iPhone Contact Coverflow

  Anyone who’s used coverflow on the iPod Touch or iPhone may remember using it once or twice, maybe a third time to show off, but how useful is...

iPhone Contact Coverflow

Anyone who’s used coverflow on the iPod Touch or iPhone may remember using it once or twice, maybe a third time to show off, but how useful is coverflow for selecting music ? Not very.

I think using Coverflow as to display your contact list would be a much better use of this display technique. As we become increasingly visual creatures browsing by photos of your contacts becomes more important. Currently the only benefit to adding attaching a photo to contacts is so it displays in a tiny square once you entered into the contacts details.

Sure hitting Contacts, then turning the device sideways and bringing up Contacts Coverflow has to be a better way of finding the person your after. Especially when it’s not a close friend that you happen to know both the first and last name of. Perhaps your doctor or taxi driver that you only see once in a blue moon could be accessed more efficiently by scanning through photos.

Apple have tried to solve the problem of sorting through a large number of contacts in Software 2.0 by adding search to contacts, this is a positive move, but still requires you to know the name of the contact your after.

Please Apple take this suggestion on board for the next generation iPhone. I doubt this is the sort of functionality that could be achieved through the SDK or I’d suggest a 3rd part developer get to work on this one.



Creator of techAU.com.au (formerly techAU.tv) - the technology website provides a way to share the best content with an audience of millions each year. Also an app developer for Win8 and WP8 and Founder & CEO of Constructiv.co - Changing the way products are developed.
31 Comments on this post.

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  • winandmac.com
    8 July 2008 at 5:43 am

    […] [via TechAU] […]

  • chinesealbumart
    7 July 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Wow. Thats a great idea. I have a similar functionality in my HTC Diamond where you can add contacts to FAVOURITES and then scroll through a Cover_Flow type of display to find your favourite contacts !

  • danmac
    8 July 2008 at 12:08 am

    As someone who has spent the last 3 years taking photos of everyone to put on my contacts list, will definitely like to see this

  • Good Idea: Contact Coverflow | The iPhone Blog
    8 July 2008 at 11:28 pm

    […] web shortcuts to your homescreen, but it’s not very convenient and the photos are very small. TechAU managed to have one of those moment where they think of something that we all should have: Contact […]

  • Contact Coverflow?
    8 July 2008 at 11:59 pm

    […] Via: TechAU […]

  • juba
    8 July 2008 at 9:20 am

    oh you mean like on the touch diamond?

  • wat
    8 July 2008 at 10:31 am

    kevin rose, really?

  • techau
    8 July 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Many of my friends aren't into technology, not sure they'd be that keen to have their photos online, so rather than post photos of my actual contacts, I decided to go with online celebrities who's photos have are already online.

  • Adam
    8 July 2008 at 12:56 pm

    It certainly adds a more personal aspect to contacts, but it'd look terrible going through contacts that don't have pictures, or if you have thousands of contacts. CoverFlow is amazingly slow in music, so I'm skeptical, but sure, some people would find it useful.


    (Good job getting on Giz BTW)

  • shawn
    8 July 2008 at 1:12 pm

    nice idea, but I think it might take too long to find a contact..

  • Matt
    8 July 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Who has contacts on their phone they don't know? if you do you should stop stalking strangers…

    I hate the idea of flipping my phone sideways, choosing their face and then flipping it back – I'll welcome the Search feature on my iphone though.

  • Sanjay
    8 July 2008 at 1:15 pm

    An addon app Intellisync for the jailbroken iphone already has this implemented.
    Though it really is only useful for a few contacts like maybe your favorites list.

    For any large contact list you need search/filter. IMHO the palm did this best.


  • frissy
    8 July 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Now that…would be cool.

  • pat
    8 July 2008 at 1:41 pm

    *checks reflection*

    wait, kevin rose is secretly jack johnson?

  • dave
    8 July 2008 at 1:44 pm
  • Dandy
    8 July 2008 at 1:52 pm

    i wish kevin rose was in my address book! 😉

  • alex_kac
    8 July 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Actually we have something like this already coming for the iPhone. Our top selling app (really, we have stats to prove it) Pocket Informant is coming to the iPhone soon and one of its features is the Contacts CoverFlow. We have even considered making it a separate app apart from PI so people can use it even if they don't want a full featured PIM.

    I know this is a commercial and I don't mean it to be – just to let people know it *is* being worked on. We'll have more info and screenshots at http://webis.net in the next week or two.

  • Josh Cartu
    8 July 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Yes but who has time to add photos to everyone in your contact list…

  • Kevin
    8 July 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I thought this exact same thing as soon as I started adding photo's to my contact information. For the folks without a photo a simple business card could pop up with appropriate summary information.

    As for who can make this happen, after watching the initial overview video of SDK development it sounded like all developers would have the hooks required to make coverflow available to their applications, so this shouldn't require apple's direct involvement. I would prefer it be built into the standard contact module however, since this seems like a pretty easy improvement to existing functionality that Apple already provides.

  • Deb
    8 July 2008 at 10:40 pm

    This is an excellent idea! But I actually use coverflow for music selection on my iPod all the time. I like how it fills the void of flipping through records and CDs that the MP3 format has created and I love having both the convenience of using MP3s and the option to select my music visually. Sometimes the art makes me remember a great album in a visceral or emotional way that the names alone might not.

  • MartinSFP
    8 July 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Yeah, your taxi driver might think it's a bit creepy if you ask for a photo!

  • Lucas
    8 July 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Brilliant idea! I'd love to see this feature on my iPhone!

  • kyle tebow
    8 July 2008 at 11:06 pm

    use facebook to populate the photos. software idea?? also to find names.

    great idea

  • .jedi
    9 July 2008 at 12:34 pm


  • Apple iPhone News – Contacts With Coverflow Concept Kind Of Cool | iFones.com Apple iPhone 3G iPhone News
    10 July 2008 at 9:34 pm

    […] Coverflow isn’t my favorite feature of OS X, but I have to admit it is neat, but that’s about it. There are more efficient ways to organize pretty much any data you can think of, but this idea of applying the technology to your iPhone’s Contacts list intrigues me. Nothing fancy here, it would likely be a piece of cake for Apple to throw together, and I’m a little mystified as to why it hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t be the first time photo browsing for contacts has been used, but it would be the coolest. And yes, I really have Kevin Rose’s contact info on my iPhone, and no, he doesn’t know about it. [TechAu] […]

  • divaba
    22 August 2008 at 6:37 am
  • Darla P. Wick
    14 September 2008 at 3:43 am

    Yeah, but using private Apple APIs (a SDK no-no). Only works on a hacked phone.

  • GPSReviews
    21 February 2009 at 11:42 am

    Im not convinced it would work unless you have a lot of distant friends with similar names, and are a visual person. If just enter my taxi driver as Taxi and find him easily.

  • Sneaker
    14 March 2009 at 7:00 am

    It's not really Cover Flow if your not showing covers. People Flow?

  • khidot95
    26 July 2009 at 2:24 am
  • alexanderkent
    29 January 2010 at 7:59 am

    Did any of you use Tansee iPhone Transfer Contact like me? I REALLY love it! It helps me backup all my contacts as well as the contact’s photos to my conputer. And I can also choose to transfer all contacts or just a single contact.
    For those who have the same need of me, you can click here to get more information..
    Hope you enjoy it as I do!