This coming Monday (June 10th) Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off and like every other year there is a lot of buzz about the next versions of iOS and OS X.
The majority of the world is more focused on iOS 7 and where that is heading next, and so am I.
Overall I am very happy with my iPhone and iPad. There are some features that I’d like to see added, but nothing crazy like some of the wish lists that I see out there.
Siri is great. Well, she’s good. Everyone refers to Siri as a “she”, right?
Siri is perfect for setting alarms, reminders, and getting directions (sometimes) but Google Now blows Siri away for real world results like finding the nearest pizza joint, finding out how far you are from a city, getting directions, and of course, searching Google. For things like playing a specific song on your phone, sending messages, checking email or setting appointments and reminders, Siri is king. You can see a gamut of tests between Google Now and Siri here, but be warned, it is a bit of a battery drain. It’s sad to think what Siri would be if Apple and Google were still friendly.
If you’re interested in getting Google Now on your iPhone, it’s available in the Google Search app.
Apple really needs to open Siri up with some APIs so that developers can hook into Siri and she can become even stronger and more useful.
Hopefully we’ll get some good news on Monday about updates to Siri.
This one comes up all the time. When the iPhone launched in 2007 there were no third party apps, so Apple loaded up the phone with preinstalled apps and they’ve remained to this day. Most users take these default apps and shove them in a folder on the last page of their phone.
Half of those apps are really useful. A lot of them are useless. Others have a better third party option available. Apple needs to, at the very least, let us turn off default apps. This is already an option with Nike+. Why can’t we do the same for Stocks or Compass? You should be able to at least hide these apps if Apple won’t let you delete them.
On a similar note, the Music and Video apps should be combined into a Media app. There’s no need to split those apps up.
Setting Default Apps
And speaking of apps… Apple. It’s time to let us set our own preferred apps as the default apps, and let developers integrate them into iOS more.
Google Maps is leaps and bounds better than Apple Maps. There’s no denying ths. Ali and I were trying to get home from a pretty remote part of Austin, TX last week, and Apple Maps had no idea where we were. It kept telling us to turn off the highway on a made-up exit ramp. This is the first time that we’ve had any issues with Apple Maps. When we switched over to Google Maps, they didn’t know where we were either (the roads were pretty new) but after a few minutes it figured out where we were and found us a route home. Apple Maps would have had us driving through corn fields.
There are much better weather apps out there then the default app. Sure Apple’s does the job for the majority of people, but for others it’s not enough. The default calendar is nice, but some people prefer Fantastical or other apps. Some people may want to use Chrome over Safari. I use Chrome on my desktop, and I would love to set Chrome as the default browser on iOS.
Many users would like to set Google Maps as the default maps app, and that goes for a lot of other apps. but as of right now that’s not possible. I don’t think I see this changing, but I hope I’m wrong.
The Settings app seems to get more bloated every year, which is to be expected when you add tons of new features every year.
Apple should make it easier to get to settings that you need to access most often, like WiFi, Bluetooth, and screen brightness. The iPad has the brightness control built into the task tray. If you double tap the home button, and then swipe the tray to the right you get the music controls, and the slider on the left side will adjust the brightness of the screen. Why isn’t this on the iPhone? If you hit the home screen twice, and swipe right twice you get volume control, but we already have volume control on the side of the phone with the physical buttons. This area would be suited better for a screen brightness controller.
You could also build these settings into the notification center. This has been mocked up endlessly on concept designs, and is even part of the jailbroken versions of iOS.
Apple really made sharing easier in iOS 6. Rumor is that they are going to add Flickr and Vimeo to the options in iOS 7. That would be great. I love both of those services. However, the share screen is really cluttered now, and I’d like to see networks that I don’t use removed from the list. I’m sure that the rumored redesign of iOS 7 will give some uniformity to this screen as well.
Notification Center is great. I love it. However, it can get pretty cluttered in there. I would really like to see Apple give you some options on how long items stay in Notification Center before they fall out of the list. Another option would be to give users a way to clear all notifications easily, like shake to clear all.
This is probably the least sexy feature I want (if any of them are sexy), but we need better timestamps in both Messages on the phone and the OS X app. As it stands now, you only get a timestamp sporadically on iOS and OS X, however in OS X you can hover over the message to get a specific timestamp, but I’m sure the designers at Apple could come up with something much better.
My wish list for iOS 7 is pretty vanilla. I’m not looking for any bizarre out-there features or options. I’m sure Apple will unveil some pretty cool things on Monday. I just hope they make a few of the improvements that I’ve listed out here.