If you ask me, one of the best features of the Apple iPhone is the touch-screen. Touch-screens have been around forever; at least it seems that way to someone who just turned 30. The thing is, for as long as they’ve been around, I’ve pretty much preferred not use them. They just always struck me as a gimmick. Maybe you disagree. Maybe you had been waiting patiently for a chance to tap at an unresponsive screen over and over, while simultaneously distorting your view and getting your fingerprints all over the screen. I know what you’re thinking, “Tom, you don’t have a problem with touch-screens, just BAD touch-screens.” That’s true, but it’s weird that you refer to me by first name in your thoughts. Then I tried the iPhone and subsequently the iPad, and I hopped on the touch-screen band wagon. In my mind, they are far and away the best touch screens I’ve ever dealt with. They’re responsive and precise, and somehow my fingertips are always able to slide easily over the screen like…a fingertip on an iPhone screen (sorry, best analogy that I could come up with). But the point of this post isn’t to praise the iPhone, pretty much the greatest phone ever made. The point is to remind all of you out there who are looking to make the next “Angry Birds” to play to the iPhone’s strengths.
Apps that use the touch-screen often and well are easier and just plain more fun to use. Too many apps have a forward button, a back button, and menu buttons. Too many games just ask you to use the touch screen like a video game control pad (which ends up being adequate at best). Give me lots of buttons! The beauty of the touch-screen is that buttons can be everywhere, yet most apps confine them to the top or bottom of the screen. And don’t stop at buttons. Let me pinch, pull, drag, tap, shake, double tap, the whole deal.
Remember in Minority Report where Tom Cruise has that hologram computer that he waves his hands all around to operate? Give me that! Imagine if he had just sat there, tapping a next button. He’d never have caught the real killer, who I think was himself, or his boss, or Colin Farrel. I haven’t seen it in a while. Everyone is trying to think of the next great app idea, which they should, but take a look at the top 25 in the app store. It’s loaded with apps and games that are simple and make great use of the touch-screen.
Going back to the game, “Angry Birds”, this thing has been the top seller for what seems like forever. It’s about sling-shooting birds at block houses! Does that sound like the next great app idea to you? But it’s fun, and a big reason why is how well it uses the touch-screen. So when the idea for the greatest iPhone app ever made comes to you tonight in a dream, I ask you to do two things:
- Call Accella!
- Think about how you can make good use of the touch-screen.