Six ways Jony Ive can make iPhone 6 the ultimate phone
Make no mistake, the iPhone 5 is the best Apple handset yet. But it’s far from perfect.
The good news is that due to a shakeup over at Apple HQ, design supremo Jony Ive is now in charge of all of the company’s “human interface”, which means – yes – hardware and software. But how can Ive make sure the company’s next blower is king of the mobile jungle?
Here are six ways we think he could make it happen.
1 Icons that come alive
Apple’s interface still looks as good as ever in screenshots, but when you get the device in your hand, it seems a little dated. Especially after seeing Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 or RIM’s BB10 in action. Both of these feature icons that update live right in front of you, bringing the home screen alive and giving you info without you having to open the app. Which is a great timesaver. Come on Apple, make it so.
2 More forward-looking design
When it comes to software, Apple’s design philosophy is known as ‘skeuomorphic’ – that means its programs take on an old-fashioned look, with retro-style dials and plenty of leather and brass. It’s meant to make technophobes more comfortable using the device, and not alienate them by looking too ‘techy’. Which is all well and good. But it’s getting a little long in the tooth nowadays and could do with a refresh. The iPhone was aimed at people who were turned off by how complicated other smartphones were, but now the smartie is no longer a niche product, it’s time Apple binned the look and chose a new direction.
3 Sort out the maps
Let’s be honest: Apple Maps was a disaster. Apple gave Google Maps the boot in favour of its own mapping app in iOS 6, and the reaction was so severe that CEO Tim Cook posted an apology to customers, suggesting alternatives. Many think this marked a turning point for Apple, that it was now so big it’d rather pursue its vendetta with Google even if customers suffered. Apple needs to sort out Apple Maps sharpish. There’s no shortage of competing mapping apps on iOS, after all.
4 Wireless charging
Nokia is looking to the future with its Lumia 920, offering a wireless charger. All you have to do is plonk your handset on it, and it’ll juice it up; no fiddling with annoying connectors required. Apple, however, went the other route with the iPhone 5, introducing a new Lightning connection that renders old accessories and chargers redundant without an adapter. Apple, it’s these kinds of decisions that turn people off.
Apple has so far chosen not to add Near Field Communications (NFC) to the iPhone. NFC lets you pay for items using your handset, share files with other devices, and read tags set up on posters to unlock other related content. Instead, Apple has stuck with its own technology, using its Passbook app to let you call up a boarding pass, discount voucher, or loyalty card. But it’s a lot more limited than NFC, which everyone else has adopted.
6 Bigger screen
The iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen is a step-up from the 4S’s 3.5-incher, but it’s still tiny compared to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, with its 4.8-inches. (Watch a YouTube video on both side-by-side in landscape mode to really see the difference.) The trend is for bigger blowers too, with the Galaxy Note 2 at a mammoth 5.5-inches, and the 5-inch HTC Deluxe rumoured to be hitting UK shores soon. If the iPhone 6 isn’t larger than 4-inches, it’s going to look pretty puny compared to the big boys.