Needs Function Keys, Yes?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Ted Witcher, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Ted Witcher macrumors regular

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    #1
    There are some aspects of the iPhone where Apple got the form-function balance wrong (this is also evident with the MB Air -- which indicates the beginnings of a disturbing trend within the corporate culture). There's a reason why the BB is lauded as being the apotheosis in speed and efficiency. The single "home" button looks great, and the idea of a home screen makes sense on paper, but doesn't it always seem to add one or two steps between where you are and what you want to do?

    I think the iPhone should have, like the BB Curve, two completely user-definable hot keys, one on either side of the device. Then you could have one-button access to your contacts, or to the keypad, or to mail, etc. On my old Curve I have one button tied to opening the camera, which puts me a second or two closer to taking that party snap or whatever that might get away if you have to start at the home screen and then select the camera icon. In fact, the very nature of the BB is that from a sleep state, pressing any key does something -- it either starts dialing if it's a number or starts sorting contacts if it's a letter. The iPhone won't do this, of course, because of its design, but adding a button or two with customizable functionality essentially moots this deficiency. I haven't seen this complaint on the Net. Anyone else agree?
     
  2. Bernie-Mac macrumors 65816

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    #2
    It sounds to me like you want the iPhone to be like a BB? Purchase a BB then
     
  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    uh, correct me if im wrong, but isnt the point of the touchscreen to have as few buttons as possible....
     
  4. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Yeah, that's not exactly the response I was looking for. See, the question was, "Anyone else agree?" -- as in, inviting a discussion of the relative merits of the hardware design. The question wasn't, "Please add your snarky comments."

    I have a BB. I have an iPhone. But thanks for your input.
     
  5. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    I think it has too few buttons, that's my point.
     
  6. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #6
    why the double post?

    And my statement before pretty much sums up apples thinking. They went for as few physical buttons as possible to really show how great the touchscreen is.

    The "extra steps" take all of what, 1-2 seconds at most? (idk i dont have the phone, jsut the touch)
     
  7. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #7
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    The sleek simplicity of the iphone and its touch screen are just two of the things that set it apart from the rest of the pack. Millions of people seem to agree with the design.



    Out of millions of people, there will always be a handful for whom the design is not ideal. And those people will try their best to find others who share their views. And they may find some. The phone will not likely be redesigned to accompoate those few, but it's always fun to see them get frustrated and puffy faced when they get shot down by the majority.
     
  8. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #8
    In that case, the iPhone fails.

    In fact, the iPhone is crippled if its hardware buttons fail, especially the Home button. Ironically, that's not true of a WM touch phone, where most button functions can be duplicated via the touchscreen.

    Leaving aside Jobs' sales pitch, practical matters take precedence. Common operations work best with a dedicated control.

    That's why the iPhone has hardware controls for volume, ringer, sleep, and home menu.

    In any case, Jobs said he didn't like buttons partly because they take up precious space. On the iPhone, there is plenty of room to put a couple of user defined buttons... instead of cheap tricks like overloading the single Home button with multiple click operations.

    Kevin (who's actually designed commercial ALL TOUCH systems)
     
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #9
    :confused: Who actually expects their hardware to fail?

    edit: how is making the touchscreen the MAIN input device a fanboy concept?!
     
  10. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #10
    Only looking for people in agreement with you is hardly "inviting discussion".
     
  11. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    #11
    I do like that when you look at the iPhone there is just the single button (looking straight at it) but at the same time, the space at the bottom occupied by the Home button does have room for two more buttons. I'm not sure if I'd use them, I don't feel constrained by only have the home button, but I suppose if I could customize them to launch any two other apps I would use it.
     
  12. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I have no idea what you're talking about. That guy didn't disagree with me; he didn't contribute any response based on the OP.
     
  13. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    "Always fun to see them get puffy-faced?" That's what you have to say? That's your contribution? Your response doesn't in any way debate the merits of the hardware design, pro or con. You have nothing to add. Please move on.
     
  14. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Well said. Like I said, I think they got the form-function mix slightly wrong on this one. Looks great in a product shot. But doesn't quite perform as well as it should from an ergonomics standpoint.
     
  15. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #15
    Hmm. Maybe if your monitor had a dedicated "read between the lines" button, you would be able to see that I see no need to add hardware buttons, and that millions of other people snatching up iPhones at an ever increasing rate seem to agree with me. That is my contribution, like it or not.

    As for moving on, when you become the owner or a moderator here, I might have to listen to you, but in the mean time, you have about as much of a chance controlling who posts what as you do getting a "Windows Explorer" button on the side of an iPhone.
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #16
    I used the user-defined side buttons extensively on my 'Berry, but I actually didn't find myself missing them much on the iPhone. The thing I did miss related to that setup was how you could maintain a firm grasp on the BB and navigate through things using the wheel -- something that isn't even true on newer 'Berries with the pearl ball. As ridiculous as navigating a 2D interface using a one-dimensional wheel was, it worked really well. It was much easier for me to read e-mails on my BB while walking at a brisk pace, for instance, than on my iPhone, where I really have to use two hands and be much more careful.

    But as far as accessing apps, etc, it doesn't bother me much. Other things related to the number of steps things take, perhaps -- we still don't have a mark all as read feature :rolleyes: and also I wish, in line with Mail on OS X as well as the BB, there was a way to see an integrated mailbox view with all mail from all accounts.
     
  17. tallyho macrumors 6502a

    tallyho

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    #17
    I'm not sure I really see the need for extra function keys. So you say you want one-button access to your contacts and your camera...but what if you also want one button access to email and Safari? How many function buttons would you want? It strikes me that the current solution IS very elegant - it takes two presses - physical home button and virtual screen button - to get to any function (with possibly a few swipes if you have 9 pages of apps, as some apparently have). That's one thing to learn, if you will, as opposed to the tortuous combination of software menus and lots of physical buttons on other mobile phones, for instance.

    It's a mindset thing - like Mac OSX having it's File Edit etc menu always at the top of the screen for all apps. People coming from Windows always seem to find this counter-intuitive and confusing. People who are used to Macs find Windows' implementation of these menus in each app's own window to be annoying. There are arguments for and against (but I'm firmly in the Mac mindset myself).

    What's more, to me the iPhone is an iPod first and foremost. Yes it's one that can make calls and run all sorts of apps, but first and foremost it's a music player. It's also seamlessly integrated with the iApps on my Mac. There's no way I would ever want or need a Blackberry - but I appreciate that others are coming at this from a different angle.
     
  18. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

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    #18
    I agree with tallyho's post. The form of the iPhone works for me, and I'm coming from a Palm Treo, so I'm used to way more dedicated keys and so on. It only took me a few days to get used to how the iPhone works. I much prefer this design.

    Interesting that for you it's primarily an iPod, though. Shows how different we all are. :) For me, the last thing I think of it as is an iPod; I actually used the iPod function for the first time this week and I've owned it since July! The iPhone to me is primarily a phone/PDA, and secondarily a web browser.
     
  19. sibruk macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    You do have "soft buttons" in a couple of respects. Firstly the home button can be set to do one of the two most common tasks with a double press (although I would like to see Apple put in more options there personally). Secondly, the "dock" area of the home screens can be configured with your four most commonly accessed applications. So if you want to go into your email, for example, it's there on every home screen.

    I don't think the iPhone needs any more buttons, but maybe a triple click on the home button could be another shortcut Apple puts in on a future firmware. They've done it on the headphone clicker, so who knows?! And also, you could set a hold of the home button to do a different thing. There's so many things you can do with one button!
     
  20. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #20
    One thing I physically (not mentally) dislike about the Apple UI is the "back" buttons at the top of each page.

    As a touchscreen designer, I understand their concept of putting the "back" button at the top of each app page. The least/last used buttons can go up high where your hand will cover the screen. (Something you don't want to happen with most operations, which is why dedicated buttons can be a Good Thing.)

    The downside is, it's more difficult to do anything with one-hand, because you have to stretch your finger/thumb high up to go back a page.

    Therefore I often miss having a dedicated "back" button next to the Home button, as some other smartphones have.

    For that matter, I'd love an extra button that I could dedicate to scrolling to the bottom of a web page. :p
     
  21. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    Or how about just "swipe" the page back, as you would with the multiple home screen pages. That seems the most efficient.
     
  22. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    #22
    Yup, fewer buttons on a touchscreen is what got me! LOL :D
     
  23. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

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    #23
    I thought the idea of innovation is treading where others have never been. Why are we keep on looking backwards?
     
  24. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    What do you mean, exactly?
     
  25. ajwchin macrumors member

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    #25
    He means that Apple have taken the risk to remove all physical buttons save one to create a better user interface. Now it seems to me that most people are happy with this. Of course there's going to be a few people that disagree, and I'm not taking away from your opinion, but I agree with CocoaPuffs in that more buttons would just be a technological step backwards.
     

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