For any smartphone, the user interface is a very important thing as it plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth user experience. For iOS, however, the user interface has not changed much since the iOS 7. Going forward this may change, provided Apple implements this brilliant idea for a new iPhone UI from an ex-Apple engineer.
New iPhone UI that mimics environment
Bob Burrough, an ex-Apple engineer who worked under both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, created a new platform called Project Erasmus. Burrough’s platform mimics the surroundings in a user interface, or we can say it works like a True Tone that shifts based on the surrounding environment.
Burrough’s Project Erasmus is primarily a UI implementation that uses the surrounding environment to reflect the software features on your handset. To reveal the features of the project, the ex-Apple engineer also came up with a simple app.
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“It looks like the user-interface elements are physical objects that reside just beneath the surface of the screen, like you could reach in and touch them,” Burrough said in a video demonstrating the app.
The video shows buttons and elements on the screen reacting to the lighting as Burrough moves the phones around to different lighting areas. To analyze and capture the device’s surroundings, Burrough’s uses a fish-eye-lens camera, which is attached to the top of the iPhone. The tech then maps the environment data onto the app. This data is then used to affect the lighting on the UI.
Burrough gave a few examples explaining how this new iPhone UI idea works. The ex-Apple engineer said that if a user walks into a dark room, then the app would automatically shift into “Dark Mode.” On the other hand, if a user is in a room full of lights, the app would then create an effect that would make it easier to use the phone by absorbing the reflection on the screen.
Project Erasmus – could prove very useful
Burrough notes that his sample app is just one way in which his idea can be applied, and that developers can easily customize how they want the interface to react to the lighting to offer an “unprecedented level of immersion.” For instance, Burrough says one can customize it by adding a backlight effect to the UI when the device is in the dark room, something similar to how Mac keyboards light up in the dark.
Burrough’s Project Erasmus is certainly a useful tech, but so far, its application has been mostly aesthetic. However, there are some obvious practical use cases for the app, such as while playing games or in augmented reality.
Moreover, Burrough’s Project Erasmus is not just limited to the phone. The former Apple engineer released a video showing how his tech works on Apple Watch and a standard web browser.
Apple may easily implement such a tech in the iOS, but they will probably need a wider angle selfie camera. Adding such tech may not make the iOS faster, but it will surely make the user experience more immersive.
Remember the parallax feature introduced with the iOS 7. It was a simple visual feature that creates an illusion of depth on the iPhone. Apart from creating this effect, the feature had no real use, but still, it became popular as the effect it produced looked cool. Burrough’s Project Erasmus, on the other hand, not only produces a cool effect, but also has several real-life uses.
Changes coming with iOS 13
It remains to be seen if Apple adopts this new iPhone UI idea in iOS 13 or beyond. However, there are reports that the company is adding a Dark Mode in the iOS 13. The dark mode would work the same as on macOS, such as a dark background and darker wallpaper with light text in supported apps.
A report from Bloomberg claims that users will be able to toggle the Dark Mode from the Control Center. Moreover, Apple would also add the capability to toggle the feature automatically by time of day.
With iOS 13, Apple could also make font management easier. Presently, it is a bit frustrating to use custom fonts on iOS as a user first has to install a custom profile. Apple may replace this complicated process by a standard font manager in Settings.
One interface level change expected with the iOS 13 is a new volume indicator to replace the big obtrusive volume indicator presently in iOS.