The Story of TeSlate
Tesla already had a widget available at the time, so why did I choose to create TeSlate?
TL;DR We turned a great concept design, created by D7mtg, into reality. The App Store listing is linked at the end of the article.
It was September 18th, 2020. The pandemic has forced many to stay at home, including myself. Just two days earlier, Apple released iOS 14 which brought us a new form of widgets that can be placed anywhere on our home screen. Widgets already existed before iOS 14, but they were hidden away on a separate page on the home and lock screen.
Many apps had already implemented widgets that can be placed on that widget page. Tesla was no exception and treated users to an interactive widget that can unlock the car or open the frunk. In fact, the ability to create interactive buttons was one of the advantages of the older widgets. But what made them quite unusable was the fact that you could not place those widgets on the home screen.
I was browsing Twitter, which was full of iOS 14 news at the time. While browsing, I happened to bump into a repost of this Reddit post with a concept for a Tesla widget for the home screen. My opinion on it was pretty clear right away: I need to have this in my life immediately. It's providing all the information I want without opening the app, and is looking good while doing so!
I knew I wanted to make this, so I tracked down the creator and found that it was designed by a designer working for D7mtg, a branding agency in Brooklyn. I sent them a Telegram message, asking if they would give me permission to build an app based on their design. Thankfully they were quite excited about me bringing their idea to life. I worked closely with them to get to a result we are both satisfied with.
The original idea of the concept was expanded to support multiple widget sizes, as well as custom widget backgrounds and accounts with multiple cars. The app has also been released on Apple Silicon Macs, so you can keep an eye on your Tesla while working on your Mac.