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Potential iPhone usability and interface improvements

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
A new series of iPhone-related patent filings touch on some interface enhancements that could potentially find their way into a future version of the handset's operating system, including more immediate access to application settings and interactive notification panel that presents a list of communications missed while the phone is in a locked state.

Global Preferences Dialogs

The first filing, made in December by members of Apple's iPhone software development team, proposes a new global preference pane -- and presumably, an API for developers -- that would allow users to quickly alter settings of one or many applications directly from the home screen, without having to spider their way through the various settings panels contained within the existing iPhone "Settings" app.

This functionality would largely resemble Apple's Dashboard Widgets, and the way their ever-present "i" information icon provides immediate access to settings. In the case of iPhone apps, however, the "i" icon would be hidden from view until the user triggers a multi-touch action that would reveal the icon for all applications on the home screen with user-configurable settings.

"The user interface has a plurality of application icons. In response to a first gesture, the GUI changes the appearances of the application icons whose corresponding applications have user-adjustable settings," the filing explains. "In response to a second gesture on a selected application icon whose appearance is changed, the GUI displays user-adjustable settings of an application that corresponds to the selected application icon. In response to one or more additional gestures, the GUI changes one or more user-adjustable settings of the application that corresponds to the selected application icon."



"Thus," the filing adds, "the invention provides a transparent and intuitive user interface for finding and changing application settings on a portable electronic device with a touch screen display."

Improved Notification of Missed Communications

A second filing, made a few months earlier, discusses improvements to the iPhone's notification dialog that informs users of missed calls, text messages, and voicemails when they're away from their phone or the phone is locked.

Today's implementation is completely text-based, somewhat poorly formatted, and disappears once the user unlocks the handset -- leaving the user to rely on memory and the individual red icon notification badges in order to retrieve and reply to those transmissions.

The iPhone team's filing instead proposes a more properly formatted notification panel -- in one of approximately a half dozen potential layouts -- that would not only remain visible once the phone is unlocked, but actually provide direct links or buttons to the missed communications.



"In response to detecting an interaction by a user with the device, the plurality of icons display notification information for the plurality of communication modalities," the filing explains. "In response to detecting an unlock interaction by the user with the device, the device is unlocked, and a communication in the plurality of communications is presented that was received while the device was in the locked state, or information about the communication is presented."

Such an implementation could become increasingly useful once Apple releases support for global push notifications that will allow third party applications to receive transmissions in the background or when the phone is in a locked state.
post #2 of 73
Actually what would be amazing is if I swiped up on the home screen, and all the icons and the black background above the dock on home screen moved up out of view and the user (me) was presented with On/Off sliders for Wifi / 3G / Edge etc.

Swipe up, slide (or tap) to change, then hit "home", or "done".

I WANT THIS!!!
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post #3 of 73
While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.
post #4 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animaniac View Post

While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.

Because it ruins the simplicity of the phone.
post #5 of 73
I would like to see an icon that tells me off the bat if my phone has been forwarded.. I miss this.... I hate getting an hour away and just realizing that I forgot to un-forward my phone.... (I know it is my issue, but hey....)

I do like the fact that with the latest update, the number you last entered in the phone for forwarding stays there...
post #6 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

Because it ruins the simplicity of the phone.

Huh? It can be hidden behind the black border of the screen, just like the proximity and light sensors. Apple has done this with indicator lights on other products...
post #7 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animaniac View Post

While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.

That sounds annoying to me.
post #8 of 73
My idea is a solution to getting notified about missed items from apps NOT on the current page.

The little gray dot at the bottom of the home page would turn to a little RED dot with a white ting around it (too small for a #) to indicate any pages that contain notification badges.
post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animaniac View Post

While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.

What I can't figure out is that on my iPhone 3G there appears to be 3 LEDs at the top next to the speaker, some of the moulded cases even have openings for them, but they don't seem to be used for anything.
post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

What I can't figure out is that on my iPhone 3G there appears to be 3 LEDs at the top next to the speaker, some of the moulded cases even have openings for them, but they don't seem to be used for anything.

Because they aren't LEDs. Those are sensors to detect your face against the phone to shut off the screen while you are talking.
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

My idea is a solution to getting notified about missed items from apps NOT on the current page.

The little gray dot at the bottom of the home page would turn to a little RED dot with a white ting around it (too small for a #) to indicate any pages that contain notification badges.

Looks as if this patent is meant to address this issue.
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

That sounds annoying to me.

That would be the point of it. And if you don't want it, turn the feature off.
post #13 of 73
I would like to see a better (or simplified) option for Application management/launching. I have over 30 apps spread over 5 home screens. It would be great to have consolidated folders or "Stacks" (or Spotlight? imagine that). One for Games, Readers, Music, Productivity, etc.

Copy/Paste (obviously), a workaround for MMS/Picture messaging, a PDF/Document viewer, and continued stability updates (especially for Mail and Safari). The status LED light is a nice idea, for those who don't like it there would obviously be an 'off' switch. A lot of times I'm just unlocking the iPhone to see if there's any new messages etc., all that extra checking is really a waste of time and precious battery.
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animaniac View Post

While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.

Pulsating lights are tacky. The iPhone's hardware is perfect and slick - Apple like and doesn't need to become fugly like other products out there. For instance, there are only two lights on MacBooks (closed lid and sleeping, and charging on power cord) while there are hundreds of random flashing lights on PCs.
post #15 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirius2k3 View Post

Pulsating lights are tacky. The iPhone's hardware is perfect and slick - Apple like and doesn't need to become fugly like other products out there. For instance, there are only two lights on MacBooks (closed lid and sleeping, and charging on power cord) while there are hundreds of random flashing lights on PCs.

LED indicator lights may be tacky, but people are missing messages because they're not there (screen and vibrate alerts only last a few seconds, after that you're missing it).

At the same time, I can imagine a workaround using the accelerometers: Say the phone is on your desk and there's a waiting alert. When the iPhone detects you picked it up to put it in your pocket etc., it could activate the screen/vibrate with the waiting alert. That way you wouldn't miss the alert, and you wouldn't have to unnecessarily activate the screen before putting it in your pocket.

A decidedly more Apple way of doing alerts, most likely.
post #16 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

That would be the point of it. And if you don't want it, turn the feature off.

The phone does give an audible beep and vibrate when a message comes. Listing the type of message and who the message is from on the opening screen is much more elegant than a flashing light.
post #17 of 73
my biggest interface gripe is that there's no "Edit" button on someone's contact info, if you've accessed it from Phones>Favorites, Phones>Recents, Phones>Voicemail, or Maps.

You have to exit where you're at and then hunt down the person's name again from Contacts or Phone>Contacts, before you can do any edits/updates. Realllly irritating.... I don't know how this slipped through...
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by dburnett1 View Post

I would like to see an icon that tells me off the bat if my phone has been forwarded.. I miss this.... I hate getting an hour away and just realizing that I forgot to un-forward my phone.... (I know it is my issue, but hey....)

I do like the fact that with the latest update, the number you last entered in the phone for forwarding stays there...

That is a good idea. Like one of those missed call/VM stamps on the phone icon, but on the upper left with the letter 'F'.
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post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabsgwu View Post

At the same time, I can imagine a workaround using the accelerometers: Say the phone is on your desk and there's a waiting alert. When the iPhone detects you picked it up to put it in your pocket etc., it could activate the screen/vibrate with the waiting alert. That way you wouldn't miss the alert, and you wouldn't have to unnecessarily activate the screen before putting it in your pocket.

Great idea!
post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabsgwu View Post

LED indicator lights may be tacky, but people are missing messages because they're not there (screen and vibrate alerts only last a few seconds, after that you're missing it).

At the same time, I can imagine a workaround using the accelerometers: Say the phone is on your desk and there's a waiting alert. When the iPhone detects you picked it up to put it in your pocket etc., it could activate the screen/vibrate with the waiting alert. That way you wouldn't miss the alert, and you wouldn't have to unnecessarily activate the screen before putting it in your pocket.

A decidedly more Apple way of doing alerts, most likely.

This is a fantastic idea. Hope Apple was reading . . .

Also, just to weigh in on pulsating lights . . . they are on plenty of other Apple products,
and I consider them quite useful. It's not tacky. But if you think it is, you should be able
to turn it off.
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post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The phone does give an audible beep and vibrate when a message comes. Listing the type of message and who the message is from on the opening screen is much more elegant than a flashing light.

Again a clear example of why the iPhone has not been designed with the business user in mind. My BlackBerry spends most of the day on silent (vibration off as is distracting in meetings). I need the red light to tell me when a new message has been delivered. Most business users will spend a large proportion of their time with a phone on silent, Apple should now this, after all there must be some business people who work for Apple.

Apple could learn a few things if they bothered to ask anybody what they want from their Apple products instead of telling us what we should be doing instead.

I just got my BB Bold this week btw, it is a brilliant phone. For business use it trumps the iPhone in just about every way. The only real thing lacking is decent web browsing and that is well low on the list of things to consider for business use. I can edit documents in word, excel and powerpoint, it has a sharper screen than the iPhone, better battery life, replaceable battery, of course better email, brilliant voice dialing for when hands free and of course a little flashing red light to tell me when I have a message.

Apple could do a lot worse than to buy a BB Bold and try and understand what they need to do to get enterprise market share.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Great idea!

I concur.
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post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirius2k3 View Post

Pulsating lights are tacky. The iPhone's hardware is perfect and slick - Apple like and doesn't need to become fugly like other products out there. For instance, there are only two lights on MacBooks (closed lid and sleeping, and charging on power cord) while there are hundreds of random flashing lights on PCs.

Therefore, by the first and third sentence, MacBooks are tacky.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animaniac View Post

While we're on the subject, why don't we already have an LED that pulsates when there is a missed item? It's the first thing I noticed missing and unlike other shortcomings, I haven't been able to forgive this one.

It doesn't even have to be a separate LED. They could make the Home button itself light up.
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

It doesn't even have to be a separate LED. They could make the Home button itself light up.

An LED light, like the sleep light on the MB, behind the Home Button would be un-tacky, IMO.
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post #26 of 73
They are things like battery life/consumption to consider for some functions...
post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I concur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Great idea!

Thanks! I submitted it to Apple's iPhone Feeback. Let's hope I get a two line response from His Steveness.
post #28 of 73
voice dialing PLEASE!!!

power management settings,
one touch and i can go to my preset battery savings setting
when plugged in goes to another setting automatically
double tap and goes to my midlevel power settings

mute my ipod and auto answer the phone using my earbuds
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post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirius2k3 View Post

Pulsating lights are tacky. The iPhone's hardware is perfect and slick - Apple like and doesn't need to become fugly like other products out there. For instance, there are only two lights on MacBooks (closed lid and sleeping, and charging on power cord) while there are hundreds of random flashing lights on PCs.

hello? have you not seen the Mac Pro, with its single super-elegant-sexy tiny blue LED above the power switch?

That light rocks.

You could put one on an iPhone and it would be awesome under the power button, dead center, one tiny pinspot LED, like the MP, like their BT Keyboard, etc...
post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphster View Post

Again a clear example of why the iPhone has not been designed with the business user in mind. My BlackBerry spends most of the day on silent (vibration off as is distracting in meetings). I need the red light to tell me when a new message has been delivered. Most business users will spend a large proportion of their time with a phone on silent, Apple should now this, after all there must be some business people who work for Apple.

Admittedly I don't work in the business the world so I must ask. A beep is distracting, vibrate is distracting, but a pulsating light isn't distracting?

Keeping in mind that a vibrating phone can be in your pocket. While the phone has to be visible to see the light.

Quote:
Apple could learn a few things if they bothered to ask anybody what they want from their Apple products instead of telling us what we should be doing instead.

Apple has reportedly given the iPhone to various Fortune 500 companies to use and give feedback. So no these choices were not made in an Apple vacuum.
post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

An LED like the sleep light on the MB behind the Hoe Screen seems un-tacky.

In that sense yeah I guess that doesn't seem too bad.
post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The phone does give an audible beep and vibrate when a message comes. Listing the type of message and who the message is from on the opening screen is much more elegant than a flashing light.

So you would prefer to have the screen stay constantly on, even when the phone is in sleep mode.
post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

In that sense yeah I guess that doesn't seem too bad.

I'm surprised you understood what I was trying to say. Using an iPhone for forums replies is not a desktop replacement.
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post #34 of 73
I hope iPhone 3.0 will have new User Interface. But these things have been seen on the Jailbroken phones. The unlock screen with notifications. That's been done before.
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post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

So you would prefer to have the screen stay constantly on, even when the phone is in sleep mode.

Obviously the screen doesn't stay on. It only shows you messages when you wake it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm surprised you understood what I was trying to say. Using an iPhone for forums replies is not a desktop replacement.

I got basics of what you were saying.
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

I hope iPhone 3.0 will have new User Interface. But these things have been seen on the Jailbroken phones. The unlock screen with notifications. That's been done before.

That's not added by jailbreaking. The phone already shows multiple missed messages on the unlock screen. The patent shows it organized a little differently and gives more information about the nature of the message.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Apple has reportedly given the iPhone to various Fortune 500 companies to use and give feedback. So no these choices were not made in an Apple vacuum.

Receiving feedback does not imply that Apple actually acts on it. For example, I find it hard to believe that not a single one of those Fortune 500 companies mentioned support for Tasks or copy/paste.
post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Obviously the screen doesn't stay on. It only shows you messages when you wake it up.

So we are right back to where we started. The point is to have some sort of persistent indicator that is visible even when the phone is locked or in standby mode. That way, the user can just look at the device and see that there was a phone call or message without having to wake the device.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Admittedly I don't work in the business the world so I must ask. A beep is distracting, vibrate is distracting, but a pulsating light isn't distracting?

It is supposed to be somewhat distracting, i.e. you want to be told you have a message. But during meetings, phone conferences, lunches and presentations (i.e. most of my day) You do not want to be making a noise, this is considered very bad form. Many business meetings are fairly casual affairs, i.e. it is not uncommon for people to be checking mail and even sending replies, but the last thing you want is for your phone to be bleeping away constantly for the duration of the meeting. And vibrate can be just as bad, they don't half make a loud noise when rumbling away on a table.

For more serious meetings, i.e. with clients you would turn off your phone anyway.

But can you set the iPhone for silent use and still get beeps for new messages anyway? I do not think you could, So not only is your phone beeping away but also ringing when someone calls you.

BlackBerry it has to be said nailed it with the flashing red LED, it stays flashing for long enough to alert you to new messages but does not flash forever, not sure how long actually but maybe 10-20 seconds. There are some features that cannot be perfected and an only be copied, this I would think is one of them.

The Bold even has a cool as hell function that can be turned on if you want, As soon as I plug the phone into a charge next to my bed for overnight charging it dims the screen and turns off the LED so to give me a break from emails! ;-) very cool.

Quote:
Keeping in mind that a vibrating phone can be in your pocket. While the phone has to be visible to see the light. .

I cannot think of anyone who would put an iPhone or a full size BlackBerry in their suit pocket while sitting in a meeting. Which pocket exactly would you put it in?

Phones in meetings are either in your bag/briefcase under the table or as is usual are sat on the table in front of you. Very rarely in your pocket.
post #40 of 73
Seems to me that these patents aren't doing much in protecting Apple iPhone IP. Look at all these devices coming up this year.
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