In 2007 with the advent of the iPhone, everything changed. No longer was a mobile phone just a phone, but iPhone took the current smart phone category and turned it on its head. Palm Trio? BlackBerry Perl? These rapidly became Fisher Price toys. With the iPhone, you could do email from almost anywhere, but in a far more elegant and sophisticated way. You could also text, and surf the real web, or any number of things to communicate with others.
However, now in 2013 we now have the iPhone 5. Many have complained how the iOS has become stale and that Android is becoming the leader with its interface ideas. Whether that's true or not, one thing is certain: it is time to rethink how we are forced to use our iPhones. For example, if I want to call someone, first I have to launch the Phone app and then find them. If I want to text, I first need to launch Messages or if I want to email someone, I first launch Mail. But is this the best workflow in today's world? What if Apple were to change the iOS from app-centric approach to person-centric one?
At the center of this new world would be your Contacts. From there one can decide what to do. I want to communicate with John and then decide whether calling, tweeting or emailing him is the best way. Communicating with people would start with a person rather than starting with an app. That may sound like sacrilege, but isn't that how we think in the real world? We don't think, "I'm going to get in my car, and once in my car decide where to drive". Instead we think, "I need to go to work, stop by the store and also visit a friend, so the best way for me to do all of that is to drive my car." The best method follows the need. In this case the need is communicating with someone. So why in the iOS world are we forced us to choose the method before the need?
Apple would not have to replace the way apps work today, but rather make Contacts much more robust. Allow us to create iOS icons of people, just like we can in Safari with web pages. If I have an email, a voicemail and two tweets from my brother, a red circle with the number 4 appears next to his icon. When I click it, I can decide whether to read my brothers email, view his two tweets or listen to his boring voice mail. Again the idea is when it comes to communicating with people, the iPhone let's us start with people first rather than the method first. Moreover, instead of seeing I have 15 emails, I can quickly see 10 messages are from my brother, one from my mother and the others from people I don't know or care about. I can then focus on reading messages from the people I care about without sorting through messages I don't care about.
It is an iOS rethink, but it's an idea that could make the iPhone even more unique and more useable.
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