My iPhone home screen

Back in August one of my favorite podcasters, Casey Liss, had his iPad home screen featured on MacSparky and I realized lots of people (tech celebs and pros) have had their iPhone and/or iPad home screens featured on either MacSparky or another site called The Sweet Setup.

I recently refactored my iPhone into a single home screen, and I’m quite proud of it, so I thought I’d show it off and hopefully introduce you to a few apps you’ve never heard of and may find useful.

My iPhone home screen
My iPhone home screen

The Single Screen

As I mentioned, I recently refactored to a single screen setup. I have everything roughly grouped into categories: reading on the top row, productivity on the second row, photography and entertainment on the middle row, web and social media on the fourth row, local and money on the bottom row. I keep my most-used apps in each of these categories out on the home screen, and the rest in folders.

Since a year ago with iOS 7, you can now keep an unlimited number of apps in folders. Many of my folders are three pages long and at least one is four pages long. The most used apps in each folder are on the first page of the folder, and my long tail of lesser-used apps is tucked away deep inside these folders. When I’m looking for one of these long-tail apps, I typically pull down Spotlight and launch it that way rather than go digging.

Having everything on the first page may seem cluttered, but it actually means fewer taps of the home button to get all the way back out. When I come out of an app that is in a folder, I can tap one more time to get to my home screen, whereas, if I were in a second- or third-screen folder, I might have to hit the home button two more times to get to the first screen. I’m nothing if not efficient (read: lazy).

The Apps

Apps I couldn’t live without: Kindle (books), Logos (Bible), OmniFocus (getting things done), and Overcast (podcasts).

Apps I love: ComiXology (comicbooks), Dark Sky (weather), Instapaper (read later service), Picturelife (cloud photo storage), Reeder (feed reader), Simple (banking), Soulver (calculator), Textastic (web development), and Tweetbot (Twitter client).

Questions about any other icons you see in the screenshot? Know an awesome app I’m missing? Drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook or toss in a comment below. 

My temporary setup: AT&T GoPhone + iPad + Google Voice

You may have seen a Tweet from me mentioning that the backlight on my iPhone 3G finally kicked the bucket. I used it for two weeks and couldn’t stand it anymore, so I started thinking about alternatives.

I’ve got an old Motorola AT&T GoPhone I bought back when I was doing a lot of biking and needed an expendable backup phone, but I hate using it for two reasons: (1) it doesn’t have any of my contacts, and (2) I hate texting with the tiny numeric keypad. However, it dawned on me yesterday that I haven’t even been using my phone for most of my texting in the last several weeks. More often than not I’ve used the excellent free Google Voice service on my recently-mobile-data-plan-enabled iPad. It further dawned on me that I can do almost everything I do with my phone on my iPad instead, except for actually making and receiving calls.

So, I’ve dusted off that old GoPhone and swapped my SIM card in there. When I need to make a call now, I bring up Google Voice on my iPad, click Call, choose the contact, and instruct Google Voice to ring my cell phone. It’s actually a great little setup and I’m sure it will serve me fine until Apple finally decides to release iPhone 5. 

My only iPhone 5 prediction

As should be patently obvious, this prediction is not based on any inside information.

I’ve read some rumors to the effect that the next iPhone will be half an inch wider and half an inch taller than iPhone 4. I’m trying to imagine how Apple could increase the size of the screen without compromising their much touted Retina display. Apple’s always bragged about iPhone 4’s display being greater than 300 dpi, which is supposedly some kind of sweet spot where the human eye can no longer perceive individual pixels. Setting aside the possible dubiousness of that claim, it’s inescapable that increasing the screen size by a half inch on each side without also increasing the resolution would decrease the dpi to around 280 (by my very rough calculations) and basically ruin their whole marketing shtick.

So here’s my totally half-baked prediction: iPhone 5 will have a 720p HD display in order to preserve the 300+ dpi on a larger display. I imagine this will ruffle the feathers of a few iPhone app developers who’ve had to work over the past year to redesign their apps for 960×640, since now they’ll have to turn around and redesign for 1080×720, but wouldn’t it be a fantastic blow to all the competing handset makers who seem to be standardizing around qHD?