State of Mobile UI, 2017


Android

Has continuously added every little UI component imaginable therefore is rarely used as per exact needs of the user or in the right context of the interface. Being the fragmented OS in it itself, does not help the overall experience.

Best example of convolution: FAB vs. Menus // Navigation drawer vs. "Bottom navigation" (Tab bar)
 

iOS

Has a somewhat restricted and lean set of UI components within the guidelines but not a single extra component was added since its launch therefore is somewhat lacking proper usability from the base OS level. Given that there are now various device sizes, original component set simply cannot cater for the best experience. 

Best example of UI deficiency: Most primary actions are still at the navigation level, top of the screen
 

Perhaps it's time for a UI refresh?

iPad Pro II

...Although, not as bad as pre-1997-pre-Steve-Jobs product lineups, with the addition of Watch – 38 and 42 mm, iPad Pro, Pencil, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 AND 4 , iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (which reeks of 1997 naming convention – iPad Pro II anyone??) – Apple is getting bloated and repeating history....

I was close, but it's much worse I'm afraid :

9.7-inch iPad Pro

Apple, 2015.

Apple is changing. And not in a good way.

I was flicking through Flipboard, when I came across a picture of a mundane looking battery case for the iPhone. As I flipped to the next page on my feed, I shook my head and said to myself “Geez, not another shitty battery pack again”. To my surprise, that case was made by Apple themselves. That’s right, that “shitty battery pack” was ‘Designed in California’.

There are several things I’m disappointed about this. First, it’s the fact that the case is ugly as hell. I learned my way to cope with the camera bulge on the iPhone 6 but this battery bump, is... something. Secondly, Apple just started manufacturing an ambiguous product which serves two different purposes that really doesn’t accomplish neither of those things very well.

(One : Protection is negated by the bulging – potentially dangerous when dropped – battery pack. Two : Battery, which cannot guarantee the same experience amongst different users)

In 1997 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple from his hiatus as CEO, he cut 70% of existing Apple products to just 4 main consumer and business level products, whilst also eliminating the confusing, meaningless naming conventions such as Power Macintosh 5500, Power Macintosh 6500, PowerBook 1400s, PowerBook 2400c, Color Classic, Quadra 950 et cetera to just simple “PowerMac” and “PowerBook”.

Although, not as bad as pre-1997-pre-Steve-Jobs product lineups, with the addition of Watch – 38 and 42 mm, iPad Pro, Pencil, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 AND 4 , iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (which reeks of 1997 naming convention – iPad Pro II anyone??) – Apple is getting bloated and repeating history. 30 million Mac users back in 1997 were happy about the simpler lineups but it’s not going to be an easy task to simplify when there are almost 1 billion users already adapted to the ecosystem. And there isn’t a visionary ex-CEO for them to hire back anymore.

We all knew Apple's decline on "revolution" was coming, but not like this. Not this soon.

Quick iOS tip for parents with wee ones.

It's sometimes inevitable to keep your little ones away from your phones. If they enjoy watching singalong or story-reading apps, they can't help themselves but to press the little round button. And once they are in your home screen, well, you know what's next.

iOS holds an accessibility option named Guided Access, which allows the parent/guardian to limit what can be interacted within the app itself. You can mark the areas to allow taps, or just block interactions altogether – This works for me best because it means my daughter won't fiddle around with any other apps or accidentally call anyone. 

Guided Access can be enabled from Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access, with nice and clear instructions on how to set it up.

*Although Guided Access is a handy little feature, I highly discourage parents from letting their toddler stare at a phone screen for extended periods of time. It's unhealthy for them and it won't do any good for your relationship.