The iPad feels like a household device.
Sofa computing: passable from person-to-person, parent-to-child… And sharable as a ‘multiplayer magic table’ surface, as discussed here previously.
And yet, at time-of-writing, it’s a personal computer.
While parents of my acquaintance have found work-arounds, such as placing their children’s favourite apps on specific ‘pages’ of the homescreen, it’s a device bound to a MacBook or iMac, and an iTunes account – ultimately to an individual, not a small group.
While travelling last month, my wife and I managed to use the iPad as our shared device by basically signing-in and out of our Google accounts. Do-able but laborious.
Switch seems like a useful step in the direction of “non-personal computing”, allowing multiple user accounts for browsing, with a single password for each.
But I thought I’d quickly sketch something that built on the ‘magic-table’ mock-ups I’d been playing with back in the summer – looking enhancing the passable and sharable nature of the iPad as an object in and of the household.
It’s pretty simple, and not much of leap, frankly…
The ‘person-in-each-corner’ pattern can already be seen in iPad games such as Marble Mixer and Multipong, so this really just uses the corners of the device in tandem with the orientation sensors to select which of the – up to four* – different users wants to access their apps and settings on the device.
Activity notifications could be displayed alongside the names on the lockscreen so that you could quickly see at a glance if anything needed your attention.
And, if you wanted a little more privacy from the rest of your housemates or family, then just a standard iOS passcode dialog could be set.
That’s it really.
Just a quick sketch but something I wanted to get out of my head.
The individual nature of the UI and user-model of the iPad seems so at odds to me with its form-factor, the share-ability of its screen technology and it’s emergent context of use that I can imagine something (much more elegant) than this coming from Apple in the near-future.
Of course, they may just want to sell us all one each…
* as well as the four user limit being a simple mapping to the number of corners the thing has, this seems like a very Apple constraint to me…