Proof-of-concept ports Leopard's icon stacks to iPhone (video)

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
One iPhone developer looking to expand the capabilities of the iPhone's home screen has demonstrated to AppleInsider a working proof-of-concept that implements the Stacks features of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard into the iPhone's Springboard application.



Appropriately dubbed "Stack," the project was conceived back in the early days of iPhone hacks through a basic implementation of Mac OS X Leopard's 'Stacks' feature that allows iPhone users to keep a quick-launch list of their applications in their handset's dock. It was written by Irish developer Steven Troughton-Smith.



"The first iPhone OS device released in Ireland was the original iPod touch, which, then, sported a pretty semi-transparent Dock with reflections. I had known that I wanted to develop for the iPhone OS as soon as it was announced, but it was only on reception of my first device that I saw what I wanted to create," he told AppleInsider. "The iPod's Dock was so alike the Leopard Dock that I just had to try to create an implementation of Leopard's 'Stacks' feature for the iPhone. After some work, and learning about CoreAnimation (then LayerKit) on the fly, the app was ready to run. It was a far cry from perfect, but it worked."



This was October 2007, and several months later when the iPhone SDK was announced it became clear that 'Stack', as the application was called, would not be acceptable for distribution on the App Store due to its nature.



It's been roughly two years since then, and the developer has taken another stab at making his solution more tidy and fluid, and as close to an official Apple implementation as possible. The Stack v3 (demonstrated below) is a ground-up rewrite that turns the plugin into an actual icon on an iPhone's home screen. Users can drag and reorder it anywhere, as they wish, and can also apply a single gesture tap to fan the stack out into a menu of applications that are ready to be launched. To add icons to the Stack, users simply drag and drop them right from the home screen. Stack v3 is now more than just a concept, but only runs on jail-broken iPhones.



"Unfortunately, I can never release this officially, but it showcases one of the awesome possibilities one could have on their iPhone if Apple were to enable a safe and sanctioned way of writing plugins to other applications, or to SpringBoard (the home screen) in particular," Troughton-Smith says. "I can't stand having a Jailbroken device, but it's the only way I have of running Stack. I know many people would enjoy an official 'Stack' feature on iPhone OS, as the several hundred thousand downloaders of the previous version prove."







As can be seen in the video above, Stack v3 makes it possible to launch an additional 15 applications from the handset's primary home screen, or any other page of apps given that it integrates with the stationary dock. Additionally the concept aids in the currently tedious process of reorganizing multiple screens of iPhone apps.



A version of the app run in the iPhone's simulator provides some additional clarity on how Stack v3 functions:



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    I hope Apple hires him
  • Reply 2 of 48
    danielchowdanielchow Posts: 119member
    i think this is a pretty cool idea. he could take this a bit further. for example, have the background fade out when the stack is revealed.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    hiimamachiimamac Posts: 584member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    I hope Apple hires him



    Cool.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,135member
    I agree. The most clever functional extensions to the power of the iPhone is coming from outsiders.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    While I do appreciate the good execution, I don't anticipate that this would actually be that useful. I mean, even with the stacks it's still two taps. With how it is now, if the app is on the second screen, it's still two taps. And I doubt anybody has three full screens of apps that they use really frequently.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    macnycmacnyc Posts: 342member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by icfireball View Post


    While I do appreciate the good execution, I don't anticipate that this would actually be that useful. I mean, even with the stacks it's still two taps. With how it is now, if the app is on the second screen, it's still two taps. And I doubt anybody has three full screens of apps that they use really frequently.



    True, unless if when you touched the icon, you left your finger on it and let it slide to the app you wanted, then it's only one tap.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by icfireball View Post


    While I do appreciate the good execution, I don't anticipate that this would actually be that useful. I mean, even with the stacks it's still two taps. With how it is now, if the app is on the second screen, it's still two taps. And I doubt anybody has three full screens of apps that they use really frequently.



    more than 2? I have 6 screens, and that's when I'm paying attention, I've ballooned to 8+ before. don't assume cause you only have 2 pages, other people must be in the same boat.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by icfireball View Post


    While I do appreciate the good execution, I don't anticipate that this would actually be that useful. I mean, even with the stacks it's still two taps. With how it is now, if the app is on the second screen, it's still two taps. And I doubt anybody has three full screens of apps that they use really frequently.





    Its not always about what is used frequently, I have my pages in categories, games, utilities, etc, so I am always going between pages. I have always thought they should have an up and down direction, up for frequently used, down for newest apps.



    BTW

    I have 7 pages.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Very cool!



    But I'd prefer simplicity. Instead of having some NEW interface, just allow us to make "folders" at will. One tap on the folder gets you 11 pages of icons inside it.



    Or make it a nice round 12
  • Reply 10 of 48
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    plz, put it on cydia



    i'm sure apple thought about it as well, and put it on the road map, maybe this feature would make it into iphone os6. the way they think: "hey, they did not have c+p and still bought it, we put c+p into v3 and they said we are geniuses"
  • Reply 11 of 48
    Look at the big brain on Steven. Sweet.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    olternautolternaut Posts: 1,376member
    See......they should have incorporated this for the 3.0 release. I really can't understand why something so obvious as stacks for the iphone/ipod touch didn't occur to the Apple devs.

    Its kinda annoying to see something this good stuck on a jailbroken iphone by an independant dev. I almost would have tolerated Apple stealing his idea outright if Apple got the feature into the 3.0 release.

    But I can see Apple never allowing such a plugin to be available on the app store as an app to purchase.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    johnnykrzjohnnykrz Posts: 152member
    I would really just like it if you could scroll through the icons on a page.



    That way, I could have categories on different pages and have as many apps in that category as I want. The only one that would fill up is games and it would be a lot easier for me to scroll down the page to view all the games than to go page by page. This solution seems stupid easy and obvious.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    Stacks for the iPhone/iPod touch isn't new. I don't know if it's still available, but it used to be available on Installer or Cydia (can't remember which one), but I suppose it may have been taken down. I had it installed for a while, but wasn't much of a fan of it because the fanning of the stack was a little awkward to use with the iPhone/iPod touch's user interface.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    hezekiahbhezekiahb Posts: 448member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by danielchow View Post


    i think this is a pretty cool idea. he could take this a bit further. for example, have the background fade out when the stack is revealed.



    The UI could have been greatly advanced by such a simple concept in application access. How much cooler would using applications on your iPhone be if you had a scrollable grid (like in snow leopard) that would pop up all your applications, & then a few of your primary favorite apps.



    Then the background could be used for some background notification features, a space where applications could post alerts with short messages regarding upcoming calendar events or subject lines for your 5 most recent e-mails.



    Having your home screen just be taken up by a bunch of icons that display numbers for alerts is really not that great or innovative if you ask me.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    morkymorky Posts: 179member
    Really nicely done. I've wanted something like this and it's great so see it so polished and thought out. I agree with the previous post that Apple should hire this guy.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    it's like Categories from Cydia, except much sleeker and faster to load
  • Reply 18 of 48
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by icfireball View Post


    While I do appreciate the good execution, I don't anticipate that this would actually be that useful. I mean, even with the stacks it's still two taps. With how it is now, if the app is on the second screen, it's still two taps. And I doubt anybody has three full screens of apps that they use really frequently.



    How about if these weren't launchable apps, but currently running apps?



    I.e., a means to switch between running apps in iPhone OS 4, assuming it supported multitasking?
  • Reply 19 of 48
    woofpupwoofpup Posts: 31member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post


    more than 2? I have 6 screens, and that's when I'm paying attention, I've ballooned to 8+ before. don't assume cause you only have 2 pages, other people must be in the same boat.



    He's suggesting you organize your frequent applications (like the ones you'd put into the stack) on your first and second pages for ease of access - regardless of how many pages you have.



    That said, a stack would be accessible from any page, without having to first hit home to go back to the first page if you're on, say, your fifth page.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    I hope Apple hires him



    This and more has already been prototyped.



    Seriously, much of Apple's OS goes through several revisions of prototypes and eventually get either pushed back or removed if they aren't selected for release.



    There is an entire history of this at Apple.
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