Adam’s iOS 8 wish list: 5 things I want to see in the next version of iOS

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WWDC 2014 is inching ever closer. At that event, we’ll get our first glimpses of the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system: iOS 8. iOS 7 was a huge update in terms of design and functionality — Apple rebuilt the OS from the ground up — so we’re expecting iOS 8 to be an iterative release, improving and perfecting everything that iOS 7 brought with it.

As much as I have grown to love iOS 7, and as much as iOS 7.1 helped to smooth over some of the cracks in the initial release, myself and other iPhone fans feel that there is certainly much more that can be done with our smartphone OS of choice.

We’ve seen Cam’s wish list already, and our own Kyle Frost pitched his ideas for a better iOS from a developer’s perspective, so I thought I’d add my opinion to the pile too.

1. Improved Notification Center

Notification Center

Notification Center has been a useful addition to iOS since iOS 5. However, apart from a visual refresh, it has remained largely unchanged since 2011 in terms of functionality.

Widgets like Weather, Stocks, Twitter and Facebook that bloated Notification Center were removed in iOS 7 in favor of a Today view displaying the current date, weather, Calendar appointments and driving information for frequent locations. This stuff is great and, although nowhere near as functional as Google Now, it is a step in the right direction in terms of predictive, contextual awareness.

As for the notifications side of things, Notification Center is still essentially a list of various notifications for each app on your device that sometimes feels like a chore to manage. In iOS 8, I’d like to see and easier way to keep on top of notifications in Notification Center — let me clear all notifications in a couple of taps instead of tapping dozens of times, let notifications that are old or irrelevant disappear from notification based on time or priority, keep notifications in sync across my devices so I don’t have to delete items from my iPhone and then see them again on my iPad, and clear up the Notification Center page in the Settings app to make it easier to find an app and edit your notification preference.

While we’re at it, let’s stop developers from abusing the Notification Center with their incessant reminders to play their game (a way to stop this app spamming you from Notifcation Center itself would be nice).

We’ve also heard that the Missed and All notifications tabs will be merged together in iOS 8 which makes sense to me as the majority of time I look at the Missed tab, it is empty anyway.

2. Customizable Control Center

Control Center

Control Center was also a useful addition to iOS. It’s stopped me having to visit the Calculator and Clock apps from my home screen, allowed me to delete the Torch app I had installed, and gives me access to a bunch of settings quickly that enable me avoid launching the Settings app every time I want to perform a simple system function.

What I’d like to see for Control Center is the ability to customize which controls are present and which aren’t. For example, I might like a Location Services toggle instead of Airplane Mode or quick access to the Settings app rather than the Camera app. A little more user customizability would make Control Center pretty much perfect for its purpose.

3. Better inter-app communication

Apps

Another rumored update coming in iOS 8 is better inter-app communication and this is sure to please a lot of iOS users.

I’d love to be able to edit a photo in one app and have the ability to push edited content to Instagram or Twitter without having to save the photo to the Camera Roll and upload to those services from there. Inter-app communication would have great potential for productivity apps too making it even easier to work on your iOS devices. Many apps are currently limited in that respect and third-party services or URL schemes aren’t the most elegant solutions for users.

4. iTunes Radio as a standalone app (and worldwide availability)

itunes radio

Myself and many other UK-based iOS users have been patiently waiting on the arrival of iTunes Radio — the fabled Pandora-killer from Apple. The service has had some success in the States and Australia and I’d love to try it out for myself and see if it can replace my use of Spotify.

As for it being a standalone app, I feel that could dramatically improve its usage and would help to make the Music app feel less bloated. We’ve seen Apple take similar steps with Video and Podcast functionality, spinning them off to their own dedicated apps so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Apple take that route.

5. Apple opening up: Touch ID and Siri APIs for developers

siri

Finally, I’d like to see some APIs for developers to tap into the functionality of both Siri and Touch ID.

Although Siri has been a partner play for Apple since its inception, I feel it is time for third-party developers to be allowed to utilize Apple’s virtual assistant for various means. Take Windows Phone 8.1’s Cortana, for example, that enables users to ask to add an item to their Hulu queue. I’d love to be able to do that, or ask Siri to search my Pocket app for something I save previously, to ask Siri read my last WhatsApp message or tell Siri to save something to my Amazon Wish List. There are so many possibilities for developers to get some use out of Siri and I think it would add value to the assistant feature overall.

As for Touch ID, Apple has to be more careful in how it opens the fingerprint scanner to third-parties. However, it is surely feasible for apps to be able to use the scanner for authorization, have the secure enclave give the app a simple yes/no response to the finger being scanned, without compromising any data.

We know Apple is contemplating mobile payments for which Touch ID will be crucial, but it remains to be seen if other services will be allowed to use the magic little scanner. Surely Apple didn’t imaging technology this advance being used simply for unlocking the device and authorizing iTunes downloads.

Your hopes for iOS 8?

What would you like to see Apple introduce with iOS 8? Do you expect new features or just a general refinement of the mobile software? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Twitter: @TiP_AdamO.

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  • RedGeminiPA

    I want to see the app switcher in Control Center, greatly reducing the need for the Home button, thus prolonging the life of it. I have a feeling that won’t come for at least another year or two, but I’m hopeful.

    I’d like to see Apple ditch the need to make more than one purchase/authorization for downloads to actually use TouchID for that purpose. I restart my iPhone daily, rendering that feature useless 99.99% of the time. It’s rare I download/purchase more than one item in a given day.

  • s

    I would like the ability to be on a Facetime call and being able revert back to a voice call only call without having to hangup and call the person back. Its actually a very simple request, I am surprised apple hasn’t thought of it as yet.

    • Adam Oram

      Agree with that!

  • harbmaster2000@yahoo.com

    1)I hope apple allows apps to use touchid to lock apps, at least allow the developer the option.
    2) I hope apple implements quick reply, and allow apps to use the feature in different ways,( when clicking on the notification it should instantly allow you to reply by taking you to the app, as does now, than when a reply has been completed it takes you back to your previous app.
    3) spoken notifications over Bluetooth along with the ability to reply back to these notifications. Siri could read your notifications to you, only the ones that have some feedback such as a text message, email or maybe a Facebook message etc. so let’s says someone texts you than over your headset siri will say you have a text message from (name) would you like me to read it? You than say yes or no and it goes from these.
    4) allow app bubbles to be customized, or allow a wallpaper, or even allow the camera to be active so when your walking and texting you see where you are going.
    5) allow some apps to be hidden from the homescreen but sti searchable through spotlight.
    6) safari downloads
    7) allow apps to upload ringtones to the device
    8) allow apps to upload custom dynamic wall papers to the device
    9) allow ipad to run two apps on the screen at the same time.
    10) auto reply to calls of texts- a list can be created in the contacts me u or settings menu that when certain people call or text, they automatically receive a reply back that is prewritten. That way if someone from work contacts you and your off, the device will reply back by whatever preset message has been made. This can work for people on a block list so that contacts will be told a preset message you made for your blocked contacts.
    11) full screen camera mode
    12)

    • Adam Oram

      Some great suggestions. Especially quick replies (the Mac has it, so why not iOS!?)

  • AussieB

    I have a nexus 5 and a 2011 Macbook Pro. I recently upgraded to Mavericks so I guess Im getting a taste of some iPhone features like notification center and I just don’t like them. Maybe Im too used to the way the Android features look and function

  • AussieB

    Allow something like Swiftkey or create your own.

  • Edgar

    Got my udid registered yesterday with iosreg.com roll on june 2nd! I’m hoping they revamp the keyboard and allow touch id to be used for payments, that would be great

  • Waleedts

    I would like if they make siri start with some words like “OK siri” and make it like the moto x that it works even if the phone is off