Last week Apple debuted iOS6, an evolutionary update to their mobile operating system that typically offered a smattering of refinements dotted amongst a few headline feature updates.
One such headline pricked my ears up more than others, as this particular feature is something i’ve craved since jumping on the iOS wagon back in 2007. It might not sound like much but the “Do not disturb” feature is something that I vehemently believe every smartphone should have by default.
The thing is Apple seem to have missed the mark just a wee bit - well for my needs anyways.
Do not disturb essentially kills calls and alerts to your phone based on a schedule and/or rules you set. That’s great, but actually calls and alerts are the least of my problems. As most people I know tend to use the iPhone for everything but a phone, the biggest intrusion into my personal life is data. Twitter beeping away here, email farting away there… it’s a constant bombardment of stuff that I could really do without when i’m trying to relax. And willpower alone sometimes isn’t enough. When I find myself with no data - like at the Do Lectures last year, it was such a relief, to not even be able to get to email even if I wanted to.
So waaay back just after the iOS introduced the App Store, I did what most people with half a inkling about development did and downloaded the SDK with a problem and a solution in mind. I spent all of a week messing around with my idea until I hit a wall that basically kiboshed the whole thing. Apple locks down certain functions of the phone inside software frameworks marked as Private. Apple get to use these, we don’t. The thing I was trying to do was buried deep down in about three of these private frameworks and no amount of fudging was going to get me what I needed.
The app was called meTime. It even preceeded facetime with the whole word with time tacked on as a name :) This is a ropey old mockup of the UI.
Essentially it did a lot of what Do not disturb does now. Scheduling, time profiles etc. But the thing that I really wanted was the ability to shut off specific Data services during personal time. So, toggle certain email accounts on and off, disable twitter, maybe kill text messaging - but still retaining services that were helpful or useful in my downtime.
Basically anything work related that would bother me when I wasn’t at work.
That separation between work and life is so important and yet we all suck at drawing a line between the two. The iPhone for all it’s brilliance has really done a lot of harm in blurring that distinction.
I’d love Apple to put this feature into iOS, so i’m putting my idea out there and hoping that someone at Apple might have a thing for reading obscure blogs. Fingers crossed eh?