Mobile

If Apple launches widgets in iOS, I hope it looks like this

Above: iOS blocks concept by Joseph Machalani

Image Credit: Joseph Machalani

We’re just as tired of iPhone concepts as you are. Seriously. But designer Joseph Machalani just made the case for bringing widgets to iOS, and to our surprise, the concept is quite beautiful. It’s also nearly bulletproof.

Apple is no stranger to widgets. In fact, the company still distributes widgets for the long-neglected Mac OS X dashboard. Although Yahoo’s Konfabulator arguably popularized the first modern widgets, Apple’s widgets were once a key feature for OS X.

dashboard-big

Nearly a decade later, both Google and Microsoft have taken full advantage of the widget concept — and in limited cases, the execution of these widgets is quite smart.

“Android has the Widget,” Machalani wrote on his blog, “Windows has Live Tiles,” but “iOS has, well nothing. Just a basic icon.”smartphone windows phone

Do we need to launch an app just to view the temperature? Is a grid of static icons all that’s needed in iOS? According to Machalani, well-executed widgets could drastically improve the iOS experience.

But Apple wouldn’t call them widgets, of course. Machalani calls his widgets “blocks.” More from his blog:

A Block is the best of Android and Windows Phone. You can interact with a Block and actually do stuff with it. But, you can also access the application directly from the Block since it is the app itself, not a separate entity. There’s also some very clear guidelines on how to build and use a Block, so the experience is very controlled.

The best of Android and Windows Phone. Apple magic.

Importantly, Machalani’s blocks are entirely optional.

What if you don’t want Blocks? What if they are too complicated or you don’t need/want them? No problem, don’t use them and iOS will look and work exactly as before. This brings changes to people who want some, yet leaves users who don’t want any with what they always liked.

static.squarespace-1Like most Apple design concepts, we’ll likely never see Blocks in an official iOS build — past iOS widget rumors have proved unsubstantiated. But if you’re intrigued by the concept, you can learn more about it here.

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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19 comments
Shalin Tejpal Jain
Shalin Tejpal Jain

Nice point. But I'm just thinking what's the extent of use-cases for widgets mentioned above? Most of the stuff that is mentioned above is already doable in iOS 7 with top as well as bottom swipes...

Alex Wheldon
Alex Wheldon

Cool concept but that's the worst song I've ever heard.

Leo Chan
Leo Chan

About time. Windows8 has active Tiles.

Stephen Price
Stephen Price

Pinch to open is no good for the iPhone... Impossible to do one handed. Looks nice for a demo, but limited practicality. Perhaps a long-press to open 'block view' with a cross to delete the app and a pin to pin it in block mode... Looking forward to what Apple come up with!

Eric Chan
Eric Chan

It's already been done on Android.

Erich Sparks
Erich Sparks

Why? He's done the work. They'll just copy it if they like it.

Nicholas Cummings
Nicholas Cummings

what did he copy? This looks like a pretty original pattern to me

Nicholas Cummings
Nicholas Cummings

you mean back when Android had everything flung over all four corners of the screen? Settings buried in the clock on the lower right? Apps elsewhere? Awful bloatware that you couldn't quit? Nope

Nicholas Cummings
Nicholas Cummings

No it hasn't. All the apps are still buried in an apps folder requiring an extra step to get to, widgets buried there too. This keeps everything right on the home screen