Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice, men, and Redmondians err do fail. The mobile revolution is here and Microsoft is quickly becoming a niche player of the footnote variety. Instead, Apple rules the mobile device and usage landscape, save for one untried, but highly touted component. Home.
There’s No Place Like Home
Social giant Facebook, widely expected to create their own Facebook smartphone based on Android, instead took the easy road and brought Facebook access to the smartphone home screen.
The home screen is the highly valued area of smartphone and tablet devices where Apple is mostly playing catch up.
Microsoft’s live tiles on Windows Phone sets those devices apart from the anemic lock screen and Notification Center of iOS devices.
Think of the value of a single screen with customizable tiles or windows of information you need to assess the moment. Weather, sports scores, battery life, incoming email, phone calls, text, or Facebook wall posts.
Facebook Home is essentially the home screen redefined for heavy users of Facebook– posts, photos, notifications, chat messages, and much more.
Think of Facebook Home as Microsoft Windows’ Live Tiles but Facebook centric. Apple just doesn’t have anything like that on iOS and needs something similar to show up in iOS 7, due later this year.
It’s The Same Thing
Some may cry out that Apple’s Notification Center is the same thing. It’s not. Not only is action required to invoke Notification Center to the screen, the notifications are anemic at best, and certainly pale in comparison to Windows’ live tiles, and are less than Facebook Home.
Apple still has time to one up the competition. Facebook Home is limited to a few Android smartphone models, and Microsoft Windows phones are nowhere near cracking double digits of market share.
Think of the value of a true smartphone or tablet notification center that is fully customizable, as is Live Tiles. Instead of downloading Facebook Home, customize the lock screen notification center to auto update Facebook status.
Or, customize the tile sizes to match your own information needs. Apple could do this in a heartbeat and dispense with the anemic drop down Notification Center which appears antiquated when compared to Facebook Home or Live Tiles.
Apple could still use the name Notification Center. Press the iPhone or iPad’s home button and instead of a photo of your cat or kids and the Slide to Unlock bar, the screen is populated with personalized and customized notifications.
That’s an idea whose time has come. If Microsoft did it, and Facebook did it, why can’t Apple do it?