This Is The Awesome, Radically Redesigned App Switcher We Want To See In iOS 7 [Gallery]

This Is The Awesome, Radically Redesigned App Switcher We Want To See In iOS 7 [Gallery]

Back when I had a jailbroken iPhone, one of my favorite Cydia tweaks was a hack called Switchy, which came to life based upon an initial forum post mocking up a more advanced app switcher for iOS. I’m hopeful, then, that the same will prove true for this new switcher concept posted over the weekend, which might be the best looking, most attractive and most functional app switcher we’ve seen yet.

The app switcher was posted by Verge user Sentry over the weekend, who imagines an app switcher built from the ground up to keep iOS’s design simplicity while improving functionality.

This Is The Awesome, Radically Redesigned App Switcher We Want To See In iOS 7 [Gallery]

Sentry’s design, like Switchy before it, doesn’t stray too far from Apple’s current “slide up” app switcher, but instead increases the vertical space the app switcher takes up when you double press the home button. Sentry replaces the icons in the switcher with snapshots of the apps that are running, overlaid by their icons, which could allow apps in background mode to act like widgets.

This Is The Awesome, Radically Redesigned App Switcher We Want To See In iOS 7 [Gallery]

The media playback section of the app switcher also gets an overhaul, featuring album art, streamlined controls, a volume slider and more. However, the best part of the new design is the easily accessed section for commonly used settings, like Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G and display brightness.

I love the look of this concept, and if Switchy is anything to go by, we’ll probably see the jailbreak community get this concept up and running in the next month or two. Hopefully an iPhone 5 jailbreak for me to run this tweak on will be here by then.

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  • FriarNurgle

    Apple is the king at holding trump cards. These features will come… in time.

  • Shaun Green

    Why do we always have to jailbreak to get the best apps. Does it really matter if someone comes up with a better way of doing one of the iPhone’s core app functions. Loosen the rains please and give us users more choice without the need to jailbreak. Either that or allow third-party app stores to compete with the AppStore. I’m sure many people would be happy with buyer beware and all that.

  • Hawk_Ky

    I can see having quick access to buttons like bluetooth and wifi, but why do you need to see a picture of the apps that are running? I know what Instagram looks like, what purpose does showing my the picture of the last page I was on do for me? (besides use up RAM I would guess)

  • Whodakat

    I can see having quick access to buttons like bluetooth and wifi, but why do you need to see a picture of the apps that are running? I know what Instagram looks like, what purpose does showing my the picture of the last page I was on do for me? (besides use up RAM I would guess)

    This. Exactly. What purpose would showing me a tiny pic of the app that the icon alone doesn’t show me? Seems like change for the sake of change, and if I wanted that, I’d have an Android phone.

  • Whodakat

    Why do we always have to jailbreak to get the best apps. Does it really matter if someone comes up with a better way of doing one of the iPhone’s core app functions. Loosen the rains please and give us users more choice without the need to jailbreak. Either that or allow third-party app stores to compete with the AppStore. I’m sure many people would be happy with buyer beware and all that.

    It has everything to do with a consistent overall experience. For example, Apple wants all their phones to have similar battery life expectations. They don’t want one person saying they get 8 hours, versus some other person who has a batter sucking change installed to start saying, hey I’m only getting 6! Also, as they custom design down to the minutia, changes like these (that aren’t sanctioned) could lead to errors like not enough memory and so on.

    If stupid changes are what excite you, I suggest an Android. They have much more flexibility in this area.

  • themikereda

    I’m less interested in getting a screenshot of my apps, and more interested in getting swipe-up functionality. If we can swipe-DOWN for Notification Center, why can’t we swipe-UP from the bottom of the screen to reveal the multitasking tray? I can’t think of any apps that I use currently that have that capability. So why not use a simple swiping motion for multitasking and use the home button for some other function?

  • bsteels

    As some have pointed out, I’m not sure what functionality is added by having screencaps of the open apps in the multitasking tray. I am a HUGE fan of quick, easy access to brightness/wifi/bluetooth/etc. And I appreciate that this concept adds greater detail to the Music controls in the multitasking tray.

    I think the Weather and Share Sheet “widgets” in the Notification Center are great, and honestly I really don’t have much desire for widgets beyond them. I’ve found that most widgets don’t offer enough functionality or usability to warrant the added stress on RAM. And I’m still very fond of the clean iOS launchpad.

    That being said, I do think there is still room for iOS to grow. Quick access to certain settings toggles like wifi and brightness is obviously needed. Clearing notifications in the Notification Center needs some work. There’s some little things: I want Apple’s Weather app to have an icon that accurately represents the weather outside. It is not 73 degrees and sunny, so your Weather icon is just taunting me, Apple. I’d like moving hands and the actual time on the Clock app icon. The Calendar icon changes to reflect the day and date, why not expand that idea to Clock and Weather?

    Speaking of Apple apps, please let power users hide certain built-in apps if they desire. I love Newsstand on my iPad, but I will never use it on my iPhone (especially considering the magazines that I subscribe to only have iPad versions, not iPhone versions). So why must it sit there unused and taking up space on my launchpad? Allowing for changes in the default apps would be a good move too. You can hide this away deep inside the Settings app, but the functionality really should be there for those who would seek it out.

    Another area for growth, and this is probably the biggest one in my mind, is to unify and refine the design concepts driving the OS. For example, what differentiates the Notification Center from the Multitasking Tray? Why do I tweet from the Notification Center but control my music from the Multitasking Tray? I do not see why these two quick-access functions would be in two separate locations. Is there really even a need for the 2 separate areas? Couldn’t they be combined into one pull-down menu? Or at the very least, maybe there is a better way to access the Multitasking Tray than a double-click of the home button? It overuses the home button, wearing it out over time. And as it wears out, it loses its consistency and doesn’t work every time.

    What about the overuse of the linen texture? If linen exists “under” the OS as in the Multitasking Tray, why is it also “above” the OS in the pull-down Notification Center? That doesn’t make any sense. Siri’s use of linen makes sense on iPhone, as it appears under the OS, but on the iPad, Siri exists as a pop-up above the OS. Couldn’t Siri have its own texture? Speaking of textures… Apple’s pinstripe wallpaper, used in Settings and some other spots, feels too old-fashioned. This is still a gorgeous OS, but it no longer feels sleek and fresh.

    Apple has been good about addressing issues. Folders was a no-brainer. I’m glad App Store no longer requires me to type in my password for app updates. Even happier it doesn’t kick me out of the App Store when it starts downloading an app or an update. I am very happy with the multitasking and notification, despite the small gripes I’ve listed above. Camera access from the lock screen is huge, as are the new ignore call options. It’s now time for Apple to finally hit some of these smaller areas that have gone overlooked or ignored for too long. With iOS 7, I’m not looking for a dramatic rethinking of the OS. I just want it to be cleaner and more consistent (along with the obvious added functionality that accompanies every iOS update).

  • mr_bee

    I don’t think this is a good design at all. Show thumbnails or show icons, don’t show both. All the icon does is cover up the thumbnail. If you need the icon to distinguish which app is which, then that kind of validates Apple’s current approach of showing the icon instead of the thumbnail doesn’t it?

    The media playback part is almost identical to Apple’s implementation (icon has cover art, so what?), and the shortcuts to settings is something that most people who aren’t geeks don’t care about at all, and is better implemented in the notification screen anyway.

    Overall, this is a complete mess and not very functional at all IMO. Certainly no better than what we have now really.

  • mr_bee

    I’m less interested in getting a screenshot of my apps, and more interested in getting swipe-up functionality. If we can swipe-DOWN for Notification Center, why can’t we swipe-UP from the bottom of the screen to reveal the multitasking tray? …

    This already exists but it’s a four finger gesture and thus only on the iPad.

    Works beautifully on the iPad though. Much better than double-clicking the button.

  • Gavin Blur

    yes

  • technochick

    Please speak for yourself and stop this ‘we’ nonsense.

    Because I think this looks like useless crap and hope that Apple never implements this garbage

  • Daniel09DD

    I’d rather have a second row of opened apps. I’m always working with 5/6 apps and that requires to double click and swipe to switch between some of them. So, showing 8 instead of the 4 usual apps would be be great. And functional – the rest of the screen is useless when multitasking.

    I want a 4 finger app switch like the iPad but only with 2/3

  • DS_Champion

    bsteels makes some great points. As an iPad interface designer I agree that Apple is good at addressing core design functions with sophisticated solutions. That said, the purpose of Sentry’s designs above is clearly centered on offering information at a glance. Forcing the user to TAP then WAIT to get to information is a core flaw that Apple has never successfully evolved past.

    - To get the weather I TAP on the weather app icon, then WAIT to see the results
    - To read emails I TAP on the mail app icon, then WAIT for emails to load
    - To switch tabs in Safari, I TAP on the tab I want, then WAIT for that page to reload

    I think a design-centric company like Apple could learn one thing from Android (which I am not a fan of in any other way) and let me see my weather, see my news, see my emails, my texts, my alerts – without first having to tap then wait for the respective apps to open.

    So looking again at Sentry’s mockups, are these live feeds showing my latest photos from Pinterest, popular Apps in the store, and my actual location on Maps, all in real-time? Probably not – note that neither Safari nor Chrome have been able to put live representations of websites in their launch screens. So assuming the designs above are cached screens of information that is minutes if not hours old, then I agree with Hawk_Ky.. what’s the point?!

    The day these become live updates and I no longer have to TAP and WAIT for every little thing to happen on my iPhone. Great!

  • nthnm

    I would love to have a quicker way to access settings like WiFi and LTE but I don’t care if it shows me a picture of the app when switching. How is this useful?

  • MySkyizBlue

    As some have pointed out, I’m not sure what functionality is added by having screencaps of the open apps in the multitasking tray. I am a HUGE fan of quick, easy access to brightness/wifi/bluetooth/etc. And I appreciate that this concept adds greater detail to the Music controls in the multitasking tray.

    I think the Weather and Share Sheet “widgets” in the Notification Center are great, and honestly I really don’t have much desire for widgets beyond them. I’ve found that most widgets don’t offer enough functionality or usability to warrant the added stress on RAM. And I’m still very fond of the clean iOS launchpad.

    That being said, I do think there is still room for iOS to grow. Quick access to certain settings toggles like wifi and brightness is obviously needed. Clearing notifications in the Notification Center needs some work. There’s some little things: I want Apple’s Weather app to have an icon that accurately represents the weather outside. It is not 73 degrees and sunny, so your Weather icon is just taunting me, Apple. I’d like moving hands and the actual time on the Clock app icon. The Calendar icon changes to reflect the day and date, why not expand that idea to Clock and Weather?

    Another area for growth, and this is probably the biggest one in my mind, is to unify and refine the design concepts driving the OS. For example, what differentiates the Notification Center from the Multitasking Tray? Why do I tweet from the Notification Center but control my music from the Multitasking Tray? I do not see why these two quick-access functions would be in two separate locations. Is there really even a need for the 2 separate areas? Couldn’t they be combined into one pull-down menu? Or at the very least, maybe there is a better way to access the Multitasking Tray than a double-click of the home button? It overuses the home button, wearing it out over time. And as it wears out, it loses its consistency and doesn’t work every time.

    my jailbroken iphone corrects every single problem you have with iOS. Wow, jailbreaking truly transforms the iPhone into the perfect smartphone. or the closest so far. not to mention the customization and added security it includes.

  • murdocke

    prefer switchy plus i’d rather have a kill all apps button than a 3g button -.-

  • Gheedsgreed

    good ideas

  • SavedByTechnology

    I find the “Zephyr” app to be outstanding. It has the capability to switch AND close apps with either a 1, 2 or 3 finger swipe. Well worth the $1.

  • SavedByTechnology

    I’d rather have a second row of opened apps. I’m always working with 5/6 apps and that requires to double click and swipe to switch between some of them. So, showing 8 instead of the 4 usual apps would be be great. And functional – the rest of the screen is useless when multitasking.

    I want a 4 finger app switch like the iPad but only with 2/3

    Try “Zephyr”. It only costs a buck, but is OUTSTANDING.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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