Over the last several weeks I’ve been noticing how great some apps have gotten in the mobile space. I am especially amazed at the number of apps being released by small app developers that are so much better than Apple’s own apps. In recent weeks I have moved from Safari to Chrome, from Mail to Mailbox, and most recently from iCal to Tempo. It is astonishing how much better these apps are at mobile tasks.
And in that is the thought that keeps running through my head — people are designing for mobile to unlock the true affordances of the devices we keep in our pockets. What makes these apps better for me is that they support rapid, integrated, and organized workflow. Mailbox allows me to manage a ton of email very quickly by using gestures to move mail quickly out of my inbox, react appropriately, and stay very organized. Tempo actually seems to make my calendar smart by bringing salient and contextual information to each appointment I need to get to in a given day. These integration and workflow ideas matter in a mobile app so much more than on a laptop. I’m glad that we appear to be reaching the next step in understanding that delivering experiences for mobile are different. I’m simply surprised Apple isn’t the one making that leap — it almost seems the apps shipping with iOS from Apple are light versions of what mobile apps should be just to help people get from the desktop to mobile more easily.