Archive for July, 2007

Redesigning the iPhone’s Buttons

Monday, July 30th, 2007

In my recent article about the first generation woes of the iPhone, I complained that the volume buttons are difficult to use in landscape mode; that the natural mapping that works so well in portrait mode (up means louder, down means softer) fails after the rotation (left means louder, right means softer). I suggested that the iPhone could detect its orientation and correct the mapping accordingly. In other words, the iPhone should swap the meaning of the buttons based on the phone’s orientation. The result? Widespread criticism. Even the venerable Apple pundit John Gruber weighed in with “I strongly disagree with [Aza's] idea about the volume buttons.”

It’s clear I need to make my case stronger, or else banish the idea to the halls of interface shame (a fate normally reserved for Clippy and Adaptive Menus).

iPhone and the First Generation Woes

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

The iPhoneFor everybody who was hiding under a Godzilla-sized rock, Apple released the iPhone last weekend. It represents a big step forward in pure humane-ness of mobile devices. Despite the slow network, the poor customer service provided by AT&T, and the lack of an open development environment, I am still on the verge of getting one. Using its interface is a like drinking refreshingly cool water after a crawl over a barren desert made of discarded cell phones.

Instead of singing the praises of the iPhone (which it deserves), I want to describe some of the unpolished corners that escaped Apple’s quality assurance.