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iPhone OS 4.0 UI Enhancement Request

March 12th, 2010

I would like to make a request to Apple for a new UI enhancement to be released in the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 update.

See, here’s the thing. I use WiFi and Bluetooth all the time. But turning WiFi on and off and switching networks (I do this often as Singapore has municipal WiFi and shitty though it is, I use it until I’m somewhere with a better network, like home or the office, then I need to switch), or changing Bluetooth devices is not convenient. For example to change the WiFi network I am attached to I have to 1. Go to the home screen, 2. Open “Settings”, 3. Select WiFi 4. Choose a new network. This is too many steps for something that I use multiple times a day.

Now, one way to fix this would be to add two more hardware switches like there is for audio on. You could switch WiFi and Bluetooth on and off and flipping it on would bring up the selection box. OK. But Apple has a thing about buttons. So maybe not.

On the other hand… The iPad has a “tap and hold” gesture, that has shown up in the latest OS SDK for the iPhone/iPad. I’d like to use this as an easy way to get to the pertinent WiFi and or Bluetooth settings. First we need to make a small change in the title bar; today if WiFi or Bluetooth are turned off you don’t see their icons:

iPhone title bar with no WiFi or Bluetooth Icons

I propose to change this. I’d like to see the WiFi and Bluetooth icons always on the title bar:

iPhone Title Bar with WiFi & Bluetooth off Icons

This necessitates a new icon: WiFi off. I based this one on the Mac title bar’s WiFi off icon. I’m sure the UI guys at Apple can make it beautiful.

Now that we have icons let’s use them! Let’s look at WiFi. Using the “tap and hold” gesture I just tap and hold on the WiFi icon would bring up a dialog allowing us to turn on WiFi:

iPhone WiFi dialog suggestion, WiFi Off

Then I can turn on WiFi and see a list of available networks:

iPhone WiFi dialog suggestion, WiFi On

That seems much faster and easier to me.

I’d do something similar with Bluetooth, but I’m too lazy to mock it up.

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