5 things I want to see in iOS 8

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We’re at that lull in the year where Apple is announcing very little, but back at its headquarters, software developers and designers are working like mad to get everything in place for WWDC in June. While there’s no official word on a date, it’s almost certain Apple will use the first week of the month to host a crowd of developers and tech journalists in its usual venue at the Yerba Buena center in San Francisco. Last year, it sold out within the first couple of minutes. This year, it’ll be more of the same.

As for what we’ll see there, going on history, we’ll probably see brand new versions of iOS and OS X announced. But what new features will they include? Here’s what I want to see:

1. Touch ID expansion to third parties

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Apple’s implementation of a fingerprint sensor is fantastic. So far, it’s the only one that’s useful and – more importantly – unavoidable. It’s embedded in the home button, the only button the iPhone’s had on its front since its introduction in 2007. We all use it every day, so placing a sensor there is obviously brilliant. But – at the same time – it’s so restricted.

When coming up with its designs and feature set, I can guarantee you that Apple’s team didn’t once think it would be developing a tool that only unlocked a phone and authorized downloads. Even then, it only does one of those tasks in a frustration-free manner. I still get asked every day for my password in the App Store when I try to download an app or redeem a code. Unlocking my phone, however, is instantaneous almost every time.

Like a lot of new products from Apple, it has a ton of potential. What it needs is the ability for third party developers to build in authorization in to their apps. I’m thinking mobile banking, PayPal, eBay, even email or any secure locker app like 1Password or LastPass. The challenge here is being able to do it without the companies themselves getting hold of your fingerprint. The solution: building in some kind of “yes/no” mechanism within the iOS framework.

Process would go something like (in a split second):

  • App asks for you to place your finger on the Touch ID sensor
  • App asks your device if it matches
  • iOS checks with your secure enclave
  • Comes back with “yes” or “no” answer
  • Authorized

If Apple is planning to roll out Touch ID to other iOS devices, this expansion is an absolute must.

2.  Improved Keyboard and Predictive Text (or third party installation)

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In my Monday Moan earlier this week I complained about the iOS keyboard. It’s been virtually unchanged since it was launched on the iPhone in 2007. I have auto-correct switched off, because its suggestions are normally always wrong. And there’s nothing worse than going back over every other word to correct it, especially if you’re typing in a language not supported by iOS’ short list.

There are a couple of ways this could be improved. Firstly – in true Apple style – the company could use elements of other companies’ software keyboards and implement them itself. This could be offering up suggestions for your next words like BB10 or SwiftKey do, learning your most common phrases along the way.

Secondly – and unlikely – Apple could open up the iOS system for third parties to install their own keyboards. Imagine if you could go in to the App Store and chose from list of great virtual keyboards (obviously approved by Cupertino first). I’d be happy if SwiftKey was there, or if BlackBerry decided it would be a good way to make some more money, since its hardware sales are tanking.

3. Make Siri always listening

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“Okay Galaxy” or a similar command with a lot of new Android devices makes using voice-controlled functions so much easier than having to do something as archaic as press and hold a button for a few seconds. Or perhaps worse (depending on your personal opinion), having “raise to speak” switched on and having to lift your iPhone to your ear to speak to Siri as if it’s a real person on the other side of a phone call.

No. What I’d love is leave my phone on my desk, or wherever it is, and just bark “Hey Siri, you don’t mind checking if Tottenham Hotspur are winning do you?” and have it respond with “Yes, Lord Vader* – they’re beating Arsenal 2-0.” It’s convenient, easy, intuitive.

*I make Siri call me Lord Vader. You can do the same thing by giving it the command “Call me [desired name here]”

4. Google Now integration

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I know. Not going to happen. Over the past year or so, it’s become increasingly clear that with Now, Google has created something truly incredible. By using your Gmail account, it knows when your orders are shipping, it knows when your flights are leaving, it knows where you’re going next before you remember. It’s one of the most useful products I’ve ever used. In fact, I open up the Google Search app all the time just to use it. Traveling over to MWC in Barcelona at the end of February would have been much harder without it.

Sadly, Apple and Google’s relationship has soured recently. Apple removed the YouTube app from its default native apps and switched to its own Maps app vs. Google’s. So the chances of having it integrated in to iOS, in Notification Center or otherwise, is a pipe dream – to say the least.

5. “Pro” camera feature set

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I love the iPhone’s camera. In fact, it’s hard to find anything on the market that takes pictures that turn out as well as the iPhone’s. Its processor, lenses and sensor all combine to create a wonderful end result. And it’s all automatic. You just have to point and shoot. But sometimes, you’d like to have a little more control.

One example is the Nokia Lumia range, the 1020 in particular. Its user interface lets you have control over every little detail before you shoot. Whether that’s changing the ISO, contrast, focus point, saturation, shutter speed. Whatever. I know there are several apps on the App Store that do the same thing for the iPhone. Camera+ as an example. But it’d be so much easier to have built within the iOS default camera UI.

As for implementation, Apple clearly won’t want to upset the hoards of non-tech/photo savvy users that make use of its devices. So, I’m thinking really simply: Add it as an extra camera type within the app. We already have Square, Panorama, Video and Camera, why not add “Pro”? Then all you’d have to do is swipe across to get to the professional camera option.

Your Turn

What would you like to see Apple implement on the software side of iOS? Are my requests lining up with yours? Let me know in the comments or tweet me: @TiP_Cam

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  • Tulio M. Mesa

    first of all… i would liek these stupid dell banners removed!!!! ugh so annoying

    Second of all, IOS 8 needs a lot, more customization, widgets are still lacking (for once i would like to have my clock on the big screen and have a weather widget without the dropdown menu)

    New keyboard, its annoying, its old, the spell check sucks

  • Brad Carter

    those dell banners suck. please consider another advertiser. it cuts off text

  • Darryl

    The ability to select default apps.

  • Marc

    We’d probably see alot more if the screen size of the devices change :)

    • Dakota

      Sounds like thats a given. Yet I just went out with a male friend who has a 4S and was saying he didnt want a bigger screen. So I wonder if they do introduce 4.5 or so, will they still have the 4 inch. I guess they’ve always had an older version available so with the lack of success with the 5C maybe they’d keep the 5S. I know a lot of people like phablets, I don’t. To me 5 inches is max and many Androids now seem to feel compelled to keep increasing sizes every year.

  • Dakota

    larger screen, google now integration and especially swift key and I’m willing to try the iPhone. More openness and customization as i fear coming from a Nexus I might hate my decision despite every single person I interact with having an iPhone and urging me to get one.

  • napps

    Group facetime

  • Harbmaster

    I want to see the following things implemented in ios 8.
    1) Google now version made by apple. Not the actual google now but something similar by apple.
    2) especially if you use a Bluetooth headset, allow the os to read your notifications or at least ask you if you want a notification read. This can be limited to specific application, such as messages. Also the option to allow spoken notification over the phone or just Bluetooth, even limiting some Bluetooth devices since some are headsets and some our vehicles.
    3) I want to see apple change the keyboard. I like the way the click sounds in BB10. Maybe apple can even purchase flesky and add their keyboard. Apple can also allow custom keyboard by allowing apps to upload directly to the keyboard. Someway without having an app for each keyboard, maybe download and install to device via iTunes. Maybe allowing only approved keyboard submitted to apple and than apple can release these new keyboards with each update.
    4) safari downloads and uploading of files from apps.
    5) apple should allow apps to upload ringtones to the device.
    6) apple should create a dark theme for ios
    7) apple should have poi categories in map app.
    8) Apple should allow apps the API to respond to notifications directly from the notification ( although this isn’t necessary and redundant as clicking the notification, responding, than app switching back acts in the same manner)
    9) apple should allow the blocking of contact groups to be scheduled.
    10) on any blocked contact, the screen should not show you each individual contact info but just the contact name and clicking it shows you all the blocked info, that way we can have the device auto respond to anyone who tries to message us when they have been blocked, very good for business reasons.
    11) apple should allow the device to automatically send a message to anyone who texts you or calls you in case you are on vacation or are in a meeting.
    12) touch id should be able to allow the blocking of app openings or at least have apps have the API of allowing touch id to be an API for locking an application upon opening the application.
    12) Siri needs to have all of her bugs cleared because she kind of sucks more with every new update.
    13) improve airdrop functionality to not need any device to be unlocked in order to find when your settings is for contacts only.
    14) large files should be able to be sent by iCloud to other users, if a user accepts the file than ios will allow that space for downloading that particular file.
    15) apple should allow Facebook picture uploads from the photos app to have folder creation.
    16) apple should encourage developers to use Game Center more.
    17) ios should allow ipad to upload location based reminders to the iphone devices, even indicating that ipad is not capable but capable devices will have the reminder uploaded via iCloud.
    18) ICloud should automatically create albums on the computer and organize all pictures and videos made on the devices based on moments and have a button to delete content organized on the computer from the iDevice that has them saved, this way we don’t lose the files and our phones can save memory.
    19) Siri should go back to being fun and awesome again.
    20) allow ios to be a customizable os, maybe not the whole os theme but at least the message bubbles and background of the messages app( for those that way it will waste battery, the background of messages all is pure white therefore wasting the most color, basing this off an assumption though ).
    21) two running apps simultaneously on the ipad, maybe not so much the iphone.
    22) when making an appointment, location should allow us to easily Input a contacts address or other address to make GPS easier, and when the app alerts you of your appointment it could use the address to estimate the time it will take to get the appointment along with informing you when you would have to leave by to be relatively on time and also perform navigation services.
    23) auto personal contact upload should allow the use of an email you would like, not just the Facebook email.
    24) there should be a way to access passwords created by iCloud so you are aware of the passwords.
    25) better text manipulation feature of ios so I can easily go to my word without causing problems when touching the text.

  • Julius

    All I want is BUG free.. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EB45UYM/