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  • Future of iOS Widgets


    The developer prerelease of Widge, a framework designed by Peter Hajas, has opened up the avenue to develop and design widgets for iOS devices. Undoubtedly the capability has a bright future and strong potential. Widge could bring a new outlook and feel to the iOS software and could potentially redesign how users use their iDevices. However, there are some valid concerns about the effect of widgets on iOS devices:

    • Battery life
    • Functionality
    • The amount of space it takes
    • Affect on RAM


    The designer world has not yet tapped into the enormous opportunity that Widge has to offer despite these issues. While the current issues can be fixed another important factor to consider is what the widgets will look like. How will they run within the iOS? Will they display elegantly and flow with the current iOS design? A recent concept design by Dilip James supports a vision that Widge is striving for.

    Since Dilip is one of the first designers to publicly share his vision and concept (image above or full res here) with the world and Peter Hajas/Kyle Adams, I spoke with him to see what drove him to create this design and what his outlook on Widge is.

    JOSH: What got you interested in developing your vision for Widge?
    DILIP: After having purchased my first Apple product, an iPhone 3G, I discovered the jailbroken world and have been exploring ever since. Now, on my iPhone 4, I chanced upon MobileNotifier by Peter Hajas and loved the tweak. I began to follow his work on Twitter and his blog (including your recent interview with him; it was really informative). I was completely taken in by the simplicity of the tweak, its minimalist design, and the fact that the idea was ingenious.

    JOSH: How long did it take to design your Widge creation?
    DILIP: Following Peter Hajas' work, I read about Widge and how it would explore the world of widgets on the iOS platform. After watching your video interview with Peter Hajas and hearing him speak about Widge, I had an idea of what Widge could like on our devices in the near future. I just jumped into Photoshop and tried to put it on paper so to speak. The entire design process must have taken me around 3 hours to complete.

    JOSH: What tools/experience were used to build this model?
    DILIP: As far as experience in the design field is concerned, I have almost none to speak of. Apart from a couple of posters I have worked on for societies in college, I just play around with image editing tools whenever I find some spare time. I am a complete amateur and simply wanted to contribute and be a part of the Widge Project any way I could.

    JOSH: Have you made contact with Peter Hajas/Kyle Adams about your idea?
    DILIP: After creating the design, I contacted Peter Hajas and sent him a copy of the image to hear any opinions he might have on my work. As always, he was extremely appreciative of it. I contacted Kyle Adams and he was extremely positive as well. I believe he genuinely liked my concept and coming from a talented designer like Kyle, it is a huge compliment.

    JOSH: Describe what your vision for Widge is and what potential Widge has as a developing platform?
    DILIP: With very basic programming skills, I am definitely not the right person to comment on Widge as a developing platform. But from my experience of Peter Hajas' work, it should be impressive and we can definitely expect some really good support and brilliant features along the way. As far as my vision for Widge; I would like to think very soon, we could swipe to the left of the Homescreen and find social widgets that update as we choose. Maybe in time, social apps could be modified to run as apps using Widge. Imagine, swipe left to type a text in a widget. Probably even an extension to the Lockscreen (no more unlocking your phone?). It could happen. But, I have a few ideas for how some of this might look and I hope to start working on them soon.

    As mentioned above, the future for iOS widgets is bright and the possibilities are exponential. It doesn't take an expert designer or programmer to have an idea and implement into something wonderful. If you're interested, get involved. Contact Peter Hajas and Kyle Adams and share your ideas. Ultimately, your ideas, suggestions, and concept designs will only expand the capabilities that Widge is aiming for.

    Follow Dilip James on Twitter for more information regarding his concept and design for Widge. Peter Hajas and Kyle Adams, project members of Widge, can be found on Twitter as well.

    Widge, and open-source platform created by Peter Hajas, can be viewed on his website. Information on what Widge is and how to begin designing and coding with it, read the Developer Prerelease packet.

    Source(s) Dilip James, Widge, Widge Developer Prerelease
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Future of iOS Widgets started by Joshua Tucker View original post
    Comments 45 Comments
    1. dilipjames's Avatar
      dilipjames -
      Quote Originally Posted by gotanmp3 View Post
      That impossibly small calculator is Epic Fail. Did whoever made this concept art think the iPhone includes a stylus?

      Still, if Apple lets this fly, it's one less thing on my "why I won't go back to the iPhone" list (Flash/widgets/notifications/GV integration). I would really like to see widgets on the iPad, though.
      True. Thanks for pointing that out. The Calculator is simply too small to use. I guess I overlooked that. Sorry.

      However, I guess the widgets can be resized to sit on your screen anyway you like. It was just a concept, of how I thought it could look.
      I do have a few more ideas and I will also correct that mistake.

      Cheers!
      respect to Peter Hajas, and Joshua Tucker!
    1. TheGrandFinale2001's Avatar
      TheGrandFinale2001 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      Am I the only one here that doesn't like widgets? I cringe whenever I hear about this Widge thing.

      Widgets are so unnecessary. They don't add functionality, they just use your battery to load things you may or may not need, rather than have you touch a button and getting far more info as from a dedicated app.

      A weather widget, for instance, is only useful for one glance at the weekly weather outlook once a day, then the rest of the day it updates and chews up your battery every time you unlock. However, one or two presses will bring up my Weather Channel app or Safari, where I can look at maps and radar - far more information.

      I don't mind that people use them, I just don't see the point in them other than novelty. Widgets are just one of those unfortunate things that became popular because they have the illusion of usefulness, when in fact they're just bloatware.



      You ever stop to think that these are two different groups of people?
      I could not agree more. But I am curious to see someone pull this off. That would be pretty cool, I wouldn't get it but I would give props to who can pull it off.
    1. jamesgunaca's Avatar
      jamesgunaca -
      Josh has easily become my favorite MMi staff writer. Great posts!

      Widge looks very promising but I too am concerned about the memory issue. I find that my iPhone 4 runs low on memory often. I just did a clean update to 4.3.3 + redsn0w and I'm going to minimize the tweaks I include to avoid springboard crashing.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOrioles33 View Post
      Actually, Macs have been using widgets before Android was ever born.
      Yes, they have. Apple does do many fairly original things and widgets were one of the many features windows and google copied. Poorly.
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      I think the reason I don't like widgets is they currently don't seem "native" yeah there is dream board but I don't like dreamboard set ups. There is so much extra work in doing simple tasks like rearranging icons and stuff. I think this concept is awesome and has the potential to give that native feal to a widget
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      Am I the only one here that doesn't like widgets? I cringe whenever I hear about this Widge thing.

      Widgets are so unnecessary. They don't add functionality, they just use your battery to load things you may or may not need, rather than have you touch a button and getting far more info as from a dedicated app.

      A weather widget, for instance, is only useful for one glance at the weekly weather outlook once a day, then the rest of the day it updates and chews up your battery every time you unlock. However, one or two presses will bring up my Weather Channel app or Safari, where I can look at maps and radar - far more information.

      I don't mind that people use them, I just don't see the point in them other than novelty. Widgets are just one of those unfortunate things that became popular because they have the illusion of usefulness, when in fact they're just bloatware.



      You ever stop to think that these are two different groups of people?
      I'm on your side.

      Quote Originally Posted by jamesgunaca View Post
      Josh has easily become my favorite MMi staff writer. Great posts!

      Widge looks very promising but I too am concerned about the memory issue. I find that my iPhone 4 runs low on memory often. I just did a clean update to 4.3.3 + redsn0w and I'm going to minimize the tweaks I include to avoid springboard crashing.
      What on Earth did you do to your iPhone 4 to make the memory run so low? I TRIED to run it into the ground yesterday on purpose and couldn't.
    1. ICydiaify's Avatar
      ICydiaify -
      Can't wait to get wige
    1. myhargalan's Avatar
      myhargalan -
      Quote Originally Posted by subywrex View Post
      I love when android users come into idevice forums and make comments. Yes droid has AWESOME features and some are embarrassing there not available on stock iOS, but if it's not an iPhone it's not as smooth. I've tried various android devices and the device just doesnt work as smooth. Scrolling animations and such always seem a little sketchy
      Not on the motorola atrix! No lag whatsoever smoother than iphone actually
    1. milkycloud's Avatar
      milkycloud -
      That is totally insane... bringing HTC to iPhone... stupid...
    1. CX3NT3_713's Avatar
      CX3NT3_713 -
      Another thing that would be cool is, live wallpapers!!!! on retina
    1. Ajay1's Avatar
      Ajay1 -
      The future for iOS widgets is bright and the possibilities are exponential.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by milkycloud View Post
      That is totally insane... bringing HTC to iPhone... stupid...
      You guys need to stop trying to give Android credit for widgets, Apple started widgets before Android even thought of them. So he's bringing Apple...to Apple, simple as that.

      I think the project is cool, I'm just iffy on the battery life while running them. I guess we'll see.
    1. mlee19841's Avatar
      mlee19841 -
      Widgets on the iOS platform. Humm the idea is very nice but the phone itself just isn't ready. I think for widgets well only the future will tell.
    1. Hardcoredrummer1996's Avatar
      Hardcoredrummer1996 -
      I can't wait!
    1. steeda763's Avatar
      steeda763 -
      How long before Steve Jobs boots Widge from the app store and implements it into iOS, calling it the next revolution in mobile computing?
    1. tomlangford001's Avatar
      tomlangford001 -
      Quote Originally Posted by kfb388 View Post
      love when apple users complain how horrible android is yet implement it into ios all the time
      So android didnt copy apple at all then. 4 icons along the dock, keyboard looks the same, icon pages........
    1. mlee19841's Avatar
      mlee19841 -
      /\ icon dock copying....
    1. RedVolt's Avatar
      RedVolt -
      Hope it'll support iPad 2
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      Widgets eat battery and that's a FACT !
    1. jrrtps's Avatar
      jrrtps -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOrioles33 View Post
      Actually, Macs have been using widgets before Android was ever born.

      well Im not talking about computers