iOS Blocks

Last year, we posted information on a research paper and iOS concept called iOS Blocks. Jay Machalani (@technofou), the brains behind the concept, suggests that an interface that combines Windows Phone’s live tiles and Android’s widgets, would be a best-of-both-worlds-scenario for iOS users.

iOS Blocks would essentially allow users to have proper widgets on the iOS Home screen, but the concept is put together in a way that make it totally seamless and transparent to users who prefer to use iOS like they always have. The widgets would mix the uniformity and standardization enjoyed by Windows live tiles with the interaction of Android’s widget system. It’s a smart idea with hours of research and presentation. I highly recommend that you read the original post on Machalani’s blog.

Obviously, Apple didn’t bring any sort of Home screen widget system to iOS 8, but it did give us Notification Center widgets. As if it needs to be said, Notification Center widgets are a far cry from iOS Blocks—a feature that would add significant depth to the iOS Home screen experience.

So after a year, what’s been made of this project and its corresponding research? Well, I have some good news: It’s being developed into a real working tweak, according to this post on reddit by someone closely associated with the project.

iOS Blocks will allow you to pinch on an app icon to expand it to a 2×2 block featuring interactivity. These blocks will stay at their expanded size until you decide to close them by using a pinch-to-close gesture. If you expand an icon into a block on a page where there is no room, the icons at the bottom of the page will be automatically shifted to the next page.

Again, this idea is all a part of Machalani’s ‘Pushing iOS’ narrative. Even if you don’t want to read the dissertation, I suggest that you watch this video where he explains why this concept is more streamlined than Android widgets and smarter than Windows Phone’s so-called live tiles.

…but if you don’t want to sit through that 9-minute video, at the very least, watch this video that shows iOS Blocks in action. Seriously, watch this, as this is what the iOS Blocks tweak is aiming to replicate:

The tweak, which was put into motion shortly after the original concept debuted, is deep into development by a team lead by Matt Clarke (@Matchstic). You may remember Matt from another popular tweak release called Convergance.

Other team members who are working on the project include Gabriele Filipponi (PreferenceTag, QuickMusic), and designer Aesign (Confero). Most exciting is the fact that Machalani, the original concept designer, is on board and is giving the project his blessing. He even put together a nice logo for the project:

iOS Blocks

Although there is currently no ETA or price for release, a lot has been accomplished, and the team, led by Clarke, must be confident enough to show their cards, so to speak. In fact, here’s an image of the tweak running on an iPhone:

iOS Blocks WIP

Personally speaking, I don’t think that there’s any question that this tweak will be a tweak of epic proportions if they can properly deliver on Jay Machalani’s original concept.

I’m excited. What about you?

  • Xin Chan

    super excited as you are 🙂

  • Daniel Shefer

    looks really good! waiting for this one.

  • Fajr Lodhi

    Bein waitin for this for a long time now! Really Excited!

  • suttonmontreal

    IOS 10 here we go…

  • port87

    what is this? A center for ants?!

  • OWashe

    I almost updated my iPhone to 8.1.3.

  • Chris Holden

    looks coolio

  • Maxim∑

    so..Windows phone lol

  • Chris

    Looks awesome, I’m very happy they’ve done heavy research around a simple problem instead of just creating something that just looks ‘cool’.

  • Mike C.

    Bravo! THIS is why i came back to an iphone. Apple and ios can suck it, but the JB community is just full of so much innovation. Can’t wait until this comes out!

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    RIP ProWidgets…Hello iOS Blocks!

    • Abdullah Safdar

      Agree. But prowidgets is good in its own manner. But i agree again since it hasnt been updated for ios 8

  • Troels Quistgaard

    Now I may be wrong, but the screenshot at the bottom does only look like iOS judging by the icons. The statusbar looks like android, with the notifications at the left and the signal bar at the right? It might just be a tweak I don’t know?

    Anyway, when that tweak comes out, you’re going to hear me yell “Take my money!!!”

    • Haraesh Jayalingam

      He is using protean or something similar to arrange the status bar icons.

      • Matchstic

        Yep, I’m using Protean.

  • czbird

    Is the block content going to be able to interact with? Like scroll the day agenda in Calendar, move among cities in Weather, etc… ?

    • Matchstic

      Yep!

  • Blip dude

    Still waiting on Velox (yes, that’s currently in the works), but I guess until then I’ll play with this tweak.

  • Jamie Tilden

    I’m reaaally excited for this BUT I really hope there’s another activation function other than spreading with two fingers and pinching because this requires two hands: one to hold the phone, another to spread the icon. So now you have a tweak reliant on two-hand phone use (especially with the newer, larger iPhones). Double tap, however, might solve this problem. Hopefully that becomes an option.

    • Pj Hickey

      you need two hands to pinch the apps ? i can do it pretty easy on the 6

  • Fevostone

    Jailbreaking on a daily just makes my iPhone 6,iPad air 2 and my Apple TV go into beast mode

  • Rupinder

    I haven’t jailbroken since iOS 6. If the tweak is anything like the concept, I’m ready.

  • OneBigInFiniteJoint

    so basically, i am holding off buying velox 2 lol !

  • Chang in Charge

    Hoping that this is that big iOS 8 jailbreak tweak that has been absent thus far … looks like it could be.

  • Khan Rulzz

    Serious innovation ! Apple should learn something #note

  • AverageSouthNigga

    Saw this concept on reddit last year didn’t know they were actually making its gonna b dope

  • Mohammed Khaled

    I watched the video over a year ago and asked jay if he was panning on bringing it to real life. And I really loved the concept. Though he didn’t reply… It’s good to hear the answer a year later. 🙂

  • Haraesh Jayalingam

    Apple, you better hire these guys and add the iOS block concept in iOS 9 as a standard feature

  • Any idea if the developer is commited to supporting the development of the tweak or will this just be another Velox?

    • Matchstic

      Well, I always reply to emails for Convergance, and have provided that with a year of updates so far, and I can vouch the same for the others, so I can safely say that yes, it will be supported.

  • Ethan Humphrey

    Is there a tweak foor the way the apps appeared on the home screen in the second video?

  • Matt

    I don’t think I’ve been excited for a tweak release as much as this one!

  • diggitydang

    Do developers have to design for this? If so, once this launches, it will take forever to support a feature like this (most apps don’t have notification centre widgets yet!).

    Also, if it moves icons to the next page, does that mean that closing the block would move the icons back? I hate when I move an icon onto a full screen (to put in a folder, say), and it moves the icon onto the next screen. Once the folder is made, the icon that moved doesn’t come back.

    I’d rather see full interaction on the lock screen – like, if a Whatsapp/BBM a comes in, the ability to X it and it clears the badge for me. Or Quick Replying a Whatsapp/BBM (I tried the tweak – it always gives me a “!” in WhatsApp and doesn’t send).

  • Zawwu Zy

    Status bar facebook thingy? :O Which tweak??

  • Jonathan

    Just imagine this on the iPhone 6 Plus

  • sandrow

    I really hope Apple will change the look and feel of the homescreen soon, It became so boring

  • Steven Pedraza

    Wow I’m really blown away by this.

  • Straw hat

    Great video 🙂 hype for this.

  • amazing

  • CasonAsherTech

    Wow. I cannot wait for this tweak. Maybe even something Apple can implement into future versions of iOS? Wishful thinking maybe, but I hope it happens. Although, he did fail to mention in the 9 min video that widgets in the notifications center are interactive.

  • nonchalont

    Oh this is awesome! I’m excited for this. Good job Jay!

  • 9to5Slavery

    I am not going to use two fingers holding the phone as an iPad. Maybe on iPad but on a iPhone there must be another way of doing this.

    I believe in SWIPING the apps up and down while disabling the Spotlight Search on any app icon swiping up or down.

  • Indeed; Apple home screens contain no information. This is a good solution. Up till now the only solution was a few simple iwidgets.

    • Alex Marwaha

      What are all the tweaks u use? like the spotlight search at the top? and the widgets?

  • Diego Milano

    This is indeed very well done; I just wish this would work with Apex but I know it wouldn’t or would take eons.

  • Eikast

    This is a really great idea and I like how they went into detail into explaining how they came up with the solution. I’m really hoping that Apple hires them so that this can be a stock feature.

    I love jailbreaking but I feel like these guys deserve a lot more than just pocket change compared to what they could make working at Apple.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Ironic that the notification center is akin to the vanishing Dashboard on the desktop!

    I’m not sure I get this–as to weather, I’d rather have it there whenever I want to see it. And NOT have to pinch-zoom!

    It’d be great if

    1. You could leave certain widgets functioning.

    2. You could simply tap and hold for others to come alive. Pinch-zooming is going to be tricky in such a small space! Just try it!

    3. Tapping elsewhere would send it away.

  • L J

    APPLE HIRE THIS GUYS NOW!!!!!!!

  • Dante Arellano

    TAKE MY MONEY TAKE IT TAKE NOW!!!!

  • Wesh

    great promising tweak!
    Completely looks like it might be presented by Ive in the future 🙂
    Apple should make a room in their building and stuff it with these kind of jailbreakers/creative devs, and then – on their conventions – show the world what ridiculously genius stuff they’ve come up with.

  • Thomas Gehman

    Ooooohhh….This is good.

  • Nice way of bringing widgets to the homescreen, similar to Microsoft’s Win beta demo (http://bit. ly/1AzaFA5)…

  • Dante Arellano

    This is totally bullshite a big shite this project is from 2014 almost one year ago and fuckking development just give a shite about when it will be relase i guess is pure scam fuckk him

  • Lin Win

    Same as Windows phone then ……Rip off much?