With any major new iOS release, it typically takes several weeks for my giddiness to subside. Once the initial excitement wears off, I try to ruminate on all of the changes and new features so I can determine what I like and don’t like.
Although I’ve written about some of my gripes with iOS in the past, I thought it would be a neat idea to start a tradition of making my own iOS wish list — things I wish Apple would do — then to look back and see what features made it through the cutting room floor.
This year, I decided to do something slightly different. Instead of just voicing my own opinions, I put out the call on Twitter several days ago to see if I could crowd source some user feedback. What you are about to read is the culmination of some of my own thoughts intermixed with reader feedback.
I’d like to personally thank @thenewperson1 for providing a large chunk of these ideas, which just so happen to align with many of my own thoughts on iOS.
Allow third party apps to expose what services they can offer via the share menu (something I believe Android does reasonably well).
Two finger tap:
- Swipe from bottom to bring up running apps.
Two finger swipe to mimic Pg Up and Pg Down commands (swipe powerfully to mimic End and Home commands).
Two finger tap-and-hold to bring up the search bar that’s typically hidden at the top of a list when you don’t want to go back up.
Unified search and address bar (Chrome does this well).
Preference for setting about:blank as the default homepage.
I would love to see multi-IM protocol support built into Messages.app. While currently Messages supports both SMS and iMessage, a revamp of the UI could certainly accommodate these additional features.
Music app changes
In the Now Playing screen, a double tap of the album art (or a tap of the small button at the top right) reveals the album list. A tab at the top of that list to switch to the current playlist would be nice.
The artist view needs a bit of a refresh. Maybe the artist image could be displayed at the top with the albums for that artist (that you have) shown in a grid view.
Albums only available on iCloud via iTunes Match could be grayed out with an iCloud button on the album art.
Lastly, I think it’s about time proper podcast subscription support was fully baked into the music app.
Notification Center enhancements
One of the most frustrating things about Notification Center, is the minuscule tap target of the “Clear” button. If you receive notifications every day, it gets extremely tiresome having to tap several times just to clear notifications off the screen.
In addition to this, I’d love also see the notification drawer push the home screen content down, rather than just being overlaid on top of the home screen.
Background download notifications for third party apps:
With apps like Newsstand, your latest issue of a newspaper or magazine gets pushed to your iOS device, and automatically downloads in the background. It seems ripe for this functionality to be passed onto third party apps. Imagine apps like Instapaper, who could automatically push the latest article you marked “Read later” and display the download information in Notification Center. Currently apps like Instapaper have to be running in the foreground in order to sync with the server.
Something that has been missing from Maps is turn-by-turn navigation. Earlier this summer when I tested a Nexus S phone, I really loved that feature built right into Google Maps.
Setting application defaults
As Apple has started to allow a variety of third party web browsers and email clients in the App Store, you should be able to at least set the default application for browsing and email. Otherwise, what good is using a third party browser or email client?
One of the lovely things about Android is the ability to make beautiful — yet extremely useful — lock screen and home screen widgets. Apple has already dabbled in widgets, albeit with only two stock widgets — Weather and Stocks.
Although I can’t see Apple supporting widgets to the same extent as how they work on Android, there’s a great opportunity to add a few other useful ones to iOS.
Built-in dictionary app. While being able to look up the definition of a word is a notable improvement in iOS 5, occasionally I like to look up words that may pop into my head at any given moment.
An optional date widget for Notification Center.
More web fonts.
Advanced camera options (i.e. Panoramic photo stitching, better exposure controls).
“Pull to refresh” in more core Apple apps.
Facebook integration in the Contacts app.
A Spotlight widget in Notification Center.
Do not boot the user out of the App Store when downloading apps.