iOS 4.3 looks like itís shaping up to be a pretty big update. With so many new features and improvements coming, it appears that Apple is going to include a few new finger gestures with this update as well. One, two and three finger gestures are standard issue on the iPad. It now seems that Apple is ready to unleash four and five-finger gestures on the world with this update.
So far, it appears that it doesnít matter whether you use four or five fingers to perform these new gestures. Hereís a short list of the new gestures that have been discovered so far:
- Use a 5-fingers pinch to return to the home screen
- Swipe up with 4 or 5 fingers to access the multitasking menu bar
- Swipe down with 4 or 5 fingers to close the multitasking menu bar
- Swipe left or right with 4 or 5 fingers to switch between different apps
There is some talk that Apple will be removing the Home button on future iOS devices. If this is true, then Apple will need to have some way of replacing the functions of the Home button. The gestures included in the latest beta version of iOS 4.3, does offer some proof that Home button functions will soon be replicated on the iPadís touch screen. There is one nagging question, however, and that is, how will a hard reset be possible without a physical Home button? iOS devices do freeze up once in a while and users need to be able to reset their devices now and again.
As Apple adds more and more gestures to the iOS and Mac, a troubling trend is developing. Apple has always maintained a consistent user interface across the entire Mac operating system. This has always made the Mac easier to learn and use than the competition. Now that multi-touch technology is here to stay, Apple has not maintained a consistent user experience with these new finger gestures. A MacBook trackpad has one set of gestures, while the Magic Mouse has a slightly different set and the iOS has itís own set of finger gestures as well. At some point I hope that Apple recognizes this issue and makes an effort to unify finger gestures across every device. Otherwise, the more gestures added to our swiping vocabulary, the more confusion there will be for some users, especially new ones.
When iOS 4.3 is released, Iím sure that I will update all of my iOS devices right away. But I look forward to a day when there is a single set of finger gestures for all iOS devices. I donít think that should be too much of a challenge for Apple.