Hooray! Rumors and Leaked components are all indicating that we will see a larger screen iPhone 5 FINALLY! We all know this could represent some issues for developers who will have to make better use of the 1136 x 640 resolution screen instead of the 960 x 640 resolution the current model has.
What other sorts of problems might present themselves with this larger real estate to fill? WE all know Apple is all about Apps and the ease in which to locate those apps is just a static icon on the today screen. Currently Apple iPhone owners enjoy 4 rows of icons in the today screen that can be swiped to the left for more icons to present themselves either in plain view or a file folder that can be created and labeled. Across the bottom of the screen is 4 stationary icons that most people leave as the Phone, Messages, Mail and Safari Icons. Of course these can be changed but always remain on whatever screen you swipe through to.
It’s the new larger display iPhone that has me concerned. Already, this today screen layout, while incredibly user friendly is very dated and boring. The only information the icon can render is a number notification. Even the weather app cannot show live weather temperatures. All information needs to be obtained by opening the app itself, or for weather and notifications, swiping down on the notifications bar that is new for Apple. But what about the today screen? Boring! Larger screen means another row of static icons! That’s awesome for some app junkies, but look at the mess the today screen becomes when adding another 4 icons in the rendering above. Is this Apples best solution to making it’s iPhone an integral part of our daily lives?
So what can Apple do? Well, they can turn to Android once again and try to improve on the battery draining, but very useful widget. That seems very unlikely and there have been some rumors that if Apple adopts any type of widget it would be used in the notification center, not on the today screen. The second and most innovative in my opinion is to “adopt” a live icon format similar to that of a Windows Phone Live Tile. Looking at a Windows Phone, the Live Tiles are incredibly intuitive and unique to Windows Phone. They draw minimal power and hence why a Windows Phone can last so long on a single battery charge. Frustratingly, there has not been as fast of developer Live Tile releases as I would have liked. The one that stands out most clearly is the Facebook tile. But the Me Tile, People Hub and Picture Tile all display live information and seems to make every glance at your phone appear real time. Even the HTC Hub displays Live Weather for my location.
While we wait for WWDC and news of iOS6, the rumors indicate a possible update to the today screen with Live Apps, let’s hope this is not just a rumor and something Apple will bring on their next iPhone. Adding more icons to the today screen is not very innovative way to keep the King of the Mountain title. At some point iPhone owners will have to demand more from Apple and not just an icon with a number on it,