We’ve been hearing rumors for a long time now about what we can expect to see in iOS 7. In fact, the most in depth information came in form of a source leak earlier today. I found it quite amusing that it should show up on the day I’ve been planning to write my wish list on now for more than a week. But I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles a lot of the time.
It may seem a little unnecessary to say, but: I love iOS. It doesn’t matter how many times I try other platforms, and how much I like other devices, I cannot for the life of me escape iOS and its awesome ecosystem. Personally, I think I’m an app addict, and that’s an issue I’m more than happy to live with. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m under any illusion of iOS being perfect. It’s not. Here are my top 7 desires for the next version of our favorite operating system.
I don’t think it’s possible to write an iOS wish list without mentioning notifications. It’s come a long way from its hideous blue pop-up days, but it’s still got some work to attain perfection. Most of my preferences on this topic have come from having tried a variety of jailbreak tweaks and finding that I prefer the modded version of iOS to the default.
First off, there’s that rolling notification that appears on the top of the screen. On a screen the size of the iPhone’s, it’s far too big. A more efficient and less obtrusive way would be to take the idea from the DietBulletin tweak. Instead of having a rolling alert, you have scrolling text in the status bar. It doesn’t take up any more room than your status bar already does, and you can see the entire message as it scrolls across your screen. It’s fantastic.
Secondly, there’s the issue of syncing notifications across devices. If I read an email on my iPhone, I don’t expect the notification to show up on my iPad the second I unlock it a few hours later. If it’s read, it should be gone across all my devices. There’s nothing worse than opening a Smart Cover to a sea of notifications you’ve already dealt with on your iPhone. It’s a pain, and it’s something you’d bank on Apple doing something about. A company professing to love and promote efficiency should notice that this is an issue, especially when you consider that more and more iPhone and iPad users have more than one iOS device.
2. Keyboard with smarter auto-correct
Having used both SwiftKey on the HTC One, and BB10’s new SureType technology on the Z10, it’s fair to say that I’ve gone from being proficient on the iPhone keyboard to downright hating it. I’m constantly miss-typing words, and when I do, auto-correct either doesn’t have a clue what to do or does the wrong thing. In portrait mode on the iPhone display it’s almost unusable.
Part of the problem is the size of the display, but we’re going to assume that the iPhone’s display size will not be addressed any time soon. So, what’s the answer? Personally, I think we need a keyboard like SwiftKey which learns your common phrases and suggests them subtly, either by suggesting words above the keyboard, or having easily accessible word choices above letters like BB10.
3. Bigger Folders and Better App Management
When you have a large collections of apps (remember, I’m an addict) you need somewhere to keep them. Especially when you have dozens of the same category. 12/16 apps isn’t enough for a folder, and there’s no reason why Apple can’t make Folders unlimited. I know it’s not impossible, I have ‘Infinifolder’ (another jailbreak tweak) running on my iPhone, and have 30 apps in one folder. All that needs to happen is that iOS gives you the ability to scroll up and down, or sideways to reveal the ones not currently on screen.
The reason I want this so badly is that I like as little clutter as possible on my iPhone screen, and yet I need to quench my insatiable appetite for applications somehow. I have over 130 apps on my iPhone and that’s having recently deleted ones I haven’t used in a while. There aren’t any currently installed that I could do without. There’s nothing quite as irritating as needing three folders for games, when you know that Apple could quite easily enable Folders to host as many as you can possibly download.
I’d also like more flexibility in terms of where I can place my apps and how many I can dock. Instead of having it so that the apps all flood to the top of the Home Screen page, how about just letting us place the apps anywhere in the ‘grid’? It’s not like we’re going to harm ourselves somehow by having apps in an order and in positions that Apple doesn’t approve of.
4. All about apps – Co-operation and Defaults
This is a big deal in this day and age, and it’s something that Android has got absolutely nailed down. I could have split this wish in to three, but decided to lump it all together in to one.
Firstly, Apple’s default apps: Calendar, Notes, Mail, Safari, Weather, Stock, Calculator, Maps, Clock and the rest all have better third party alternatives. Personally, I use Fantastical, Write for Dropbox, Wunderlist, Mailbox, Yahoo! Weather and Google Maps instead of the Apple-made defaults. It would be great if I could use those as defaults, and in turn, delete Apple’s versions to save some space on my iPhone’s flash drive.
Secondly, apps need to talk to each other better. For instance, with Android, when you open specific links like Twitter, YouTube or Ebay pages, it’ll offer you the choice as to which program you’d like to use to open that. You can even set its as the rule to use that every time. Not only that, but, sharing options from within every app come with a whole list of services, whereas iOS’ choices are limited to Facebook, Twitter and Apple’s own apps. It’s constricting. To say the least.
5. Quick Access toggles
Imagine, you’re going on a plane, or to bed and you want to switch ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Airplane Mode’ on very quickly and easily. Unlock>Settings>etc… Picture instead that your Lock Screen has a few instantly accessible toggle switches like Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb. It makes the process much quicker. I’m not suggesting they be front and center and always present on the Lock Screen. But perhaps, being able to swipe across from the clock to a panel full of useful toggles would be the best way to do it, without filling the screen.
6. Auto Updating Apps
Yep, another Android inspired feature. You have to admit, some of them are quite useful. When you download apps from the Play Store, you can select whether or not you want them to automatically update once a new version becomes available. It would be great if that was an option with iOS. What’s more, if the App Store can auto-download cross-device when you download a new app, why can’t it do it when you download an update?
The frustration with this for me is that we have a shared iPad in my house that I rarely get any time with. It means that the odd occasion I do get chance with it there are 30+ updates waiting for me to update. Let me tell you, on my 2.5Mbps internet connection, that can take some time to complete.
I know, yet another inescapable addition to the list, and one which seemingly makes its way here every single year. The fact is, Auxo is popular on Cydia for good reason. The current app-switching user interface in iOS is terrible. Not only because you can’t see a preview of your app as well as the icon, but because deleting all the apps from memory takes so long. Apple needs to address this at some point.
Overall, I’m not sure how many of my desires Apple will address with iOS 7 when it arrives. We know not to expect too many heavy textures in the graphics department, but other features are unclear. If Cupertino’s designers and engineers really want to make sure we love iOS, and don’t all flood to the jailbreak scene as soon as one for iOS 7 is available, they need to address the common place issues. The seven above are my own personal gripes.
Now it’s your turn. What would you like to see changed or improved?