Friday, May 27, 2011

How iOS 5 Widgets Could Work

My thought is they would fit in among the springboard icons, and moving them would have the icons flow around the widget.  Hopefully several sizes are allowed. 2x1, 2x2, 4x2, etc.

In that space, the app runs and show its information.  This 2x2 one is 266x294 pixels on the iPhone 4 (or 133x147 on non-retina iPhones).  Purely shrinking down the weather app's screen to fit, it works.  Designed properly with a bigger font and such would look awesome.

A wider 4x1 size, perfect for showing the most recent email messages.

Two 4x2 sized ones would fill a screen--email on top, Facebook or Twitter below.

In edit mode (wiggling icons) those that allowed could be resized by dragging an indicator in the lower right corner.  Simply drag the widget's corner to be as tall or short as you want.  And a normal (X) in the upper left corner to delete.

Tap to activate (a glow effect around the border & fade the rest--like when you open a folder/group?), then allow scrolling and interacting with the widget-app.  Tap outside to return to normal.

Some would be interactive, tap the Music one (that shows the album artwork as it's default!) and there would be pause/play, next & previous buttons.

Some might just open the app--like Notes would show the most recent note's text, but tapping opens the Notes app.

We'll find out on the 6th how close this might be.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

iPhone 5

If Apple really does an edge-to-edge screen on the iPhone 5, which makes sense, I wonder which of the ways they will do it:

1) Keep the screen identical to what it is now, and shrink the rest of the phone around it.  Cool because it's a smaller overall iPhone, but doesn't give a bigger screen.

2) Keep the current 640x960 screen resolution and just stretch it a little to be a bigger screen.  Apps won't have to change at all, everything would be slightly bigger.  No changes to apps is a huge plus, and likely is a major reason to do it this way.  But this lowers the dots per inch.  If my math is right, you can do up to a 3.8 inch screen at 640x960 and that's just above the magical 300dpi "Retina" resolution.

3) Increase the resolution of the screen, so the center 640x960 part is the same size as before, but now more pixels around that.  Existing apps could run as-is in an inner area of the screen, really looking exactly as they do now with a black/white bevel around the edge of the screen.  Updated apps would use the bigger resolution and go edge-to-edge.

There are even a couple interesting new resolutions: 1024x768 is the iPad resolution and 1280x720 is one of the HD video resolutions.  Unfortunately, the HD one may be too tall.  Stretching the screen to fill the space on the current iPhone 4 looks like about 40 pixels on the left and right would do it.  That would be 720 wide--the nice HD video number, but adding the same on top and bottom is only 1040, quite a bit short of widescreen HD.

The iPad one is easier to reach, with a slightly wider iPhone screen.  But really the device would not be much wider than when it's in some of the cases now, or the width of earlier generation iPhones & iPod touches (taking into account the outer edge of the curved 3G/3GS ones)

I'm going to guess #2, because of the big advantage of keeping the resolution the same for developers.