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One of the biggest changes in iOS 14 is to support desktop widgets. The previous widgets can only be added in today’s view, which is a negative screen, and the degree of freedom is limited. After extending the scope to the desktop, the capabilities and forms of the widgets have greatly changed. Some people may say, “It is ten years behind Android.” I thought so at the beginning. However, it is not the first time that Apple is “late”, and it is not uncommon for it to “come from behind”, so it is too early to judge based on the launch time alone.
With the launch of the official version of iOS 14, the first batch of third-party apps that support desktop widgets have also appeared. After several days of experience, and after studying the development documents provided by Apple, I found that Apple’s small components are still very different from Android, and there are many “small surprises” that are hard to find.
Uniform appearance, with requirements for design aesthetics
The more obvious difference is in appearance. If it is roughly evaluated as “Apple’s small components are better than Android”, it may be considered “no brainer.” But if you look closely at Apple’s design specifications for small components, you will find that this “harmony” makes sense.
Apple’s desktop widgets come in three sizes, large, medium and small. The smallest one occupies four icon spaces. It cannot be changed at will like Android. It adopts a rounded rectangular design that is consistent with the icon.
Apple requires bold in the color of small components, which can reflect the brand, but can not affect the display of content. The content information is required to be concise and clear, without too many confounding elements. If you need to place a function logo in the widget, it should be displayed uniformly in the upper right corner, and no elements with the same App icon and name can appear.
I won’t list more. In short, Apple’s set of rules is very detailed and has clearer requirements for design aesthetics. This is also the advantage of the combination of Apple’s software and hardware. I will talk about it many times later, “Limited freedom is true freedom.”
Cast App content to the desktop
In addition to strict and detailed requirements in appearance, Apple’s desktop widgets are also very different in concept from Android. Its philosophy is to “project App content to the desktop”, and what matters is content rather than form. Apple has repeatedly emphasized that “widgets are not mini apps”, so they are only for display and cannot be operated or swiped.
Specifically, the small-sized widgets as a whole are equivalent to a button. Click anywhere to enter the App. The medium-sized and large-sized widgets can enter different areas (such as the album cover of the music widget, reminders) Each item of the widget), but the operation cannot be completed directly.
The Android widget is different. It can be used for information display, information collection, or directly as an operation button. The user can slide and click to complete some operations without entering the App.
However, Apple has also retained the original small component form on the negative screen, which can be directly operated.
Make App content easier to reach users
It seems that Apple wants to distinguish desktop widgets from negative one-screen components. To use an analogy, desktop widgets are a bit like 3D Touch. 3D Touch takes out the control options inside the App and does not enter the App to perform some operations. The desktop widget is to take out the content in the App without entering the App to see the information.
You should be familiar with the clock and calendar icons on Apple. The time and date are displayed directly on the icons. In fact, this is the simplest desktop widget.
Apple’s desktop widgets are the projection of App content. Understanding this, widgets can derive many uses. For example, you can put the weather city and air index information on the desktop at the same time. They all come from one App, but display different content. Previously, it was necessary to click in to manually switch, now it is clear at a glance.
I think it is possible that more App icons will become dynamic in the future, or some desktop widgets can be used instead of icons. App icons can be hidden in the App resource library. However, the current problem is that Apple’s desktop management is really bad. Adding small components will disrupt the original desktop layout, and manual organization is a very complicated process.
Intelligent stacking that will “auto-evolve”
Another major feature of Apple desktop widgets is smart stacking. To put it simply, stack multiple small components together, and the system will display the small components you want to use at the top according to the scene. For example, wake up in the morning to watch the weather, at noon to watch nearby food, and at night to watch the road conditions. Ideally, you don’t need to manually find the corresponding App or widget, it will be automatically displayed to you.
The rules of intelligent stacking will change according to time, location, schedule and other information, and can learn the usage habits of everyone, which means that it is not static. Does it sound a bit like Siri suggestion? In fact, Siri suggests that there are also different forms in the widgets, which are directly displayed on the desktop in the form of widgets, which look the same as the icons, but will dynamically adjust. To allow users to directly access the services they want, the two are indeed the same in concept.
Apple provides an API at the bottom, and developers can set up their own App to link with Siri suggestions and smart stacking under corresponding conditions.
There is also a hidden use of smart stacking, that is, you can customize which small components to stack, so as to match a rule of your own. Take an example, such as stacking maps, public comment, and taxi applications to create a dining out scene. Of course, the recommended rules for intelligent stacking, unlike shortcut instructions and automation, are definite causal relationships. It needs learning, the focus is on intelligence, insensitivity, and the way to use it is different.
Desktop widgets may usher in the “Renaissance”
At present, Apple has provided an App area in the App Store that supports desktop widgets, which display more information, such as weather, countdown, etc., and information collections such as memos and to-dos. In addition, there are some apps created specifically for desktop widgets, such as OneWidget and Widgetsmith. Their own apps do not provide other services, but only serve as tools for creating widgets.
Although it is an old feature, if it is promoted by the giant Apple, desktop widgets may usher in a “renaissance.” The old app began to re-emphasize small components, Apple has paved the way, and the problem with Android is just a unified interface. The advancement of the domestic Android ecosystem in terms of intelligence is no worse than that of Apple. In the unified ecosystem, there have been examples of mutual transmission alliances and unified push alliances. There will even be a batch of new apps, specifically for small components, just like the previous ones. Intelligent stacking is a very potential function, and the way of reaching users will be completely changed. It remains to be seen who can grasp the opportunity.
In addition, don’t forget that Apple’s desktop widgets also support iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The relationship between these three is getting closer and closer, which means that developers only need to simply adapt, and they can easily implement it on all Apple platforms. Own widgets. In short, desktop widgets (at least Apple’s desktop widgets) can be expected in the future.
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