One of iOS’s most limiting aspects is its icon-driven interface. iOS’s default interface, the homescreen, it simply a grid of equally sized icons, and while these icons are pretty, they all look pretty much the same. Worse, they are dumb: they can’t do anything cleverer than pin a badge to themselves to convey information.
Compare that to the way Android or Windows Phone handles the homescreen. In Android, you can pin intelligent widgets along with apps to the homescreen; in Windows Phone, the tiles operate not just as app icons, but as smart widgets that can convey to the user changes that are happening within the app, even when it’s not as open.
iOS users have been clammoring for Apple to figure out a way to make the iOS homescreen smarter for quite a long time, and this concept video describes one possible interpretation, which mixes up the iOS homescreen with Android’s widgets and Windows Phone’s Live Tiles.
The video is by Max Rudberg, who explains:
In this concept, an app icon can be resized from 1×1 to 2×2 or 4×2. The increased size can house widget like functionality and provide easy access to core features of that particular app. For example, you could expand the Settings icon into a widget with a brightness slider, and quick toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, Personal Hotspot and Do Not Disturb.
It’s a nice concept, but the thing that sticks out to me seeing it all in action is that Apple would never implement widgets like this. It’s just too messy; it introduces the chaos of an OS X desktop to the meticulous geometric order of iOS, in which everything is sandboxes and every single line means something.
Apple will likely eventually cave and introduce widgets in some capacity to iOS, but when they do, I imagine they will do so with a Dashboard-like implementation, in which widgets exist not on the homescreen but within their own little sandbox. What do you think?