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Redesigning the iPhone Multi-Taskbar

You know I’m passionate about letting my imagination run wild trying to get a head start on the possible new features Apple might incorporate in the near future. In the past I have made a kind of tradition out of this practice and in November I already offered you a list with ten features that I would like to see incorporated in iOS 6 . Having said that, you will understand my interest in the redesign that a reader from The Verge has done to the multitasking bar of the iPhone to solve many of the shortcomings that iOS currently has.

But before seeing what Brentcas has to offer, in a very graphic way thanks to several mockups , what do you think if we quickly go over some of the current problems of the iOS 5 multitasking bar? Namely: a lot of wasted space, separate playback controls (volume on one side and controls on the other), places as non-obvious to place the orientation lock as the same bar of the playback controls, and endless pages of open apps. Can it be improved? Of course it can…

More space and Spotlight always at hand

Redesigning the iPhone Multi-Taskbar
Redesigning the iPhone Multi-Taskbar

By doubling the number of active applications visible on each page we make it easier to halve the number of pages we have to go through until we find the one we are looking for. In addition, the multitasking bar also incorporates page indicators to give us a direct reference of their number, our position in them and while we’re at it, clarify where the audio controls are (and the new settings you’ll see below).

This is already a subtle but interesting improvement, but if we also add Spotlight to the top to keep it always on hand the result is outstanding. In Mac OS X, there are few faster ways to run an application than to start typing its name in Spotlight. And with more and more apps coming to our phones, it can sometimes be a real odyssey to find the one we’re looking for. Giving Spotlight more prominence in iOS would kill two birds with one stone.

More convenient and useful playback controls

Again, more space means being able to group all the playback controls on a single page. As an exception, on this page the Spotlight browser leaves room for a bar where we’d counter additional features that would allow us to create a Genius playlist from the song we’re listening to (even if it’s from another app), share it in Ping (people would start using it anyway), and so on…

A fantastic detail would be that the elements on this screen are smart enough to adapt to the app that is the source of the playback. Using Pandora as an example, the top bar would show the thumbs of like or dislike, and the control to go back to the previous song would disappear since it’s not possible to do it in this service (currently you can hit the button but it doesn’t do anything, something that clashes with Apple’s philosophy).

Settings and shortcuts

The Verge

shortcuts to enable or disable Airplane Mode or different connectivity systems ( Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G ) to save energy. Adjusting the brightness on iPad would also give you more direct access, but more importantly, you’d also have a first icon to go directly to the settings of the application in focus.

At the opposite end, another button which, although far from being the most elegant solution, would at least be a solution: close all open applications . All of them, at once. With this, I would have very few excuses to jailbreak my iPhone. And you?

At Apple