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A Rotated Home Screen: The Necessary Step for iPhone for Business

Posted March 5, 2008 5:53 AM by Gregory Ng
Categories: Opinions 

The iPhone that we all love has a problem when it comes to true infiltration in the business sector. And it is not what you may think. Sure, it needs built-in Outlook capabilities as well as an easier tethering setup. But there is one change to the UI that would change the way businesspeople think about the iPhone: the home screen.

Currently, the home screen is set up for a vertical orientation of the phone. Yet this seems to be somewhat of a disconnect. You see, despite the fact that it is a phone, most everything that makes the iPhone so revolutionary is un-phonelike. How does Apple pitch the iPhone in commercials? First they talk about surfing the web with Safari. Then they talk about using Google Maps. Then they talk about watching a movie. Oh and by the way…it is all in a phone.

The phone is an after thought to this multimedia, internet-connected, beautiful device. The issue I have is that all of these non-phone features are optimized to be used in a widescreen format. You would want to surf the web in the horizontal. Or would want to watch movies in widescreen. But when it comes down to what business users need most: effective typing, the widescreen keyboard is best.

I don’t think this should be a universal change. Rather, it should be an option. Instead of forcing people to rotate their phones for everything except making calls, why not have them rotate the phone vertically to make the calls? This is by no means a deal breaker. But it is a way for Apple to be more elegant in the way it organizes your applications.


  1. I like your idea, but you don’t have to “force” anything.

    It shouldn’t be too hard for Apple to use the device’s built-in orientation sensor to make this change if they so desired.

    That way people could use it in whatever manner they desire, portrait or landscape (widescreen).

    Posted by Alan on March 5, 2008 6:43 AM
  2. In my opinion, the reason the iPhone is portrait for everything “by default” is because that way it can be gripped comfortably in one hand and operated with the other.  There has to be a good reason to rotate to landscape mode (e.g. to watch a movie) because - while it looks nicer, screenwise - it instantly becomes more fiddly to hold.

    Posted by Si Brindley on March 5, 2008 9:18 AM
  3. Please give me landscape EMAIL! @#2 - it’s my choice how I hold the thing dude.

    Posted by Mr Video on March 5, 2008 9:56 AM
  4. @Mr Video: I agree, I’d like landscape email too.  In fact I’d like all apps to support landscape mode.  As for it being your choice how you hold it: of course it is.  I’m just suggesting why the iPhone is designed as a portrait-oriented device and not a landscape-oriented one.

    Posted by Si Brindley on March 5, 2008 10:08 AM
  5. The problem with landscape mode is the *very* narrow vertical window it leaves for text entry. In other words, almost the entire screen is occupied by keyboard, leaving space for one or two lines of text above it. I believe that Apple left that out because it would provide a negative user experience. As a UI designer, I would have left it out also.

    Posted by elroySF on March 5, 2008 10:58 AM
  6. I’m all for keeping the iPhone OUT of the business sector.

    Let them keep their bat belt thumb typing Crackberrys.

    Got to keep some coolness factor to the iPhone.

    Dockers wearing, blue button down bat belt droids won’t help.

    Posted by Guy on March 5, 2008 11:20 AM
  7. quoting Guy

    “Dockers wearing, blue button down bat belt droids won’t help.”

    Son, I don’t even wear dockers on the weekends.  My slacks cost more than the iPhone.  That’s the business sector.  Dockers are for kids.

    Posted by joe on March 5, 2008 11:56 AM
  8. @ joe:

    “Son, I don’t even wear dockers on the weekends.”

    so… what you’re saying is that you wear dockers (!). and that’s some mighty fine wasteful spending you’ve got there. son. clearly you’re in management and not engineering. let’s all get pointlessly snarky!

    @ relevant things:

    it WOULD be nice if all apps on the iphone would adapt to screen orientation so that users could hold it whatever way is most useful to them, but i hardly think the orientation of the HOME SCREEN is keeping it out of the “business sector”. i don’t think anything is, actually, except for stigma. the iphone doesn’t support exchange, not outlook, and who needs it anyway when there’s imap (except those unfortunately locked into an ms situation)? there have been several reviews online since release debunking the significance of the exchange issue for business (a perceived sector, imo - the iphone was designed for everyone).

    Posted by mangoduck on March 5, 2008 3:16 PM
  9. Very well put.  I think the main thing stopping iPhone being more popular in business is the fact the PIM apps haven’t developed much (yet) and are a bit rudimentary.

    Posted by Si Brindley on March 5, 2008 3:24 PM
  10. To joe:

    “Slacks” ?!?!  Are you serious?  Money doesn’t by taste or class, that’s for sure!

    Enjoy your Mcmansion & German “crossover SUV”

    Posted by Guy on March 5, 2008 7:45 PM
  11. For some reason Apple likes to limit the options on their products - a little too much for my tastes.

    Posted by Cubert on March 7, 2008 11:24 PM
  12. In my opinion, the reason the iPhone is portrait for everything “by default” is because that way it can be gripped comfortably in one hand and operated with the other.


    Posted by Berrytree on March 8, 2008 10:20 AM
  13. Good article

    Thank you for the informations.!!!!!!!

    kral oyun
    kral oyun

    Posted by kraloyun on May 24, 2008 11:15 AM
  14. I too agree the point. When it comes surfing the web Or would want to watch movies, I love to have it in widescreen. This can be a flaw with Iphone.

    Posted by Eric on May 28, 2008 2:41 AM

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