iOS 6 ideas (mockups)
[Mockups based on iOS 6 beta, concepts with practicality in mind]
A More Ubiquitous Spotlight
It's no secret that the universal search feature Apple added to iOS (in v3.0) isn't the most popular way to access content. Despite being good at what it does—searching all your content by keyword—most users have slowly stopped using it as the iOS iterations have gone on (if they ever used it to begin with). Why? Apart from being sluggish at times, the main issue is accessibility. It takes up it's own home screen page that needs to be reached through several flicks depending upon what page you're on. Moreover, the addition of multitasking (via the switcher) added another stepping stone to searching your content. This mockup shows how all that empty space when accessing the switcher could be put to use.
Most of the time you'll be running an app. When you want to jump to another one, you'll open the switcher if you think you had previously opened it, and then be forced to the home screen if it turns out you haven't. A much faster way would be to simply use the spotlight via the same double tap method to access whatever app you want. Or even more specific, a specific song, contact, email, note, etc.
Settings Toggles In Switcher
Currently, the multitask tray (aka switcher) is comprised of three sections (in order from right to left): Open apps, playback controls, and a volume slider. The latter of which takes up the entire switcher page. Firstly, there is currently no way in iOS 6 to change your screen brightness, as well as enable/disable Wifi, Cellular/3G, and Bluetooth, without opening up the Settings app and finding the appropriate toggle. However, there does currently exists a toggle in the switcher (on the playback controls page) that allows you to lock your orientation mode. If we were to remoe the volume slider altogether (on the third switcher page to the left), you gain enough space to fit four toggles, one of which would be the orientation lock, along with a Wifi, 3G, and BT toggle.
But where would the volume slider go? Well, in its appropriate place next to the playback controls (albeit in a new, condensed form).
Also present in the place of the redundant music/media app, is a brightness wheel. Considering the playback controls are most useful during either video or audio playback, it makes sense to have both volume and brightness bar on this switcher page.
Multi-Purpose Lock Screen Grabber
Why did Apple add (in iOS 5.1) an always-visible Camera shortcut to the lock screen? Well, the idea is that when in a pinch, you would ideally be able to access the camera as fast as possible, rather than slide to unlock, exit the app you were running, swipe to the right page, then find and tap on the camera app to open.
Reasonable enough. Only problem is that not everyone uses the camera often, or needs this functionality. The main purpose of the iPhone is that it's a phone (and as once infamously stated, an "iPod and breakthrough internet communications device" as well).
Different users have different needs, and having a lock screen that suits their needs (esp. in a pinch) is always a step in the right direction. Many users might rather have quick and immediate access to the phone keypad rather than a camera they may rarely even use.
This mockup shows how such a feature could be implemented, and enabled through the settings app. Also, as iPod Touch users have no access to phone or sms capabilities, other shortcuts could be offered as well.
App-Specific Notification View
Without needing to open up notification center and scrolling through your system-wide notifications, you can swipe up or down on an app (jiggle animation provided) to view the most recent activity in a 'mini notification center' view. This would be especially useful for apps that are slow to open and navigate to whatever specific notification (say, instagram) while also not needing to open the notification center and sift through activity from all apps.
With background downloading slowly trickling into iOS, there should be a way to display content downloading progress in an app without needing to visit. For example, downloading a software update over-the-air in the Settings app (exampled). Or a podcast in the Podcasts app, or in iTunes U; etc.
That's it for now. I have some ideas and concepts regarding notification center accessibility, switcher gestures, and a slide to unlock transition animation that actually makes sense, but until I do a video mockup it'd be difficult to explain. In the mean time though, I would like to hear some practical (visual?) iOS suggestions/ideas/tweaks/features, etc from everyone.