Ever since Apple launched the iPhone, the Home screen has been made up of static icons. The furthest Apple has gone in making it dynamic is the Clock icon, which started displaying the real time in iOS 7.
Meanwhile, competing platforms like Android has widgets, and Windows Phone has tiles that display useful information right on the Home screen so that users don’t have to launch the app to see things like the current weather conditions etc.
Designer Jay Machalani has taken inspiration from Android’s widgets system and Windows Phone’s Live Tiles to create this new concept that shows how Apple could reinvent the Home screen, and make it dynamic and interactive.
In his concept, Machalani shows how the icon could be replaced with what he calls “iOS Block” that turns a simple icon into a larger 2×2 block that’s dynamic and interactive for weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and music controls. The concept shows how users could create block by expanding your fingers on an existing icon on the Home screen.
The Verge who had a chance to speak to Machalani describe it quite well:
Each Block is interactive, delivering live information from your text message history on the Messaging app, or appointments for the Calendar app. Machalani has also created a “swiping and consulting zone” inside each Block that lets you swipe across horizontally to see more information, and tapping on an icon in the lower-left corner of each Block will take you directly into the app. It’s really designed to let iPhone and iPad users see the information contained within apps at a glance. “This would only be the first step to really push iOS forward, but a crucial one to really offer a better solution than opening and closing every single application,” says Machalani.
Machalani’s concept is very much a work in progress. The blocks take up roughly the space of 2 x 2 icons on the iPhone and iPad, and it’s not clear how Block creation would affect and push down other icons and Blocks on a home screen. There’s also a control or tap zone next to the icon on a Block, allowing developers to add tiny buttons or controls for music apps like Spotify where you could potentially control song playback from the home screen. Both of these aspects could be disorientating or frustrating, and Machalani is now inviting developers to imagine what they would want from a Block. He has some guidelines set up to maintain the iOS consistency, but it’s clear this isn’t the ideal solution just yet.
The great thing about the concept is that it seems like a natural evolution of iOS, rather than something radically different that would confuse users. Unfortunately, based on the leaks it seems unlikely that we’ll see something like this included in iOS 8.
Let me know what you think of the concept in the comments below.