Can Contacts on iOS and OS X be better?
The Rolodex used to be a prized possession. When you got fired or you quit, it was the one thing you made sure to take with you. You kept your contacts nice and neat. I used to type mine up and print them out, fold them up, and carry them in my pocket – always – and I was sure to keep them updated. We loved and respected our contacts.
These days, contact information is still important, but not immediately necessary. I’ll just look you up. Phone number, Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat… So many ways to get in touch. Do people even share physical addresses anymore?
We know so many more people these days, or at least we can. Who has time to manage all those contacts? I don’t. I want to. My contacts are a mess. Or at least it feels that way. Technology can easily solve this problem by providing more functionality, convenience, and a better user experience around contacts.
Some have tried to solve it. My Facebook friends are in my Contacts app, even my LinkedIn connections. There are plenty of other services and apps that have taken a stab at this. Have you heard of this Brewster thing going around?
Contacts are table stakes these days. They just live in my phone and in the cloud, frozen in time, waiting for me to use them, or change them. That’s not what real life is like, though. My contacts are real people. They live places, move around, feel up, feel down, change moods, numbers and addresses, change their hair, their likes, their dislikes, their…
And I have a history with them. I may have just met them or maybe I’ve known them for a while. Our relationship is defined or it isn’t.
Facebook is the closest to nailing this, but it’s not quite right, and it’s not what I want to use Facebook for. It’s not my Rolodex – at least not all of it.
And there’s also an undesirable trade-off between using a free and great service like Facebook on the one hand, and having to see ads and letting all this private data live on the web, on the other. My contacts are mine. My relationships are my business. I don’t want or need to have all this information live on Facebook’s servers just so they can serve me more targeted ads.
For the purpose of bringing Apple Contacts into the 21st Century, I propose two major goals: