A lot of us have our own ideas about what we would like to see at Apple’s WWDC conference today, especially when it comes to iOS 8. And then there’s this guy, who has some very, very specific ideas about what he would like to see.
Jay Machalani is a self-described UX/UI and Branding Architect, and thinks that Apple leans a little too heavily toward simplicity, at the cost of any sort of customization. In fact, it might even be making iOS a little stale. There have been tweaks over time, for sure, but in a basic sense, iOS still looks a lot like what it did at the beginning – a bunch of static square icons in rows, and nothing else.
Machalani advocates shaking it up, just a little bit. His idea is iOS Blocks – icons that can be expanded to give real-time information like Live Tiles would, but also enable direct interaction like widgets on Android would. By pinching an app icon, it would expand to a larger size based on which device you’re using – iPad or iPhone. That would be a fixed size, because hey, iOS can’t have too much customization. If, for example, a music app icon was expanded into a Block, you could then see album art and pause or skip tracks without entering the app.
Machalani, without a way to test his idea, isn’t sure whether Blocks would be overlays or would shove other app icons to the next page upon expansion – probably not ideal – but that seems like a detail that could be worked out.
He has tons of other ideas about how to keep iOS fresh and innovative, which he lists in impressive detail. Staying fresh should be a concern for Apple, because, as Machalani notes, Android is leading the market and Windows Phone, while still a very distant third, is making inroads. Blocks are presented as a compromise between simplicity of use – if you don’t want to use them, you don’t need to – and customization and flexibility, the lack of which has arguably been driving away customers in recent years. Will we see anything like this at WWDC? We’ll find out pretty soon. If not, Apple might want to look up Machalani.