As I have said before, the concept of usability extends to all technology. And not a far leap from websites is the ubiquitous smartphone, and in particular, the iphone. In the grand scheme of things, I am relatively new to the game. I never felt the need to pull up a site while at dinner with my buddies or while riding MUNI, so I resisted. Now, I know what you are thinking: “Wait, You are a web professional?!?” well, therein lies the reason. I live, breathe, and eat ‘web’, and while I can code a site for a smartphone, I relegated any surfing to my laptop. After all, there are times when we need to escape and ‘turn off‘.
But it seems the concept of ‘off’ doesn’t jump the human-to-iphone synapse. What am I talking about? Applications, or for short, apps. I guess the following has been improved on with IOS5 – I came to this game after IOS4 woes – but here goes:
What is Going On?
I’ve noticed when I close an app on my iphone, it isn’t exactly ‘off’. If I have push notifications set, it will continue to chime (or vibrate) into the night. Okay, so I turned them off and finally the app is… wait, WTF? STILL CHIMING away! (Even after I double click the home button, hold my finger on the icon, and click the minus sign.)
I’m probably missing something here, but why can’t a simple off mean off? Isn’t Apple applauded for their usability?
I guess the problem comes when there are processies that need to run while the phone is on. Messaging is an app. The ‘phone’ part of the phone is an app, and you (albeit rarer and rarer these days) wouldn’t want a person not be able to call you. So herein lies the problem, there is no distinct separation from the different kinds of apps that need to be ‘on’ all the time.
Not only do all these notifications kill battery life (some tips to hopefully lessen the effect are at http://osxdaily.com/2011/10/16/ios-5-battery-life-fix-tips/), but are just plain annoying. When I am doing my thing, I don’t want my concentration to be broken by my phone chiming every second.
But maybe this is what they are going for? The advantage of being so ‘connected’. I admit, at times, I really like this concept. There should be another option though. We should be able to ‘turn off’ when we need to.