iOS7: The case of the missing ‘Decline’ button

One of the primary functions of a mobile phone is to ‘manage’ an incoming call. It was iOS 6 that gave us the ability to decline an unwanted incoming call not just with a curt ‘No’, but with a polite message. My favourite is “Can’t talk right now, I’m driving.” Because that’s when I need to decline the call yet be all reasonable about it. But sometimes the call is from a landline, or from an unknown number or from an unwanted caller, and I prefer to just cut the call.

So far I had both the options at my disposal. But iOS7 has changed it all.

If the phone is not in use, and a call comes in, you can do the following:
1] Respond with a message – that’s still there.
2] Remind yourself to call back – that’s handy!
3] Or just take the call by swiping your finger on the green button.
But there is no 4] – Decline the call!

When you are using the phone, however, the Decline button appears!
Here are two screenshots for comparison

Decline-01

And haven’t we been here before?
Remember how the tweak was originally introduced in iOS5?

Decline-02

The handy “Decline with a message” utility was added later in iOS 6:

photo copy

It seems Apple is going back to their original iOS4 mechanism. And I can think of just one reason why they are doing so.

Sliding is a better mechanism to make a choice than tap when the phone is not in use. You don’t want to accidentally decline an important call, do you? Perhaps the phone is in your pocket and you’d rather take it out and look at who’s calling before you decide to take an action: Press the Power button Twice (not that elegant).

Here’s my suggestion – How about giving the user a slider than provides a choice?

Decline-04

Not that this is such an original idea. This has been attempted in a few Android interfaces as well as Windows. But Apple has stayed away from it for some reason.

While the fanboys are busy glossing over the sex appeal of the new interface (or drool over the parallax effect) and the critics are busy maligning the colour schemes and icons, showstoppers such as this can seriously damage the intended rich user experience.

Let us hope that Apple introduces it in the later versions of iOS 7.

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