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This is a picture of the Newton OS (which predates the Palm OS):
I'm pretty sure can find something that predates that and maybe something else that predates that etc.
I believe once again you're missing the point and the point is Apple's philosophy to make iOS simple and usable; the limit of what should be there and what shouldn't.
Piling on endless features that just adding complexity and going to extremes (larger and larger displays) is the easiest thing you can do.
Regardless, you've credited Palm countless time with the "invention"(?) of the mobile platform. Let's assume you're correct. Don't you find it sad then, that Palm who were the first ones to come up with this great idea, never really produced a great product with it?
Palm devices were a joke.
When the iPhone came out Colligan (Palm CEO) said "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in". Well, they did.
And the WebOS, we know what happened there. Edited 2013-02-20 09:34 UTC
That's a picture of the control panel of the Newton. This is what the Newton's home screen looked like:
The Newton used a notebook metaphor, like PenPoint OS. A paradigm that nobody wanted.
Also, I never credited Palm with the invention of the mobile platform - don't put extremist words in my mouth just to make you look smart. I credit Palm with creating the mobile platform upon whose concepts and ideas all other platforms after it were built. Newton and PenPoint were dead ends - a metaphor nobody wanted and nobody bought. Palm's mobile platform was the first successful mobile platform, and showed the industry what people wanted out of a mobile device - everybody else has followed and built upon that platform ever since.
A sneak peak into my upcoming massive Palm article:
He's not missing the point. He's answering the point you raised. You provided the picture of the Newton in an attempt to challenge the claim that Palm invented the simplistic icon home screen.
You can't change the subject, just because you were mistaken.
Incidentally, who was laughing at Apple at the launch of the iPhone? The only entity I can think of was Microsoft, and they were bound to do that, because the iPhone was a competitor to their own WinMobile 6 phones.
It's not a Newton, it's a MessagePad. Newton is the name of the operating system, MessagePad is the name of the device that runs the Newton operating system.
Another device running the Newton OS is the eMate 300. It does have a home screen with a grid of icons. I have one right here.
The MessagePads also had icon grids to launch apps, but it defaulted to a notepad application when you turned it on. I have one right here.
I don't think it really matters what you see when you turn it on, Newton based devices and Palm devices all used icon grids to launch apps.
My Psion 3a uses a row of icons. If an app has user files they are listed under the app icon and can be opened directly from there.
It's not strange Apple went for this grid solution as it's easy to do, easy to use and the Macintosh in a way also had icon grids. Sure, you could move the icons and break the grid, but the basic idea was a screen with little icons that launch apps.
The central point of interaction on the Newton was the notebook. That was its central metaphor. I have a 120 right here, and what you're referring to is the 'extras' folder - which contained a bunch of utilities like a calculator, and settings panels. It's a small aspect of the notebook metaphor - not a central one like it is on iOS or Palm OS. That's because NewtonOS is built around the notebook - not around applications. It's not application-centric.
It's a fundamentally different paradigm.
Yes, the eMate opened the drawer by default. This was after the success of the original Pilot. Edited 2013-02-20 13:03 UTC
Speaking as a former Newton developer, I'd disagree with your characterisation that Newton OS as not being application-centric and built around the notebook.
Newton OS was most definitely built around apps. Notepad was just the default app - later versions of the OS would let you swap that default to any other app. If you set Dates (for example) as the default app then Notepad would turn up in the Extras drawer and you could launch it from there.
The three main apps (Notepad, Dates, and Names) were all separate apps. The OS supported a 'windowed' view system, so Names would sit above other apps - and smaller 'utility' apps were not forced to run full-screen.
The OS was a highly dynamic object-oriented environment which would let third parties build extensions for the inbuilt apps. For example you could have extensions that would add new "stationary" types to the Notepad, or new card types to the Names app. All data was stored in "soups" - a dynamic OO database system. There was an OS-wide extensible "routing system" which was how you'd send emails, print, or fax - routing extensions were automatically made available in all apps.
In many ways it was a significantly more advanced OS than anything we have today. I often wonder what it would have developed into had it not been canned.
I liked Palm devices. They were great to play Hearts on when traveling by train.
Over time they became better and worse. The OS became better, as did the hardware, but the feeling increased it could and perhaps should have been better. This feeling was fed by competing products, like the Windows CE and Symbian powered devices.
And since when is iOS home screen is simple? It's much more complex as a whole, than any other platform.
Icons that change(and some don't - calendar vs weather) and the notification bubbles are not simple.
Errrr... yes they are with more than a days usage, I guarantee you'll understand them.
Kind of defeats the claim of simplicity.
Not really. I guarantee *you*, most others get it right away ;-)
This is intentional. Apple designs simultaneously for the Luddites and the tech savvy, because those two extremes are their target audience. My boss at the sheriff's office is a technological neophyte (despite, ironically enough, being in charge of a data processing department) yet within a day of owning an iPad mini she had the majority of its functionality down.
When I briefly had an iPad (now owned by my fiancée) I was using it to ssh into my home server, create real music with GarageBand, and write parts of my novel with a $5 app that rivaled the excellent Scrivener for Mac.
My point being, it was just as easy for my clueless boss to pick up and use as it was for me, a ravenous consumer of all things tech. That's the beauty of Apple's design philosophy and also the source of a lot of the ridicule they suffer: Nearly anyone can pick up an Apple product and figure it out within minutes.
The springboard is one of the things that annoys me the most about iOS. It takes simplicity too far, having each app be its own icon and all apps forced to appear there. I've got a lot of apps installed and the most irritating thing about the home screen is having to remember: ok, now what page is that app on? This is one area that I think Android (even with stock launcher) did much better. The home screen is where your most commonly used apps go (old style Windows desktop, anyone?) and you can pull down an apps list to get the rest. Much simpler.
And yes, I know about spotlight search, but having to type in part of the name of an app I'm looking for isn't exactly the most productive way to go on a device with a 4-inch screen.
What? You can place mostly used app on home screen. What's so different or difficult here? get a clue before post please. Edited 2013-02-20 10:27 UTC
Wow, learn to write and actually debate without personal insults before posting, please. Now, let me explain something. It's not the most frequently used apps that are a pain to find, it's those that I use less frequently but still do use. I do not remember what page I put every app (or folder) on, thank you. Now, I use an iPhone as my only phone as well as an iPad, and I'd bet I know just a little bit more about iOS than most. Here's where Android shines though: I know the name of the app that's not on my home screen, so I open the apps list and find it in an alphabetical list. That is simplicity. With iOS, what do I do? I can either browse through each page of apps and folders to find it (tedious), open spotlight search (kind of bothersome on a small device) or I can reset the home screen to force all entries into alphabetical order. There's just one problem with that approach though, I lose my most frequent apps on page one, because all the default apps get put back there when you use this option. So explain to me again, how the iOS approach is superior? This time, you may use complete sentences.
I think this is one of my biggest gripes with the iOS interface too. At my part time job I was trying to configure a coworker's iPhone to access our server remotely, and I couldn't find the Settings app icon to save my life. I handed it back to her to see if she could find it for me, and it even took her about thirty seconds. And she uses the device all day every day!
Swipe left, type "settings" in to the search field. Unless the user has gone in and specifically turned off indexing (it's on by default) a few milliseconds later - you will have the settings app listed. Top tip, probably verging on power user, but well worth remembering.
That might have been her next step if we hadn't found it (buried in a folder labeled "Useless Stuff", by the way!), but I have never had more than a handful of apps on an iDevice so it never even occurred to me.
I use it more on my iPad, as that has 64GB of storage, and it's much easier to install an app and misplace it. On my Phone, I tend to delete stuff I don't use and only reinstall when needed. I also don't put settings in a folder marked "useless stuff".. ;-)
Why not use folders like the rest of us in iOS do? Put your folders on page 2 and your most used apps on page 1.
Wasn't iOS supposed to be "effortless"?
Do you ever tire of replying with the same clueless attitude?
Eh, he has a point. Managing app placements and folders on iOS is arguably more work than the android solution, especially if you have a lot of installed apps..
Rewriting history and their importance in it has been a Apple hallmark since the mid '80's...
Apple didn't rewrite this event, John Gruber made a remark that was interpreted by Thom as being such a thing.
Gruber doesn't state that Apple invented this type of home screen, he calls in an innovation and not an Apple invention.
When comparing the iOS home screen to the home screen from Thom's link you'll notice the iOS one is simpler.
Don't forget we've moved on from a rather "simple" time to a far more advanced one, yet Apple managed to not only keep their home screen simple, they apparently made it even simpler than Palm's as proven by Thom.
With regards to Apple rewriting history: they present us with stuff they call amazing, magical, blah blah. Then you have people that compare it with previous stuff of other companies and when they find a match, sometimes a very good one, sometimes a rather fat fetched one, they claim Apple rewrites history.
They don't claim to have invented the desktop GUI, mobile phones or tablets. They brought it main stream or put a different more successful twist on it.
What is your suggestion to make it easier to move icons around and create folders?
Besides, these are optional things. You don't have to perform them to use iOS, ever. Yes, if you know how to do it it will probably make operating your iOS more convenient, but it's not mandatory.
Ooohhh.... "I'm out of space on my iPhone!" Is the one that I like the best.
Maybe you should be more selective of who you become friends with. :-p
My 9 year old knows how to move apps and create folders. I didn't tell him, but he saw me do it once. So if we both like a game it mysteriously disappears to be found in his folder later on.
Moving apps and the folder thing are operations people don't tend to discover by themselves, but only need to be shown once to be understand. That's not to praise iOS, it's the same with Android and WP.
I watch Apple keynotes not only to see the new stuff, but get "training" too.
(when icons start to wiggle my assumption is that the first thing confused people would do is hit the home button, which would stop the wiggling)
My 7 year old can do it also. And as the same method works on Android, the skill is now transferable.
7 y/o are the worst examples. They are not afraid to experiment and will understand modern technology faster than you can blink.
Which skill? The moving of icons and creating of folders or stealing your dad's games and ruining your game progress? :-p
If Apple doesn't come up with a way to share an iPad with multiple users, which I'm sure happens a lot within families, I'll have to buy my son one.
Bubbles, unless it's a game that features Michael Jackon's monkey, are not in iOS as far as I know. You can't change icons. Apps can change them though, but it's not like they change them in to something completely different causing confusion for the user.
Folders are in iOS, but they are optional. You don't have to acquire this skill to operate an iOS device.
I have a lot of experience using Palm and iOS devices. On the easy-to-hard scale of usability I would rate them very close to each other, but to me the iOS screen looks more simple.
If you have learned to use one I'm pretty sure you have no problem using the other. iOS does have more things you can do, most not mandatory to use the device, but they are easily learned.
No, they aren't "bubbles", nor are they called "bubbles" by Apple in English. They are called "badges" by Apple and any Apple developer worth half their salt.
The concept isn't even hard to understand - "you have X amount of items that you have yet to look at". So for Mail, that is emails. For Calendar that is new appointments. For Messages that is sms/imessage. For other apps, it depends on what the developer is trying to convey - but generally it's going to be "items I have synced for you in some way shape or form." Edited 2013-02-20 13:21 UTC
I think the problem is that you have no iOS experience. Those "bubbled" numbers are called (notification) badges, the informational messages that appear at the top of the screen are called notifications and can also be found in the notification center. IIRC it's the same with Android. Well, Android borrowed the badges, iOS borrowed the notifications.
Personally I don't think these feature should cause any confusing, certainly not on the long term and users prefer to have them.
Neither the badges or the notifications change the icon grid in such a way that people are not able to launch their favorite apps.
I think it's a good thing.
It's good if you are almost instantly able to operate a device and as time progresses learn the more advanced features.
I guess it's even a must these days as manuals are rare and if you find a very brief one most people don't even bother reading it. People expect that they are able to use something at once.
Actually we can take that a lot further: Rewriting history has been the practice of every corporation or governmental body since written history was invented. The reason we say that history is written by the victorious is because it's true.
Until Apple comes up with something else, then that will be the bestest most innovative mobile OS ever.
Why people still give any thought (and traffic) to what fanboys like these say is beyond me. Edited 2013-02-20 11:32 UTC
Yeah. Exactly this. The original iphone screen size was the optimal screen size, until it wasn't. PowerPC chips were always faster than intel, until they switched. Third party apps were a terrible idea, until the appstore.
It's not "innovation" when all you do is stay minimalistic, it's called "restraint".
Minimalistic doesn't infer simplicity neither does simplicity infer minimalistic. It's just that it's harder for a minimalistic thing to not by simple, but too often it's not.
The abstract concept of simplicity?
No, probably not.
A specific invention that works in a simple manner compared to previous inventions in the same field?
Yes, as long as it meets all of the other requirements ( no business process, no prior art, etc).
As everyone else has raised in the other comments, apple was not the first to create this kind of an interface, so it should not be patent-able.
I had just gotten a Nexus 4 and had to give it up (boss wanted it) so while I am awaiting for another one to make its way I have to use a spare iphone 4s. There is only one word to describe ios: CLUTTER. Utter and complete mess of the home screen. And you have to spend a good deal of time to make it usable (as per my specs). It definitively is not a device for me. I want to have a clean and empty home screen with very few shortcuts (phone, email, messaging and maybe time). Everything else should be tucked away in an organized location. Remember everyone complaining about bloatware in windows? ios reminded me of that. Disgusting!
By default (as in Factory fresh) there are only about 17 icons on the home screen. All of which are easily movable. Lets compare to Android 4.2: Every app installed ends up with 2 icons (one on the desktop, on in the app tray) and deleting the icon from the desktop doesn't delete the app from the device (or even ask if that is what you meant.) That's fine if you understand that's the way it works, but not if you are a novice (or plain stupid as some other commenters have implied they are when it comes to iOS.)
Let's then look at the app tray... how is that is any kind of order by default? New apps seem to randomly appear in the list (is it sorted in some specific order? I don't know, I've never really taken time to look). Can you sort the icons? (Never tried.) It's extremely unwieldy and confusing. Even the UI on the Skinned Android Samsung devices my kids have does a better job of arranging the installed apps that stock Android.
I'm seriously starting to think that Poe's Law should be renamed Gruber's Law.
Initial reaction before reading TFA: bullshit, that's not an Apple innovation even in the loosest sense of the term. Take the text-based menu from DOS-based Novell networks (or welcome menu from any old BBS), replace the text labels with icons & use touch instead of the arrow key to activate options, and you have the iOS home screen. Hell, I've got an old PC kicking around somewhere with GEOS/GeoWorks installed on it, which boots to a screen showing... a simple grid of icons that represent "apps" - and that thing's so old that it has a 286 CPU & the CMOS uses a AA battery pack.
Reaction after reading TFA: yep, about what I expected. Also, the Grube' makes the common mistake of treating "less is more" as an absolute - the mere lack of features is not a compelling feature in and of itself (if it were, people would still be using AOL).
Quoth the Grube':
"It’s the simplest, most obvious 'system' ever designed."
I might take that seriously, if it weren't for the dozens of times that friends/relatives/etc have brought me their iProduct in a panic, because they somehow made all of their icons start jumping around like caffeinated Chihuahuas and can't figure out how to make it stop.
Do you remember AOL? Its problem wasn't a lack of features.
Even though I'm not a fan of Windows phone, It seems like its a great deal simpler and more obvious how to get and use information than the static icons of ios.
The one that has existed since before the Palm days?
In 2001, IBM Research had a "smart watch" based on Linux. So Apple MUST be ripping off IBM. They OBVIOUSLY had the idea 12 years before Apple! Or maybe they're ripping of Dick Tracy? In any case, Apple did something that most companies fail to do and that is to move toward simplicity. The tendency most people have is to overthink use cases and stick all sorts of crap on the screen. So I look at it as very much a zig to the conventional zag that other companies are copying to a degree.
And Nokia/Motorola ripped off Star Trek with their flip phones.... :-)