The Future of iOS's Home Screen: Resizable App Icons
iOS has been around since 2007, and if you looked at version one compared to version five at a glance, there wouldn't be much difference. Sure, there's a shiny new dock, and there may even be a picture behind your apps, but what else on your home screen has really changed? In the last four iOS device reviews that I've read (iPhone 4, 4S, iPad 2, New iPad), there has been one major complaint against iOS.
The operating system is quite simply aging. Tons of new features have been added, but the look and feel of iOS has mainly stayed the same since day one. There are pages and pages of app icons with no way to customize them whatsoever except for changing their order and organizing them into folders. You may pose the question, "Why fix something that isn't broken?"
True, iOS has had major success, and it isn't broken at all. On the other hand, Android has also had tremendous success, and it by far offers the more versatile and usable home screen. Also, Windows Phone has taken this even further by completely eliminating app icons and introducing live tiles. These tiles are a breath of fresh air, and their beauty cannot be denied. So, even if iOS isn't "broken" so to say, I believe that its age and monotony can still deter uses from using it. So what can Apple do to fix this?
Obviously, there are many ways that Apple can refresh its home screen and OS as a whole, but I think the most unique way to do so would be by offering resizable app icons. An app, when downloaded, would show up on the home screen just like normal. A long press of any app would then take you to "wiggle mode," except it wouldn't end there. Another option would be included to change the size of apps. These "widgets" could be any size, ranging from 1x4, 2x2, 4x4, 4x1, and 4x2. The widget would adjust to show more information at different sizes, and they would be interactive, which would somewhat eliminate the feeling of jumping in and out of apps.
For example, the settings app icon could be changed to take up a row on your screen. The new settings widget could then provide easy access to common, customizable settings toggles. Making the widget even larger would allow more toggles to be seen. Gaming applications would not benefit from this much, but countless other apps would; and that would be just enough to make the home screen more than just another home screen.
The possibilities with this functionality would be endless. No longer would your home screen be a boring place populated with only icons and folders. Such a simple but monumental refresh could be more than enough to make developers, reviewers, and users happy with their OS no matter how long it has been around.