Why iOS Needs Widgets

A feature many people were hoping would come in the iOS5 update was an element of customisation to the home screen – layout, background and most importantly widgets to bring information and functionality shortcuts. After the 2011 WWDC announcement of iOS5 however it was clear none of these were coming in this update.

The problem is with accessing the common features that are needed on a daily basis.


From the homescreen, select Settings, select WiFi, then access the slider for turning WiFi On or Off. 3 Actions.


From the homescreen, select Settings, select General, select Bluetooth, then access the slider for turning Bluetooth On or Off. 4 Actions.

WiFi Sync

One of the great new features in iOS5 is the ability to sync your device with your iTunes computer wirelessly, something I have wanted for a long time, ever since seeing the feature in the original Zune music player. But even the setting for this is buried way down at the same depth as accessing the Bluetooth settings.

From the homescreen, select Settings, select General, select iTunes WiFi Sync, then select Sync Now. 4 Actions.

This is set to happen automatically when the device is put on charge and connected to the same WiFi network as your iTunes computer, but if you’re not near power the above process applies.

Apple had the opportunity to bring this and some of the other commonly accessed settings higher up the settings menu to make them more quickly accessible but didn’t. They also had the opportunity to bring in the home screen customisations – at the very least even if they were determined to keep the now antiquated grid layout, they could have allowed some buttons to have custom actions, such as a dedicated homescreen button to turn Bluetooth On or Off.

Android has this feature, in addition of course to full blown informational widgets like Facebook and Twitter feeds, heck even Windows Mobile and Pocket PC around 9 years ago had this feature. With the increased use of phones as social tools they are much more demanding on battery life and conservation features like the ability to turn off certain radios when not needed quickly and easily should be considered obvious requirements.

Note: This look at the WiFi Sync is based on iOS5 Beta 6 and may change in the final release. All information is accurate at the time of writing.


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