Tag Archives: Tim Cook

The Big Picture Implications of the New iPhone’s Outsized Screen: What It Means for Design, Development, and UX/UI

When Apple’s Tim Cook finally announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, he was greeted with rapturous applause from diehard fans, snarky attack ads from sour competitors, and an unlikely #bendgate controversy about skinny jeans warping the slick devices.

Coming in at 4.7 and 5.5 inches across, these behemoth new screens are much more than a status symbol, copycat tactic, and structural liability—they also open a brave new world for developers, designers, and user experience / user interface (UX/UI) strategists.

How will apps adapt to the new real estate, and how will users respond? The outsized screens present both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of mobile design.

New Territory: A Lot of Space to Fill

While the new phones are appreciably bigger, on first glance, you may not realize just how many more pixels have been packed in: the 6 features 38% more space than its 5s predecessor, while the 6 Plus adds a whopping 68% increase.

Devs and designers will jump at the chance to give users more content and information, without crowding the interface and throwing off iOS’s trademark simplicity and Zen-like minimalism. They can also use the opportunity for more detailed graphics and bigger fonts. That’s great for readability, but what about reachability?

Solutions for Sore, Stubby Thumbs

An iPhone 5s sits comfortably in the palm of your hand and allows easy access to every corner of the screen—perfect for subway rides, multi-handed multitasking, and texting on the go. As this handy (heh) graphic shows, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a little less accessible. This places many navigational tools—typically at the top of an app—inconveniently just out of reach.

Apple’s solution? Reachability, a feature launched by a double-tap on the home button that brings the top half of the screen to the bottom. Interesting idea, but some UX/UI experts are already declaring it “hacky and completely unintuitive.” A better approach may be moving the nav buttons down below deck and integrating more gestural controls.

As bigger screen sizes continue to gain popularity and become the new normal, designers will be forced to innovate, reinvent, and rethink the way our digits and digital devices interact.

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How iOS 8 Might Just Change Everything—From Health to Home

As the legions of Apple fanatics waited with bated breath, CEO Tim Cook announced at June’s WWDC that iOS 8, the new operating system for iPhones and iPads, will be released this fall.

At first glance, the update doesn’t seem as radical as 2013’s iOS 7, which ushered in a major design shift. Yet when you look a little closer, you’ll find it packed with new features that could forever change the way we interact with our devices—and how developers craft experiences for us.

The overarching theme of iOS 8 is convergence—bringing everything together into an integrated, neat, easy-to-use whole. Nowhere is this clearer than in Apple’s two new toolkits for developers centered around health and home.

HealthKit: Bringing a Complete Medical Profile to Your Pocket 

In one of the more eye-catching announcements, Apple revealed its attractive new Health app. Imagine tracking the miles you ran, calories you burned, food you ate, heart rate you reached, and sleep you got all in one place.

Drawing from formerly disparate wellness apps and fitness devices, Health unites all their data into centralized graphs displayed with Apple’s trademark elegance and simplicity. The app seems designed to beautifully bring together wearable tech devices like Nike’s FuelBand, FitBit, and—some speculate—Apple’s rumored iWatch. More than just a nifty chart tool, Health was prepared with help from the Mayo Clinic and Nike, and has already caught the attention of doctors.

“This could be revolutionary,” said one physician on Quora, clearly impressed with the health data able to be stored in the app, including lab results, allergies, medications, vitals, and more. “I feel that HealthKit might well be the first step in creating something akin to a universal [Electronic Medical Record]. [This] could potentially solve one of the single worst problems in healthcare today: the inability to easily transfer patient records from one care location to another.”

HomeKIt: Building the Home of the Future

Just as the HealthKit unites external fitness devices and fractured medical info, HomeKit empowers Apple’s devices to control virtually everything in your home.

Your iPad could very well be the central remote to your very first smart home. It seems like something out of a sci-fi flick: picture yourself dimming the lights, locking the doors, turning off the TV, and turning up the A/C with a few swipes and taps.

In fact, thanks to Siri-integration, you could even do all that with five simple words—simply saying “Siri, I’m going to bed,” could make your home sleep-ready in seconds. Partners already on board include Phillips, iHome, Haier, and many more.

Converging Everything

In the realms of health and home, iOS 8 sees Apple devices flexing their muscles and exerting power well beyond their rounded-corner edges.

Whether it’s bringing together diverse medical records or uniting all the hardware in your house, iOS 8 shows that Apple is serious about becoming a central part of our lives. It’s a clear signal to both users and developers: Apple doesn’t just want everything in your life well-connected—it wants it all to be beautifully cohesive.

Author: Zack Smith