With the current iPhone OS, apps are deleted from the home screen by holding to enter the drag mode, then tapping the crosses which appear in the top left corner of every app that can be deleted. After this a conformation is required and a there is a request for a rating.
I think there would be some benefits to using a system similar to Mac OS X’s Trash. Instead of showing lots of little crosses, apps could be deleted by dragging to a Trash icon that only appears when in app dragging mode.
When entering drag mode, the apps in the dock compress to make room for the Trash. Apps are deleted by dragging into the Trash and letting go. There is no confirmation. This is much like adding an app to a folder in the iPhone OS 4. Tapping on the Trash opens a view which shows the apps in the Trash as a list like in iPhone Spotlight.
The icons still visible in the dock do not jiggle while the Trash is open. These icons are faded to show their ‘off state’.
Tap an app to restore it to the home screen. Tap Done to return to app dragging mode. Press the home button to close the Trash and can cancel the dragging mode.
With this scheme, there is no opportunity to rate an app when deleting. I don’t have much respect for the App Store ratings and I hate interruptions so I have not provided a chance to give a rating.
Does the Trash need emptying?
I don't think so. In most cases, I think it would be fine to never clear the list. This is a user interface consideration. The user sees the Trash as a list of everything that had ever been deleted on the iPhone. From a technical perspective, the list should always be kept but the application file could be deleted if the device is low on storage space. After restoring such an app from the Trash to a home screen, it would be downloaded automatically as if you had just installed it from the App Store.
Possibly, it should be possible to swipe to delete individual apps from the list for if their presence is in some way offensive. This could be problematic as I can image obsessively tidy people going through and clearing the Trash item by item. This very much needs avoiding.
Key advantages over existing system
- Apps can be recovered very easily
- Screen is not cluttered with crosses when moving apps
- Dragging to the bottom left corner seems far move natural than tapping a cross
I am just musing. Here I have presented a fairly detailed implementation of the Trash concept. It’s the concept that is important though. I expect a Trash concept was considered and rejected during the iPhone OS design process.