Potential iPhone usability and interface improvements

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,585member
    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!!!
  • Reply 2 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 72
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 72
    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...
  • Reply 5 of 72
    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...
  • Reply 6 of 72
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 72
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 72
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 72
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 72
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 72
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    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...
  • Reply 17 of 72
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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'.
  • Reply 18 of 72
    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!
  • Reply 19 of 72
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 72
    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.
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