I started out well with the AppStore, neatly organising my third party applications into categories: games, utilities, reference, music, and so on. No sweat, I thought. A slight problem when I wanted to get from home screen number 1 to home screen number 9, but at least there’s that handy shortcut (press ‘Home’ again) to get back to screen 1 since the last firmware update (2.2).
Then each category started to fill to overflowing. Meaning that applications spilled out onto the next home screen, polluting it. A month later, I’d reached the point where I’d lost control completely, with the first four applications screens now chock full and no blank ‘slots’ in sight for new apps.
Another month on and all the one hundred and forty-odd app slots are full. And only another 14,950 applications left on the App Store to install. Err……
Read on for an (illustrated!) solution to the problem.
OK, as I’ve admitted before, I’m an App Store junkie. BUT. Leaving aside all the novelty apps (e.g. iFart), newsfeed apps (e.g. BGR), ebooks and general waste-of-space apps, I’m still left with the best part of 10,000 applications to grab and try. But I only have 148 slots on the iPhone launcher and they’re all full. So what now?
I don’t really think even Apple could have predicted that the App Store would be this popular with developers. It’s partly down to the ease of use of Apple’s SDK, partly down to the fact that App Store is on the front page of every iPhone and iPod Touch and partly down to the way every non-malicious, non-offensive app is allowed through by Apple into the catalog. (c.f. the way Nokia draconianly limits entries in their phones’ Download! catalogs to a dozen or so apps from major partners, plus games from just the biggest publishers. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous…) Result? A runaway success.
Numbers-wise at least. You’d think I’d be churlish to complain, but (again) I’m going to anyway. The existing home screen launcher model is broken. And there’s no use simply adding in another 5 or 10 home screens, as the scrolling backwards and forwards would be a nightmare. Not to mention the fact that guys like me would go and fill these screens as well.
Apple seriously, seriously need to implement folders in their home screen system in the next firmware. Being able to have the aforementioned ten or so ‘home’ screens of apps within each folder would completely solve the problem.
So, for example, you’d have something like this on your main home screen. It might even be your only true home screen:
Regular readers will know I also write quite a bit about Nokia/S60 phones and may spot that the screenshot above looks suspiciously like that from an S60 phone. But you see, the problem of having too many applications for one screen was hit by Nokia many years ago. OK, so they were worried about having between 50 and 100 applications installed on one device, rather than thousands, but the principle’s the same. The solution, again, was folders, just as you’d use them on your desktop computer, to separate out hundreds or thousands of files.
Apple need to eat, I feel, a little humble pie here and abandon the glorious simplicity of the original iPhone home screen, a vision which has become subverted to the point of idiocy by the sheer success of their own App Store creation.
Roll on firmware v2.3 and folders. My device is full of apps and I’m starting to panic!
Steve Litchfield, All About iPhone