Improving the iOS spotlight screen

I have always felt that the spotlight area in iOS( the universal search screen) is underutilized. There’s a lot of screen real estate there which can be put to better use. In iOS 5, Apple introduced the ability to tap and hold any word and see its definition(The tap and hold feature doesn’t work in spotlight area strangely). Handy feature, but it can be further enhanced if we could simply type any word into spotlight search and view its definition. Just like in the pic below:

A simple define option would be just great. This would make the inbuilt dictionary functionality even more useful. Right now whenever I need to find the meaning of some word, I just go into messages app and tap and hold to define.

Bring some siri-like functions for non-siri users and more

Almost a year ago, Palm added a feature called just type to its WebOS. The same idea can be applied here as well. There should be options like Tweet, Update FB status, Message etc for whatever I type in the text box.

Now to some siri-like functions: How about typing in weather and see a nice weather widget slide in? Type 2+2 and show the calculated result? There is a lot that can be done. Simple questions which we ask Siri ; “Do I need a raincoat?” , “How many bytes in a kilobyte?”  when typed should show some quick results just like Siri answers. Or something like “wake me up at 6 am” should just let me set an alarm right  from the spotlight screen.

You must be thinking that this feature wouldn’t make any sense for 4S users. They already have siri. But let us be honest. Siri doesn’t always get things right and its not always possible to speak to our device for eg. when we are in a meeting, etc. And Siri doesn’t understand some accents yet. During such times, you can quietly write your iPhone/iPad some instruction to get simple things done. Of course, there is an issue with throwing too many options at the user while typing, but some intelligent algorithms and Apple’s elegant design can easily take care of that.

This kind of a feature will make iPhones even more smart. Easier to use. I really wish Apple tried to implement something like this in iOS 6.

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