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Shortcuts in general are missing on the iPhone. It's pretty quick to do almost anything on the phone, but it should be possible to make it *really* quick to do a few things. Maybe the double click of the menu button (or some other interaction) could bring up a customizable shortcuts menu and you could set shortcut items like call wife, open movie times bookmark in Safari, show me traffic congestion on my normal commute home in Google Maps, etc. stuff that you do all the time and takes a few clicks/swipes more than you'd like it to.

Ethan Bodnar

Thats a great idea. I have heard some other people complaining about this. From what I could understand from Steve Jobs is that Apple will be able to update the iPhone without having you to buy a new one. So hopefully they could add this functionality.

Oskar Lissheim-Boethius

Fantastic idea. I actually dreamt about this feature a few weeks ago (hype? what hype?) thinking how I would handle the phone, and I found this to be a very intriguing solution.

Choosing to get a quick-start menu when double-clicking is very cool as well. I recommend you go file some bugs/requests at bugreport.apple.com (free ADC account required). They just got the iPhone category going.

Jough Dempsey

How about being able to add new icons to the home screen? I'd get rid of "Notes" and "Stocks" and add a photo and the caption of the person's name and have a one-touch click to call them (once the phone is awakened).

Also, while the slide to unlock feature is cute, it gets old fast. How about using the vibrate/ring switch as a "quick unlock" or something?

Daniel Bigler

One of the ideas floating around back in January was that the iPhone could implement simple "gestures" or, as Jason at 37Signals called them, "trails".


It's a multitouch screen, right? Why not utilize it by offering users endless ways to interact with it, even allowing them to specify handmade "shortcuts"? Draw a giant "B" with your finger over the screen, for instance, and a call is immediately placed to your boss... Or, draw a heart to immediately call your wife or girlfriend. As a safeguard against unintended gestures, you might be required to first draw a giant "0" or other shape, then followed by your shortcut – but even at this, with sliding to unlock the device, making a call to a Favorite is at most 3-4 steps away now. And, let's admit it, it'd be a lot more fun to make calls when you could specify your own shortcuts to make them with.

Waldo Jaquith

My Ericsson T610 has a little joystick for navigation. From its opening screen, pressing it downwards takes the user to the directory. The other three directions are user configurable. Because I don't have mobile phone service at home, I find this enormously useful -- pressing the joystick to the left forward calls to my home, pressing it to the right turns off call forwarding. Without that shortcut ability, it would take 5 clicks to make these changes.

Setting my iPhone to forward calls is laborious:

1. push the home button to wake the iPhone up
2. "slide to unlock" on the screen
3. push the home button again to get back to the main application screen
4. select Settings
5. scroll down
6. select Phone
7. select Call Forwarding
8. select "Forwarding to"
9. enter the 10-digit number (the iPhone does not remember that I've forwarded to the same number three times a day for the past two days)
10. non-intuitively, press Phone to return to the Phone settings, which is apparently the method for saving the number and setting the phone to forward to that number

Whew. Ten steps. Now, I can't expect there to be an easy shortcut to do something that so few people are going to want to do often. But there should be some means of assigning one or two shortcuts, such as by using the empty row of icons at the bottom of the home screen.

(Better still, I should be able to set my phone to forward to the same number every time it comes within range of my home WiFi base station, and un-forward every time it leaves my home WiFi station. Or, as long as I'm dreaming, AT&T/Apple should provide VoIP, so that I don't have to forward my calls while I'm at home, but just use my WiFi for service.)

Fred Hamranhansenhansen

The call forwarding story makes me want to write an AppleScript.

Even with a full Mac and Art Tablet there are many times it's better to just talk to Photoshop. Same as sometimes it's better to write something down instead of tell someone verbally, some stuff is hard one way and easy the other.

At the least the iPhone GUI should be recordable, so you can do a task once and save it as a shortcut e.g. "Forward to Office".

This doesn't compete with Ajax at all, where you are adding an entirely new feature from anyone in the world, therefore it goes in the sandbox. With AppleScript you're just accessing the same built-in features using the same apps as you access with the GUI. It's extremely safe compared to running C apps natively. AppleScript has its own kind of sandbox essentially.

Automator for iPhone ...

Tom Saxton

If you double-click on the phone button, it takes you to the favorites list.

So, click the home button (if necessary), then double-click the phone button.

Troy Gaul

There's nothing saying the unlock screen can only have one slider to unlock the phone. So another way to access the favorites (or a more general list of shortcuts) would be to have a second slider near the top ("Slide for Shortcuts").


I'd add a settings preference to control which "screen" opens from unlock - that way heavy phone users could go straight to favourites or contacts or even the keypad.

iPod users could default to cover flow etc.

David Collantes

It took you 3-4 steps to dial your wife on your Nokia? How come? My wife number is on speed dial number 2 (number 1 is voicemail), and all I need to do is slide the phone open, press and hold "2" and wait for engage.

Mister Snitch!

Well, maybe with voice-activated commands you could just say to the phone, "Call Mom at Home" and it would... call Mom at Home.

The commands would come with feedback, too. "Call" would bring up the address book, and a dialogue box "Ready to dial". "Mom at Home" would bring up data re who was being called, and at what number.

If recognition is wonky, a confirmation button could come up that needs to be pressed. Or maybe calls cannot be made via voice recognition (too many early-Newton-like errors?), but at least the address book can appear, saving steps. Since different people will likely have different success with voice recognition, it could be made optional (a preference that's "off" by default, saving Apple some PR headaches).


"I'd add a settings preference to control which "screen" opens from unlock - that way heavy phone users could go straight to favourites or contacts or even the keypad."

I agree. In the meantime, though, I just select the Favorites screen before putting iPhone to sleep. Then, when it wakes up, it takes me there by default.


Not to point too sharp a stick at anyone, but my gut leads me to wonder why one would regularly need to make calls "ten or twenty times a day to your core group". Just saying.


I disagree. First, it seems like your suggestion would remove, at most, just one click (ie. instead of tapping Phone then Favorites, a second click on Home). Moreover, since the Phone app seems to remember which tab you were in when you last used it, you'll automatically go to Favorites when launching the Phone app if that's how you last dialed. So, your suggestion would save on average less than one click (zero, in the case of someone who only dials from Favorites).

I'm considering the double-click on Home to be two clicks, but even if you consider it one 'gesture', your suggestion still saves only two 'gestures', at most.

Moreover, since navigating the Favorites list is much easier (i.e. requires less input) than navigating the list on most phones, I'd think that the iPhone process is already more efficient than on most phones.

Finally, I don't think the design problem here has anything to do with Favorites. Your complaint really is just that a feature important to you could be marginally easier to access. Since I don't consider my iPhone to be primarily a phone, I disagree, and would object to adding a possibly confusing behavior (press Home to go somewhere other than home) to address your need. But I can think of other features that I'd maybe like quicker access to.

The design issue is the lack of customization (as noted above). There's a blank row just waiting for icons. Shortcuts could go there, allowing each of us to solve our problems without introducing non-intuitive behaviors. Third party apps could go there, too, of course...

(BTW, why does hardly anyone comment on the lack of a spam filter on this thing? That's my biggest complaint.)

Account Deleted

I might be off topic here, but I am wondering if there is a way to increase icon or font size? I am pretty near sighted - or maybe it is far sighted - and I can see most things on the phone, but if the details on the Safari interface were just a bit bigger, I would be so happy.

And, Apple makes such a big point about being tuned in to special needs - and I really do think that is true - it would open up another big market for the iPhones. I am not convinced they could be completely handicapped accessible, but maybe there is a way to make them more adaptable for us 40-somethings. If version 2.0 is going to be software updates/upgrades, this would seem easy enough to include.

ps - great blog BTW


I really want to love my iphone, but unless all you want to do is use it as an ipod, look at photo's, and surf the web via wifi; then the iphone is really behind in ease of use as a phone and a messaging device. The hardware design is sleek and beautiful, but way too simple. two more buttons on the side of the phone would not even be physically noticeable and would make a HUGE difference in user experience... they could function as programmable shortcut keys, application specific assist buttons...they could work in tandem with the keyboard to function as shift in order to highlight/select with a finger stroke. Software upgrades are a fantastic idea and will be very needed, but boy do I wish there were a couple of extra buttons.

Alex Ross

Greetings from Munich!

Patrick Murphy

Hmmmm... on my iPhone, double-tapping on the Phone button (to get to the Favorites screen) does not work for me.

It only kinda-sorta works for a slooow double-tap, because the first tap hits the Phone icon and the second hits the Favorites button after the Phone app loads. For normal or fast double-taps, the Phone app always comes up in the last screen it was in (Favorites or Recents or Contacts or Keypad or whatever).

(To test: Go into any non-Phone app such as Safari or iPod. Click the circular hardware button to return to the main screen of icons. Try double-tapping the green Phone icon. In my tests, this gave the same result as a single tap.)

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