Improving the iPhone's Contact Management Product


While at dinner two nights ago, the four of us around the table started talking about our new iPhones... which we had all traded in blackberries for. After some apps were showed off and the general 'cool factor' wore off - we talked about how painful it is to sort through the contact album... which really is the root of how the iPhone operates as a phone.

At the most extreme end, Vinny (of Synthasite) showed how it takes 20 seconds to load his contact list (which has 4,500 entries). Now that's absurd on a few levels... but even my album of 500 contacts takes 5-10 seconds to load. That's inexcusable and really makes it really tough to navigate as a phone.

Here's what I'd like to see:

- First, I want the ability to add contacts to the deck... just as you can clip webpages and add them as icons. I would then create a homescreen of the top 20 people I call. This seems relatively easy to do and I am amazed it's not currently offered. The Blackberry offers hot-keys for assigned / auto-calling.

- Second, I'd like to break the contact list into groups that are independent of one another so that the entire contact list doesn't have to load with each usage... after all, that's where the pain comes from.

- Third, I want universal search. I want to be able to find people by first AND last name. And I want the search function to load independently of the contact album and be the first function to load. The current search function requires you to navigate to the top of the album and then search... big pain.

- Fourth, I want to be able to place calls / add a contact from the SMS menu without scrolling to the top of the chat history. It is bizarre that contacts and interactions are treated uniquely throughout email, phone, SMS, etc.