it's clear Apple put significant work into Siri, not just into the server-side voice and context parsing engine, but the interface as well. Siri got a lot of the widgets that the traditional iOS Home screen hasn't. Depending on what you ask, all manner of clock and alarm and to-do and information snippets pop up. All incredibly well thought out and incredibly well rendered.

Getting a Reminder into iOS using the traditional Home screen, icons, buttons, and gestures is a chore. Getting a Reminder into iOS with Siri is remarkably fast. (Granted, when Siri works.)

Siri is still in beta, it's still not fully baked, Apple hasn't implemented it on the iPod touch or iPad. So, while Siri is no doubt part of the future, how much of the future is still to be determined.

iOS 6 and the Home screen

There's not a lot of low-hanging fruit left in iOS. Over the years, Apple has slowly but steadily added in most of the features that most of the people thought were missing in the original iOS (iPhone OS) -- apps, copy and paste, multitasking, notifications. There's a lot of ways to improve the existing functionality, but not a lot of functionality that's still missing. So on what tent poles will Apple hang its iOS 6 keynote this year?

Sure, Apple's bought 3 map visualization companies (but no map tiles), so a new Maps App could be one. I'd still sincerely love a repository, now iCloud enabled. Georgia still wants her Theme Store, where users can choose between a small amount of Apple designed iOS skins. But over the years, as iOS has matured, the amount of features truly "missing" has reduced considerably.

That leaves improving existing functionality. And that brings us neatly back to the question asked in this article's title.

Is it time for Apple to revamp the iOS Home screen?

Do you want them too? Do you need them too? If so, how so? Is it as simple as adding a widget layer to the existing multitasking and notification layers? Is it increasing Siri to the point where the app launcher becomes secondary? Or does it require something completely new, something that makes Windows Phone Metro and webOS and the upcoming BlackBerry 10 look old and outdated?

If Apple does make a substantive change to the Home screen, what does that mean for the hundreds of millions of mainstream users who are used to, perhaps dependent upon, the way things work now?

Apple has always been fearless when it comes to driving the future. They obsolete hardware and software often faster than the market itself. Is it time for Apple to apply that fearlessness to the iOS Home screen?

Additional resources

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • A major revamp is necessary for Apple to stay current and "with" (not quite 'ahead') of the game. I think they've got some goodies up their sleeve though.
    Think about the iOS integration with Mac OSX. You're on your desktop, and you pinch to get to your Launchpad of apps. I see them integrating this into their mobile iOS as well: a home screen with custom apps/widgets/information/etc and you 'pinch' to get to launchpad - your own drawer of applications. This would be HUGE.
  • That is very similar to what Android has now, except it is touching a specific region, not a universal gesture, to open up the applications launcher.
  • I can definitely see Apple implementing what you mentioned on the iPad due its bigger screen and more immersive experience. On the iPhone, I'm not so sure.
  • Kudos to you for that idea. I'm not a Mac user, so I haven't had the opportunity to see that in action. I think that'd be a fantastic idea that I could totally get on board with.
  • Not sure about this one, but I think the way they have it is simple, and I love simple things, I can't really see a way better layout(I'm not a designer, so there might be space for improvement). The current Home screen "Just Works" - don't we all want this ?
    As a developer, I would love to have some new things to write code for, but time will tell, I just don't want the Home Screen to become a jungle.
  • Yes, it just works. And that is what people want. But android's are at a point now where they "just work" and they include a ton more functionality to their OS. I love my iPhone a lot. But I can't help looking at android phones and playing with them because of how much more you can do with them.
    Apple needs to step up their game and innovate again. I feel like we really haven't seen anything "new" since the iPad 2 was released.
  • I'd agree with Brett. A friend has a real new Android phone, and it is quite interesting to see all it can do out of the box.
    I really love my iPhone, but have finally begun to think seriously about a jailbreak as it would open up so much more functionality. Much of this is really nothing new, the technology has been around for some time, in some cases years, but for some insane reason Apple feels the need to restrain its customers. I think Android has achieved the point where they are getting ahead of Apple in this way.
    And then there's the larger screen size thing...
  • Well, I personally am not a fan of Android's home screen. It is more cluttered that iOS and it takes a few taps to get to a list of all your apps. Some people may like it, but I'm good with how iOS does it.
  • Stop spreading this crap. One tap of the app launcher icon gets your apps and your home screens can be as cluttered or as clean as you want them to be.
  • If implemented well, I wouldn't mind seeing apps have the ability to shrink down to the space of 4 squares instead of 1 icon square as they do now, and displaying a bit of information. I'd ALWAYS want the current 1 square icon to be the default, but for certain apps, it would be nice to have larger options with a bit of info. Maybe a weather app that has the ability to shrink down to a 2x2 square showing weather for the next few hours, or a calendar app shrinking down to a 2x2 square showing upcoming events. For social media and phone apps, this could be especially handy.
  • I see no real reason Apple should change the basic functionality of the UI. That being said I personally wouldn't mind live (animated) wallpaper that would provide some sparkle and possibly gdisplay some basic info like time and weather.
    I would like time and weather to be displayed on the lock screen at all times so I don't have to swipe and tap 3 times then wait for the temp to update.
  • Time is always on the lock screen and had been since 2007
  • Not weather. I would LOVE weather on the lock screen.
  • Having a "live" weather widget running puts a real strain on the battery. I have the Android and when I first got it, I put the weather widget on one my home screen, thinking this would come in really handy, but I realized after a week or two that not only was the battery was draining very quickly, but the phone was acting sluggishly. I was ready to return the phone and get the iPhone (which I should've gotten in the first place), but then I started digging around the phone's settings and found a handy tool that shows you which programs were using the most resources and battery power. Lo and behold, the weather widget was way up at the top. So, I shut the thing down and noticed immediately that not only did the battery last much longer, but that the phone itself started speeding along as it should've.. Be careful with those "live" widgets - they're resource and battery hogs.
  • Yes please
  • As a proud user of Android (Galaxy Nexus) and iOS (iPad 2) I can say that it does indeed need a revamp.
    But not just for the heck of doing it.
    As stated in the article, iOS needs to bring more functionality to the table.
    I know that Apple wants to keep things simply, but people aren't quite as dumb as iOS would suggest. Sure, they may not need to see all the files in their device, but they are capable of learning to adjust to new interfaces if done correctly.
    I say this because I've personally set up Android phones for everyone I know that gets one. I ask them what they will use it for and adjust widgets and settings based on their preference.
    Now doing this takes time, but in the end, I don't have them calling me with a lot of questions about their device later.mand once shown, they usually change things later.
    People should have a desire to learn about their devices, not just have something dumped in their lap. For those that do, Apple has given them that.
    And now that they have, it's time for Apple to step up and prepare to re-educate. Introducing new interfaces can be made simple, yet still make you feel like a adult.
    Im sure when Apple does eventually update things, it will be awesome.
    Just hope its sooner than later.
  • i have a Galaxy Nexus and iPad 2, too. And I'm pretty much in your same boat. People ask me for buying advice and setup assistance and tech support questions. And I agree with what you're saying.
  • Totally agree, Thomas. I also have an Android (Galaxy Note). Apple needs to revamp.
  • "I know that Apple wants to keep things simply, but people aren’t quite as dumb as iOS would suggest."
    Well stated.
  • Landscape Home screen support for iPhone. please and thank you.
  • Apple has always been fearless when it comes to driving the future. They obsolete hardware and software often faster than the market itself. Is it time for Apple to apply that fearlessness to the iOS Home screen? Fearless? They are usually the last to adopt something ala 3g then lte. Yes apple needs to revamp the home screen but not just to do it. Let users choose how they want to arrange their icons and not be stuck with the grid layout.
  • Yes,
    steal androids home-screen layout and make it better.. lol
  • I think Apples approach to a new UI is like a woman getting a haircut... If the haircut does not enhance, improve and showcase the persons appearance based on "their" opinion, then it won't happen. Same with Apple. If the iDevice is not bettered in Apple's opinion, the change won't happen. Whats my opinion? The same as Apple's. Make it better then yes otherwise don't touch it! Although my toaster, vacuum and stereo could use a better interface, no?
  • Wouldn't want anything that's going to cause the battery life to suck like on Android. I'd rather be able to use my phone than look at moving wallpapers and pointless widgets. It's not too much trouble to tap on the app to see the weather or the score on a game.
  • NEWS FLASH: Using widgets and live wallpaper on Android is optional, not a requirement.
  • Not sure I agree about the things that drain the battery - Apple's implementation of app switching is dead on for that reason. I have several Android friends who know how to turn things off when they need extended battery life. I also have several friends who don't understand why their phones' batteries are dead by the end of the day. If you implement a feature that negatively affects the battery life - particularly one that doesn't really enhance usability, like animated wallpaper - you will invariably get negative feedback from users who use the feature and are unhappy about battery life.
  • Wow great break down Rene!
    I'd like them to do some sort of hybrid of the live tiles of WP7 and the current iOS home screen.
    Maybe they can give you one "home" screen that has widgets/tiles that show something basic. Then you have the standard spring board. So from left to right swiping you have; search, home, apps, apps, more apps.
    Maybe Apple comes up with something even cooler we can't even think of yet.
  • The UI is fine. But if I had to personally pick some must have changes:
    Auto correct - Holy crap is it bad. Steal Android's.
    The notification drawer is almost pointless. Why? Because there is nothing showing that there are notifications waiting other than the icon badges, which may be on a page you rarely scroll to. This could easily be addressed with a tiny icon next to the time. Dump the tacky red icon badges and throw them all into the notification drawer. It would be a small change, but would greatly improve how we use the device.
    Does anyone else feel the system sounds are stuck in 1998? Every time I hear that goofy old lock or woooooosh email sent sound I think how silly they are to be on this sleek and fancy modern device.
    Access to the system files, or even just space for use stored files, would be great. I still feel like I have to jump back on my PC to do something through iTunes far too often.
    This got way too long.
  • I have yet to have a problem with the AutoCorrect... what's so bad about it? The people I DO see struggling with it are often spelling their intended words SO badly, AC can't even guess at what they mean.
  • Don't know about him, but for me, when chatting with friends, autocorrect worked ok. When sending business related texts and emails, with numerous acronyms and obscure company names, it's flat out terrible.
  • Don't like the sounds then change them. They gave u that control so use it. Except for lock screen sound unchangeable
  • Re: " those for whom technology has traditionally been intimidating and inaccessible, the familiarity of experience is a huge feature."
    Apple has worked relentlessly to reduce the tension between those two words: "technology" and "experience." In iOS, finally, there's almost nothing between you and your apps / music / videos / information. iOS gets out of the way as quickly as possible. No wasted motion. No useless clutter.
    Apple shouldn't do anything to increase the visual and functional complexity of the basic home screen. In many Apple apps, and in iOS itself, there is the basic default mode plus an advanced mode that "power users" can access. For example, the Notification Center window shade. It's there if you want it, but not there if you don't.
    Simple really is better. For every so-called "power user" there are 100 casual users who just don't care about trying to out-geek each other. Do the math.
  • ...and nothing would force those casual users to use widgets, just like they are not forced to use notification center.
  • The "math" tells me it is more like a thousand to one.
  • I think it's time for a homescreen refresh, yes. Something.
    As far as Siri - I'm so sick of hearing about that crap. And I definitely don't want any updates that will be Siri-driven, with regards to overall functionality and Home screen usability. That would basically eliminate all devices except for the 4s.
    I'm not expecting anything drastic or revolutionary... more along the lines of their pet "evolutionary" tagline. Miniscule UI changes, and more "inspirations" from the jailbreak community. With Apple's dedicated fanbase, the next iPhone should be guaranteed the top spot among individual phones, from a sales perspective. For me, if it looks like a bit of tweaking the same ol' same ol' - even though that's not automatically a bad thing or step backward - I'm not even going to entertain the thought of picking one up. Especially if there aren't some key functionality holes being plugged.
  • If it not revamp the iOS. The WOW factor is gone and Windows Phone will decimate the platform... Another battle lost. Again. Just like with the desktops OS. It seems Apple will never learn.
  • Good article! Yes, I'd like a bit more please. Pages of apps in folders scrolling like the home screen. #1 desire, even if nothing else changes. Weather icon updates with local condition and temp. Live icons for other applications, though unlikely because this means keeping the app in the background. Lock screen widgets for weather and stocks. Allow the notification widgets to be displayed transparently over the home screen like the time and date are now. API for notification widgets so non-Apple devs can make widgets.
  • Forgot the other very important one I'd like to see:
    - Dedicated icons for settings. I'd like to see a landscape view of the settings app that is just toggle icons, but would be happy to have the ability to save icons to the home screen that show the current state of the settings, e.g., the icon shows WiFi and either OFF or ON.
  • Just jailbreak and have it right now! All you ask for and more is already available to you via jailbreak through Cydia.
    Come in. The water's warm!
  • Yes a refresh is necessary. I've only had my 4s for 6 months and I'm already sick of it. It takes too long to get to essential settings like wifi or Bluetooth I want to be able to have that control on my phone no matter what app I have open, where I'm at in my app pages or what I'm doing. Make it happen apple. And some animated backgrounds would be nice too. Also add the option to disconnect from a wifi network without having to forget it or turn off wifi. That's very annoying
  • On off widget for 3G Bluetooth etc would be good
  • thats why you get an android phone :)
  • I just need multiple email signature support. How the hell Apple hasn't added this feature in, especially with the enterprise insurection they have, I have no idea. How the heck can Apple argue that one signature is enough for both personal emails and corporate emails, especially if you have more than two accounts set up. WTF Apple!?!
  • +1
  • As a former owner of an Android phone, I was never a big widget fan because they seemed to just drain battery life and often made my home screens look unorganized. I agree with the fact iOS could do something new with their home screen, but simply copying a competitor is not true Apple style (minus stealing GUI for the Apple II), they need to do what they do best, and that's to re-invent the home screen as only Apple can.
  • There is this guy over at you tube look for him as Janmike34 it show ios improvements and apple hired him a while back. I think those improvements would be cool!!! Tell me what you think!!!! Thanks.
  • Personally I don't spend much time looking at the home screen so I think it is fine just the way it is. Over the years I've used a multitude of Unix Window Managers (that had widgets before any other OS), Windows with various Widget add ons, Mac OS Dashboard, etc and I don't find myself using or looking at the various widgets very often at all.
    I quite like the Notification Centre though and especially having multiple alerts showing on the lock screen (finally!). Apple seem to have got the swipe gesture for that spot on as it always works perfectly unlike the similar swipe up from the bottom edge on my Touchpad.
    If anything I think a double-tap on the home button for the multi-tasking bar was a mistake and putting the music and other controls on two panels to the left of that bar is clunky. Now we have the Notification Center with widgets of sorts, those controls should go on the Notification Center and the multi-task bar should be activated with a swipe up from the bottom edge with another swipe going to the home screen (the iPhone screen is too small for the multiple finger gestures like on the iPad, which I do like as well though)
  • You're not suppose to spend that much time on the home screen. It's like a computer, sit down and launch the apps u need
    to do what you want, edit video, play game, browse web, email, work.
    Nobody sits at their stairing at their computers desktop screen all day.
    The iPhone is meant to be put down and pick it up for a call, text, email or when you need to do some mobile computing. Basically a tool. Nerds will never get this sadly.
    Instead of playing with the U.I. I rather Apple work on some key APIs and core services at the Unix level.
  • "Tool" or not, on every computer I've ever owned I can personalize and organize the desktop pretty much however I want. It's not just a preference thing. My needs are not the same as everybody else in the world, so this ability makes my computing experience more efficent.
    And again, if you don't want this ability for whatever reason, you don't have to use it. I just don't understand why so many people try to justify the lack of updates.
  • def need to change it up. i love apple for the fact that they made a phone that works and works very well with decent battery life and build quality.
    that being said, android is figuring out how to optimize and bc of their own "in house" competition btw companies, the experience keeps getting more and more impressive.
    why are we still locked into a grid for icons, and then can't move the icons anywhere in the grid? the dock can be SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL.
    some would say JBing a device is pointless with iOS5, but honestly, there is so much to be able to do and be done faster with a JB. this NEEDS to be accomplished inside vanilla iOS to keep up with phones that come out more than once a year (every other phone)
  • I don't want widgets and won't use them as they create clutter and waste battery (not to mention data for some folks who haven't got unlimited)
    But yes they should be added as an option
  • As a Windows Phone user and advocate I hope this comes across as I intend.
    Honestly, I don't think iOS needs a huge overhaul. People still absolutely love the icon grid based homescreen. There are tens of millions of new iPhone users every quarter who feels the screen is "fresh."
    I say until software advances allow for features that the current icon system flat out can't adapt by adding a layer to it then stay the course.
  • Yes it's time.
  • I completely understand about the need to keep things familiar/user friendly. However, Apple needs to branch out to some of us that DONT want the same thing over and over. I see no reason that iOS couldn't function similar to its current form while offering the ability for advanced users to modify their own UI some...
  • A connected device should be capable of utilizing live data apps (widgets). Siri should be able to launch apps and change settings.
  • I don't picture them changing the Home Screen because it's so automatic and recognizable. Rather, they would probably improve the lock screen or create a screen after the lock screen but before/separate from the Home Screen. But if they did that they would probably connect this new screen with multitasking, Siri, and notification center.
  • all in all....
    i agree in a few things.
    1/1000 power users.
    familiarity do breed contempt to some...maybe power-users.
    Apple do unfortunately restrict what actually can be done on a "virgin" iphone....
    but then, maintaining an order is how Apple catapulted to No.1
    IMHO, power-users shud go Android.
    why complain till netherlands when u love Apple?
    its a pure "love & hate" relationship.
    Apple is a product u love to hate & still cant get enough of!
    maybe a live wallpaper will work wonders.
    if not....
    then JB!
  • It is definitely time for a refresh. The iOS homescreen is too simple; it is harming the UX for myself and every person I know that uses an iOS device. Every iOS device I've seen is just a mess of icons. People can't find anything past the first home screen and they don't bother to organize it because it is such a chore. It probably took me 2 hours to organize the 200+ apps I have since you have to drag them one by one -- and doing so across home screens is flat out clumsy, especially when the other apps are constantly shuffling around and moving to other home screens. Spotlight should be accessible from anywhere. I have never seen anyone use it on iOS, I've maybe used it twice. the problem is that its annoying to use. No matter where you are, you have to back up to the home screen and swipe right. On the Android/Windows Phone people use it all the time because its easily accessible from anywhere. Since it as introduced, I've probably used spotlight twice.
  • Apple really needs to add new things to the iOS. They should really get ideas from the cydia devs or buy their damn tweaks and apps. I like jailbreaking but its a hassle sometimes. iOS needs toggles for wifi, 3G, BT, location services and so on…. Toggles is the main feature I want! You should also be able to put unlimited apps in a folder and a folder within. I hate being limited to 12 apps per folder. I miss 3G unrestrictor when my iPhone 4s was jailbroken. I miss being able to make FaceTime calls over 3G and downloading large mb apps over 3G. How about the built in YouTube app…? Off wifi the quality is horrible. 3G unrestrictor fixes those issues and more. I also miss iblacklist. I remember having those old flip flop phones back then which had iblacklist features built in. Why can’t iOS have that?!!!! Damn… I just wish official iOS had these features and more like when my phone was jailbroken. ( SBsettings, winterboard, 3g unrestrictor, folderenhancer, five icon dock, igotya, iblacklist, and way more!!!!! There are plenty of useful cydia tweaks and apps that should be intergrated with ios. Apple really needs to start working hard on iOS 6 of they want to stay on top….I don't want to jump ship in the future at all.
  • How about Apple starts with the basics? Multiple email signatures and the ability to attach files from within the email application - what genius ideas, huh?
  • Yes, yes, and yes.
    Every time I hear someone go on about the "simplicity" of iOS giving the best "user experience", I stop and realize most things are quicker and easier on Android.
    Here it is, 5 years since the first iPhone came out and iOS looks exactly as it did in 2007, dated, stale, old. And I love my iPhone, I just couldn't stand it if it wasn't for the jailbreak. Apple still hasn't given us a notification icon, widgets, or any customization other than the background wallpaper. For a company so focused on design like Apple, I can't understand why they are content to have the most dated looking OS on the market.
    iOS 6 better be revolutionary or I believe we'll see more and more people jumping ship to Android and Windows Phone. If it's just some more tweaks, along with a bigger burden of the horrid home button by adding triple clicking to access the new feature, well then I'm out as well.
  • i dont need widgets, but i would like the option of maybe a few stock ones. id really like to have my upcoming calendar events and weather on my homescreen (what i miss most about BB OS5). my most wanted feature is just to be able to arrange the icons as i please instead of the static grid. i can arrange them how i please because im jailbroken, but i dont want to have to jailbreak for such a small feature that seems like common sense?
    i would def like to see some additional functionality on the homescreen, but dont want my iphone to suffer the pains of android.
  • iOS throughout the years have given what people have been craving for.
    iPhone OS 2 - the App Store and its apps
    iPhone OS 3 - Cut, Copy, and Paste
    iOS4 - "Multitasking"
    iOS5 - Better Notifications
    With these in mind, I guess it's safe to say that Apple just keeps innovating. I can't wait for the introduction of iOS 6.
    I don't really see a reason for Apple to revamp the Home Screen.
    However, since seeing the BB10 design for the first time, I think Apple can incorporate widgets by specifying a dedicated Home Screen for them. Four per page (scrolling like the Flipboard for iPhone fashion).
  • I've been roundabout and then some. Had the OG iPhone then jumped to a Palm Pre. Now on second Android Gnex. With the iPhone being able to see all my apps was great. Then I got the Pre and had a clear screen with the apps just tap away in the app draw. Now with the Gnex I still have the app draw if I need a certain app. If I have need of it regularly I place it on the home screen as a standalone icon or organized in a folder for easy convenience. Of all of them I still love WebOS. The idea of synergy with calendar and email was brilliant.
    If Apple would come to a hybrid of both Android ans WebOS it could knock it out of the park. Let me have the clean look I want with the ability to put what I need at my touch.
  • Things I want in iOS 6
    1. Adding a photo/video to a new album actually moves the file instead of it making a copy, If it doesn’t please allow me to delete the photo/video from the camera roll instead of forcing me to have two copies using precious space unnecessarily.
    2. Upload email attachments from all third party apps with new API,
    Right now if you are typing an email and decide you want to send a picture you have to go to photos app, copy the photo, then back to email and paste inside the email. (Sparrow is awesome)
    3. Allow us to assign third party apps as default apps- Sparrow could be my default mail client and that would fix the problems with #2
    4.Better App to App integration for third party apps with General Integration APIs.. The current URL Scheme is an outdated archaic method for developers to support the bigger the app ecosystem gets. It is also stupid that Apple themselves barely supports it outside of a few areas.
    Currently, if I want to upload a photo to Dropbox, I have to go through DB first, I should have the option to send the photo to multiple places from within the photos app.
    I guess tracking the URL handle for these apps is to much trouble for Apple. Yet, its been this way for awhile despite numerous of developers request to bring out something better because it is the same level of pain in the ass ass for developers to find other app URL handles and Apple still hasn’t. Unlike Android and the upcoming Windows 8, Windows RT & Win Phone 8 that handles the sandboxing better with better API level integration this leaves iOS to feel less like the unified OS that it should.
    5. iCloud file system for documents like Mountain Lion, this would could replace a third party file management app I use. Depends how robust iCloud file system is tho. As well as if I can control to upload things at random. Also could replace DropBox for myself, again just depends on its usefulness.
    6. Widgets for those that want Widgets. NO HOME SCREEN WIDGETS!! Notification Center only, do pages akin to iOS home screens and let people put widgets on there. This is the perfect place because they are always accessible from any app without leaving the app.
    7. For those that want notifications and widgets on Lockscreen let them be able to access it in the settings and let them choose what to have broadcasted there. I don’t want email, texts or any info I consider private there. Let me choose not to have it there, while the teenagers that want it can have it because they don’t care about privacy or receive sensitive information.
    7. iPad to get Mountain Lion like Notification Center. The current look for it on the iPad just doesn’t look right at all. Picture how god damn awesome it would be to gesture the right side of the iPad home screen, sliding the home screen right to reveal Notification center and pages of widgets on the right. (If not at least make notification center with of the iPad screen. It looks dumb as hell being half the size of the screen when you pull it down.)
    8. API standard to standardize third party Gaming Controllers. iOS is the king at mobile gaming, Apple is really stupid not to take advantage of this and release a standard for apps to use. If not just release their own controller.
  • Siri is a red herring for user interfaces. Are you going to talk to your phone in the office? No. Are you going to talk to you phone at home with people listening? No. Are you going to talk to your phone on the street? No.
    Then... it often takes 30 - 60 seconds to respond, if at all due your net connection. As a user interface "replacement" it's DOA.
  • The ability to theme, landscape on the phone, and from the jailbreak world, sbsettings type toggles, and the ability to choose placement of icons. But overall, the basic design of the home screen is so elegantly simple, I doubt they will change it. Widgets would be nice, but because of the space they take I doubt we'll see them.
  • I am perfectly happy with my 4S and think the next major push for Apple should be improving the technology regarding battery life. It's one thing to have all these cool features, but having to plug my phone in twice per day is becoming annoying, to say the least. I would even settle for some small amount of increase in size to accommodate a longer-lasting battery...
  • Basicaly apple needs to put a Cydia style 'tweak store' and control what goes in so it's not illegal or can damage your device. This would make it awesome so you could have themes,sbsettings etc
  • Meh... I'm still more or less happy with the current UI. The last of my major gripes with iOS itself were sufficiently addressed with 5.0. I still have the original iPhone, and even tho it's 5 years old (and still works fine), the home screen isn't very different to the one on my iPhone 4, besides the obvious vastly superior speed and screen resolution of the 4 (let alone the 4S). Part of me likes that. One man's stagnation is another man's consistency, I guess. That said, it could stand a bit of improvement, like any OS. Three main things I'd like to see happen when it comes to the UI: Widgets on the notification shade, out of sight and out of mind until you need them; then you can just pull it down and access whichever controls you've placed there (e.g. Wi-Fi, BT, 3G, etc.). I know that sounds really Android-y, but I love that feature on my Galaxy Nexus; it's really practical 'cos you can always access the widgets via the notification shade, no matter which app you're in. I don't go too crazy with widgets on Android either as I like to keep things neat and organized. I'd like the icons to stay put wherever I move them, and not keep moving to the left, so that I can't arrange them any way I want to. I'd like to arrange all the icons on one side, or maybe with some in top and others on the bottom in certain screens. This is another thing Android can do that I like. It's not a major deal, just one of my little pet peeves about iOS. I'd like to have a bit more control over where and how the notifications appear. Phone calls, texts, and e-mails show up fine, but some apps still have no way of displaying a notification other than a little red numbered dot, requiring you to go hunting for it (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this). Good thing I don't have pages and pages of apps. It's better than nothing, and it's way better than the old pop-up system, but I'd like Apple to expand on the current notifications somewhat and allow us a little more options and control over how we receive them. Everything else I'd like to see Apple do with the next iPhone has more to do with the screen size (4 inches, no more, no less is all I ask), which is more of a hardware thing rather than software. Plus the usual stuff (longer battery life, better reception, camera improvements, etc.). Oh, and if they're going to insist on having a glass back, they should at least make it do something useful, like become a secondary touch surface (for scrolling one-handedly using your index finger on the back of the phone with the screen facing you, so your fingers & thumb stay out of the way. This might be useful in some games too), or maybe put a solar panel back there so we could lay the phone face down in the sun (e.g. on the dash of a car) and charge it that way. Just some thoughts...
  • I do really like the layout of the iPhone and it's simplicity. But maybe it is time for a little bit of a refresh just to keep the long time users like myself interested in the platform. But for me a little more like windows phone rather than android would be better.
  • The thing is that iOS has ALWAYS been behind the competition with important functionality. From documents to cut and paste to multitasking to notifications to customizations.
    I'm sure they have planned on updating the home screen for years, however by holding out as long as possible they are able to give users a reason to update to a new model when they finally do, and then claim that they had to "perfect" the feature first or some other bs. That seems to be the way they operate. It has worked well for them over the past 5 years, and people have such short memories these days that it probably won't hurt them as much as it should in the long run. But many people like myself got fed up enough that we moved on and aren't looking back.
  • i've been using iphones since 2007... and i must admit, i do get bored with the interface... i've had original iphone, 3GS, 4, now 4S... and i've switched away a few times... Nexus One, even BB 9700... but always ended up back, and missing that apple fluidity and "it just works" aspect of iOS...
    right now i'm using a Galaxy Nexus, and ICS (android 4.0) is a refreshing change... but i'm thinking i might get bored with that too... but time will tell... as refreshing and new and different as ICS is, in some ways, has some better features than iOS... what it does miss, even with dual core processors, is that DIRECT link between my inputs and the OS's output... there's this small but perceivable lag with Android... and although the latest hardware helps, it's still not as fluid as iOS, even on ICS...
    while i'm using a Nexus w/ ICS right now, I can't wait for iphone 5(?) and iOS 6... i'm really hoping for something revolutionary from Apple to change the game yet again... ICS is getting there, but rather slowly... Windows Phone is trying, but missing the mark I think... and Blackberry 10 shows some promise, but way too early to tell at this point... remains to be seen what apple has up their sleeve for iOS 6... even if i'm bored with iOS's current interance, i still think they rule in terms of user experience... that solid connectivity between user and interface
  • ^This. I totally agree. I just got a Galaxy Nexus too, and I'm already sending it back to Google after only having had it less than a week (it's the unlocked GSM variant). I like the look and feel of 4.0 ICS, but I've been having the exact same issue with it lagging, crashing, and freezing up. It's kinda good to know I'm not the only one experiencing this. The first day I had it, it was fine, more or less. The second day, it started crashing and lagging pretty badly; this was with no other apps running and no widgets or live wallpapers going. It did this right out of the box, before I even had a chance to put any apps on it. This was exactly why I went thru two Samsung Vibrants, and then gave up and got my iPhone 4; and yet even on the Galaxy Nexus running 4.0.4 it's still a problem. Google really need to get on this and fix it. They've got a great OS but it still feels lacking in the overall UX. There are things that annoy me about iOS, but at least my iPhone rarely crashes or lags. I always wanted to get an unlocked GNex, as it's supported directly by Google, so it's arguably the flagship Android device. But even on a brand-new device with the latest and greatest software, it still lags pretty badly, esp. in the browser. It still randomly crashes and kicks me out of whatever app I'm in. Every time I tried to play a YouTube video, it crashed. Every time. It still freezes up (it's already done it once or twice, which is unacceptable from a brand-new device). The last straw for me was when it dropped a phone call due to randomly rebooting itself (just like my Vibrant did). My almost-2-year-old iPhone 4 has NEVER done this. So, I'm done with Android, until Google fixes it. I don't know why it's doing this, and I don't really care anymore. I'm tired of messing with it trying to fix it. I shouldn't have to on a brand-new device right out the box. Again, this is with zero other apps running, and no widgets. So I'm sending it back to Google, which is a huge disappointment as I had been really looking forward to the Galaxy Nexus. I love the big screen and far greater customization options. I hate having to go back to this tiny screen on my iPhone. And yeah, iOS's UI is getting a bit old now. But in everyday normal use my old iPhone 4 is just more stable and reliable.
  • "too," are you kidding.
  • Rene,
    It seems you haven't spent much time with WP7, which is fine. But you greatly over simplified WP tiles. You're correct that they displayed limited information, but you missed the fact they deep link into applications.
    Tiles are meant to more informative than static icons, but not as data intensive (battery) or sometimes messy as widgets. Therefore they have the familiarity of icons, but display more information.
    Widgets are standalone applications which are independent from a/the main application. Tiles are almost like cards in the fact that they are extensions of the main application, not separate applications. For i.e. a weather tile for a specific city will take you to that city in the app when you click on it. A lot of WP Apps allow you to pin specific application information to a tile. i.e. the USA Today app allows you to pin specific sections of the paper. The tile displays headlines for that section. When you click on the tile you go to that section, not the headlines entry point.
    Tiles are kind of a hybrid between icons, widgets and cards. Good or bad that's up to the user, but they are different.
  • That's pretty much what I said :)
  • Add the ability to add widgets (as in a live weather widget) on a 4-4.5 inch screen and iOS will bring me back home. I hate Android, I'm a former BB user, I had been an iPhone 4 owner, and I'm currently using WP7.5 (Nokia Lumia 900). Even a larger screen will bring me back - but widgets would be the icing on my cake!!!
  • I want them "too" change a few things about it. I came from android and I miss my app drawer and customizable home screens. :(
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  • PLEASE give us options to upgrade home screen!! I covet Android's custom home screen/widgets etc.
    Bored to death!!!!
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