Now that Apple’s iOS has some major competition when it comes to smartphone operating systems, what would we like to see the company to do to ensure that iOS 5 features stay ahead of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, HP’s webOS, and Google’s Android? Well, we’ve put together a list of 5 things we think Apple could change, improve, or introduce to iOS 5.
See what you think of our thoughts on iOS 5 and leave us a comment to let us know yours!
Firstly, we think the way in which our iOS devices currently handle notifications should be a lot different. The current system, although not terrible, could be a much better. My biggest issue with notifications at the moment is a simple but frustrating one: if I receive a notification on my iPhone and I didn’t notice it pop up, when I next unlock my iPhone that notification disappears. 9 times out of 10 I unlock my device too quickly to even notice there was a notification, and once it’s gone, it can be nightmare to figure out what be iPhone was trying to tell me.
A system in which my notifications remain on my screen until I tap to remove them would be nice, or maybe another page to the left of my home screen – where the search function currently lives – that displays a list of my ‘unread’ notifications. That way I can’t remove them accidentally before I’ve even read them.
This isn’t the only problem with the iOS notification system, however. Many have criticized the way in which devices handle notifications altogether, claiming that they are intrusive, ineffective, and abstruse. They currently pop up and disrupt whatever you might be doing on your device, with very little information, and no function other than taking you to the app they are alerting you to.
Customizing the way in which we receive our notifications would be a nice addition to iOS 5. I’d like to decide whether I get a big message pop up on my screen when I receive an SMS, or whether I just get a subtle little icon appear in my task bar next to my clock. And then I’d like to do something with that notification. If I click on it, I’d like to be able to read my SMS and then quickly reply to it without leaving the application I’m already in.
Steve Jobs has already said that wireless syncing will come to iOS, however, we’re still yet to see it. If you jailbreak your device, you can install an application that allows you to sync with iTunes over Wi-Fi, but we think this feature should be a standard part of iOS. If the hackers can make it work, why can’t a multi-billion dollar technology company?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could sync our iOS devices at the touch of a button from our living room, with our Mac or PC located in another room?
There are already some basic voice commands built-in to iOS 4, but there could be a lot more. I’d like to be able to have a lot more control over my device using my voice. Third-party applications already allow us to compose text using our voice, but it would be great if this was a standard feature of Apple’s iOS. I’d like to be able to reply to emails or text messages safely while I’m driving, or doing other tasks; and I’d like to be able to have some control over my applications by talking to them. Basic functions are already achievable by voice in the iPod application, so why can’t they be used elsewhere?
Now, multitasking on iOS isn’t all that bad. It does the job we want it to do, and previous mobile operating systems have proved that it could be a whole lot worse. However, there’s certainly room for improvement. At present, multitasking allows us to switch quickly between applications, and… well… that’s it. You might argue that that’s what multitasking is for, but we could do more with it.
Instead of having to switch to an application when we want to use it, it would be nice if we could hold down on the application’s icon and get a pop up of different options that allow us to control that app without leaving our current one. For example, if you’re on a Mac and you have iTunes running in the background while you’re reading this article, by simply right-clicking on the iTunes icon in your dock, you can play a track, skip back and forth between songs, and even shuffle your playlist – all without having to leave your web browser.
By having the same kind of feature in iOS we could write tweets, emails, text messages, and more, without leaving the game we’re in; we could quickly sign in and out of applications like Facebook or AIM instant messenger, and we could add a note to the Notes application without having to actually open it. The possibilities are endless, and would make life with an iOS device much more productive.
Lock Screen Widgets
Many other mobile operating systems and have these, and we think it’s about time they came to iOS. Lock screen widgets would allow us to see things like our Facebook or Twitter feeds, our RSS headlines, our to-do list for the day, and what the weather will be like tomorrow, without ever having to unlock our devices. At the moment we have big, beautiful touch screen that are useless and empty while our devices are locked, and they could be put to such great use.
Sometimes it’s a little too much effort to load up an application to quickly see a tiny piece of information. For example, I currently have to open up an app to see my favorite soccer team’s score when I can’t watch the game, I have to open up an app to see if the item I’ve been outbid on an item I want on eBay, and I have to open up an app to see if my friend has replied to my tweet. All of these little bits of information could be displayed on my lock screen for me to quickly glance at whenever I need to.
What Are Your Thoughts?
So those are my thoughts on what Apple can do to ensure iOS 5 stays a cut above the rest. Of course, some of these things may not apply to you, and there may be other things you’d like to see on your iOS device. Leave us a comment with your thoughts!