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Do We Really Need 3-D Icons On Our iPhone Screen?

Do We Really Need 3-D Icons On Our iPhone Screen?

June 27, 2012
In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the changes coming to the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad thanks to iOS 6. Now we hear that future iOS versions could include the addition of 3-D UI elements. What a crazy idea. As A.T. Faust III first reported, Buzzfeed's Benjamin Jackson contends that Apple is working on bringing 3-D elements to iOS. According to Jackson:
One Apple employee (who I can’t name as the company does not allow employees to speak on the record without approval from media relations) said that in the future, your phone will show drop shadows based on the actual position of the light in the room, as detected by the phone’s ambient sensor — and everything in the UI will be rendered in 3-D on the fly.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple took the 3-D route with a future iOS release. Still, I do worry that such a change would somehow take away from the overall iPhone or iPad experience. Let me try to explain. Steve Jobs was obsessed with bringing simplicity to both hardware and software design. As such, during Jobs’ tenure as Apple CEO, the products created were simple to use, yet functional, even for the greenest of users. As Ken Segall wrote in "Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success," Jobs' obsession became known by many as a "religion of simplicity." I fear that adding 3-D to the overall UI experience could move Apple away from Jobs’ mantra and hence overwhelm the average user. For example, I like an uncluttered home screen on my iPhone. In doing so, I organize apps into folders based on their uses. Adding a 3-D element to icons – especially one that would change as you move your iDevice in and out of different environments, would get old rather quickly. In other words, I want my home screen to remain boring and … simple. This isn’t to say that I’m against adding 3-D to the iOS experience. Adding 3-D elements to games, utilities, and other types of apps, for example, would be a terrific step forward. Additionally, I would love to watch 3-D movies on my iPad. One feature I do love in iOS 6 that is along these lines is what Apple has done with their native Music app. As Faust also mentioned, the app now includes a reflection on the metallic sliders that actually change as you tilt the phone from side to side. You can see the slider in this screenshot: Apple can make the iPhone screen longer, the iPad screen thinner, and the notification center better. Eye candy or not, just please don’t mess with my home screen by cluttering it with unnecessary effects. Would you like to see 3-D elements come to the iOS UI? Photo:

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