iOS is not perfect. Not by any means. However much we love the iPhone’s operating system, it doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. And, with Jony Ive now in charge of the hardware and software design, there should be good things coming from 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino. Here are the 5 things I think need addressing in iOS 7:
1. New User Interface – goodbye skeuomorphism, hello app drawer
iOS has looked virtually the same since 2007 when it first launched. Home Screen(s) full of apps. If you like things tidied away so you can see your wallpaper (like I do) you’ll have found ways around Apple’s arbitrary system. I personally have only two rows of apps on each screen. When you’re in a job that requires you to test a whole load of apps, managing them gets a little tricky. Most of my home screens now are just Folders, each divided in to category. But what I’d really love is to be able to hide them away completely in an app drawer of some kind. I wouldn’t care how you accessed the drawer as long as it was there. It can slide up from the bottom (like Android/BlackBerry) or slide in from the side. As long as I can see my beautiful wallpaper, I don’t care.
The other concern on many a blogger’s mind is the whole ‘skeuomorphic tendencies of Scott Forstall’ issue. When the iPhone first came out, it was necessary for iOS to make the transition from actual physical calendars, notepads and the like by making the replacement apps look like their old-school counterparts. In an age where smartphones are owned by millions of people, and used to complete most of our day-to-day tasks, it’s no longer necessary. Apple needs to step up in line with modern design, or come up with something completely fresh and starting setting the trend again. It’s 2013, and with Jelly Bean, BB10 and Windows Phone 8 on the market, iOS is now the old dinosaur.
2. More useful lock screen
The lock screen shouldn’t just be something to use to tell the time. It needs more purpose, it needs shortcuts to vital options and/or apps. I love the inclusion of the notifications on there, and the quick access to the camera. But, what if it added toggle switches too? The iOS 7 concept from earlier in the week came up with a great solution for it, certainly worth checking out.
Picture this: you’re off to sleep and you’ve forgotten to switch Do Not Disturb on, or switch it to Airplane Mode (or whatever you do to ensure an undisturbed night’s rest). Instead of “hit home or power button>slide-to-unlock>Settings>Do Not Disturb/Airplane Mode “on”, what if the solution was: double tap the home key, hit onscreen Do Not Disturb/Airplane Mode “on”. You’ve halved the number of steps to achieve the same end. Considering Apple is supposedly all about making things simple, and removing unnecessary steps, you’d think it would be quicker to switch all connections and alerts off. I mean, the phone has a physical mute switch for super-fast sound control. Why not have an easier way to stop all notifications/connections?
3. Better multitasking
I know, it’s the one feature that always makes it on to the wish list of iOS features. There’s good reason for that: iPhone multitasking sucks. iPad’s a different story, I love the multi-touch gestures to swipe between apps, or go home. It’s fantastic. I’d like to see a similar solution on iPhone (obviously requiring fewer digits to action). My ideal scenario is something like Windows Phone or – a more Apple-y example – Safari Tabs. If I “grab” on my MacBook’s trackpad when using Safari, I can flick between open tabs and have a full preview of the page that’s open. iPhone multitasking should show you a preview of the app’s last position instead of the tedious and endless sea of App icons that appears under the dock currently.
4. Ability to delete default apps – set third party apps as default
I’ve replaced a huge number of Apple’s default app with other alternatives. I no longer use Weather, Mail, Safari, Contacts, Music, iTunes, Calendar or Compass. I’d love to be able to delete all of them and just use the third party alternatives, which I think are much better designed. Along the same theme, it’d be great to be able to set those third party replacements as default. For instance, it’d be great if my iPhone automatically opened Sparrow or Gmail when I wanted to share a photo by email. Or, when opening a webpage, opening Chrome. Or, when asking Siri to set a reminder, either placing it in Fantastical, Clear or Wunderlist.
5. Notification Center and Status bar?
Don’t get me wrong, having Notification Center and the Android-style drop-down drawer is much better than the horrible blue popups we used to have, but I’m not convinced that Apple’s made the most of it yet. Even when you re-arrange it with your preference of order, it still ends up being a complete mess after a few days of not checking your Game Center or Mail alerts. I’d like to see the ability to respond to messages within Notification Center without exiting to Messages/Mail. I’d love to see toggle switches for Airplane Mode/Cellular Data/Bluetooth in there. It’d also be great to have the option for 3rd party app widgets, giving us a preview of our Facebook feed or something similar. It could be so useful and yet – in my life – it ends up being a horrible cluttered space full of unimportant notifications.
What do you think? What would you like to see in iOS 7? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet me: @TiP_Cam