I was looking forward to location-based reminders on my iPhone 4 in iOS5, but the functionality seems to be very badly designed resulting in failures to generate reminders at desired locations.
An example of one of my intended uses of this functionality is to set a location-based reminder for every time my train goes through the station two minutes preceding my station, in case I fall asleep on my way home and miss my station - not something that happens very often fortunately. On my outward journey, I therefore set up a reminder based on my current location as my train went through the particular station. On my return journey, my iPhone failed to notify me as my train went through the same station. When I got home, using Google Earth I found that the GPS co-ordinates that my iPhone had recorded for my "current location" while at the station were a considerable distance from both the train line and the station, presumably because my location's accuracy was poor at the time that I set up the reminder. Because the accuracy of my location was more precise during my return journey, my iPhone did not detect that I had arrived at the previously configured location. I therefore tried to find a way to configure the correct GPS co-ordinates or enter a precise address, but no such functionality exists; you can only configure a potentially inaccurate "current location" or the address of one of your contacts.
The design flaws with this functionality that I have found so far are:
- There is no way to enter an address manually
- There is no way to enter GPS co-ordinates manually
- There is no way to edit a configured address derived from a previous "current location"
- There is no way to edit GPS co-ordinates derived from a previous "current location"
I have also noticed the following inconsistencies with the usual iOS user experience:
- When adding a new reminder, you have to press Return to go to the next line to add a second new reminder before you can configure the parameters of the first new reminder, which is messy and unintuitive
- To delete reminders, there is no edit button on the main Reminders list in order to generate delete buttons against each reminder. Instead,you have to go into a particular reminder and delete it from there.
I'm surprised that nobody noticed any of these deficiencies in beta testing. This functionality has the potential to be extremely useful for a variety of purposes, but its current implementation is unreliable and fundamentally flawed.