By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
Apple has been all over the news lately, but there seems to be a strange silence about the innovation side of things. There has been much said about Apple’s earnings, how Apple pays or doesn’t pay taxes, and even some strange phenomenon happening outside of Apple stores. What people are not talking about is the upcoming iPhone 5 and its operating system, iOS6.
Obviously, no one knows when the newest iPhone will show its face or what it will be called (The New iPhone/iPhone/iPhone 5), but there are definitely some things Apple should be including in its next generation mobile offering so I thought I would list a few.
A More Stable Siri
Let’s be honest here. Whether you love Apple or not, Siri is not exactly the most stable girl in the class. She works when she wants to, which is apparently 25% of the time. Not only is Siri unstable but the capabilities Apple support for Siri are very limiting. I see no reason that Siri should not be able to launch 3rd party apps and even access their functionality.
Right now, I use Siri when I am driving and an idea for a blog post comes to me or I need to make a calendar entry before I forget. Siri could be so much more than that. Why not let me tweet, update FB, even dictate to Siri to launch GPS and navigate to a specific location? Check out the video at the end of the post for something else Siri can do in iOS6.
A “Kill All Apps” Switch
There are some things about iOS 5 that make you wonder what Apple was thinking. Multitasking is obviously much better than it used to be in iOS (not saying much since it didn’t used to exist), but it is still not there, in my opinion. In fact, I will even go as far as to say that multitasking in Android 4.0 is better than in iOS.
For starters, and this is actually also dependent on the developer, either all apps run in the background or the user should have a way to know which app is running and which is not. Contrary to popular belief, all the apps in the multitasking bar on iOS are not actually running, but some are. Yes, confusing. For example, when I got my new iPad, every time I turned it on after not touching it for a day or two, the battery would be all the way down. It took me a few minutes to realize that the reason this was happening was because Skype, an app that really runs in the background, was running and using the battery.
In addition, if you ever launched the multitasking bar, you surely saw tens of apps open there. To close them all down, you need to tap each one, one by one. Is a Kill Switch too much to ask, Apple?
A More Apple-Like Notification System
Notifications in iOS5 are decent, and in many ways, even better than Android. Having said that, the Notification Center is an utter mess and is just plain awkward on the iPad. Opening your notification settings in iOS will surely give you a headache with so many options to choose from. I don’t think I need to tell Apple about the importance of simplicity, but they obviously forgot it when implementing the notification system in iOS5.
To name one somewhat insignificant example, try opening Notification Center and clearing one specific notification. Yes, that involves tapping an icon so small that it would require a stylus and we all know what Jobs thought about those. Furthermore, try clearing all notifications at once. Impossible. Again, strange and very not Apple-like.
A Taste of Customization? Please?
OK OK, I know what you’re thinking. If I want customization, I should use Android. I agree. Having said that, I think Android might have taken it a bit too far with the Market (Google Play) overflowing with replacement home screens, widgets, skins, and branded keyboards. Putting that aside for a second, there is no reason Apple should not implement some basic customization for iOS.
If that means adding a Wifi on off switch to the top of Notification Center or if Apple wants to really go nuts, even give me the ability to resize folders and icons. I am not even going to talk about widgets, one touch dialing capabilities, or advanced APIs to interface with all the apps you have installed. Those are all things Apple should consider but at least a very basic level of customization is needed.
A File Management System of Some Sort
On the long list of things Apple will never do, file management is probably one of them. It joins things like USB ports, removable batteries, and on and on. But a man can dream and how nice would it be to be able to drag and drop a video or a file of any kind from my computer onto the iPad without opening the disaster that is iTunes?
The ability to see a file structure like you can in Windows or Mac OS, would bring the iPad and even the iPhone one step closer to functioning and even replacing real computers. Isn’t that what Apple wants anyway?
Social Integration, It’s Time!
Yes, yes, yet another thing Apple will most likely never do, expect they did it with Twitter so who knows. You know how on Android, I can choose any file or article and share it across any platform or app that I choose? Well, on iOS, I can generally choose Twitter and that is all. Of course, Apple talked to Facebook about possible collaboration but that never went anywhere.
There really is no reason, in today’s day and age, that I should not be able to select anything on my iPhone and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (yes, I know they don’t have a public API yet), Dropbox, Linkedin, and the list goes on…
I realize Apple is not a big believer in social, and anything they have tried pretty much failed, but I am not talking about Apple opening a Twitter account and tweeting here. I am talking about Apple’s users having the freedom to access their social graphs as they see fit. Apple needs to catch up to its competitors on the social front and iOS6 is a good place to do it.