With WWDC 13 announced for June 10-14, the discussion in the Apple community shifts from rumored hardware to the next major update to iOS. iOS 7 will be front and center at Apple’s developer conference in June, but little is known in the way of possible new features. Apple has historically included hundreds of improvements, with a few major features that are promoted as game changing. They’ve done a good job of bringing customers who own older iPhones along for the ride, offering the latest updates, save for a few features that are reserved for new hardware. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this trend continue with iOS 7 and the rumored iPhone 5S, with the latter looking more and more like it will release sometime this fall given Tim Cook’s recent remarks. While we don’t know what’s coming in iOS 7, here are some features that would be welcome additions, but don’t appear likely.
Outside of notifications, which I hope will be updated at some point, there is little in the way of information being pushed to the forefront in iOS. If you want your Facebook timeline or latest tweets, you need to launch the app. I certainly never understood the giant clock widgets that seem to populate most Android phone UIs, but there is some value in a properly designed widget. Apple certainly isn’t a stranger to the widget game, with Dashboard in OS X still offering them.
These are actual iOS screenshots courtesy of forum member ericsinsideout.
How about an improved filesystem with more access? I’m not asking for Windows 7 style access to every nook and cranny. That would be jarring to some as they navigate through dot whatever files. How about a home folder of sorts where a user could provide permissions to specific apps to store files? The current method of attaching files to an email is heavily reliant upon third-party apps. It would be much easier if you could have an option to ‘attach file’ and have iOS provide you immediate access to your Home folder. In many ways, it could adopt what Apple has done with Mac OS X. Going one step further, you could make this very same home folder available in iCloud, making it easy to move files to your iPhone or iPad.
Support for themes
One of the reasons folks jailbreak their iPhones is so that they can add all kinds of crazy replacement app icons, fonts and more. Me personally, I have seen entirely too many iPhones that look like they were hit with an ugly stick. In some ways, Apple’s current restrictions saves people from themselves. That’s my personal preference, but I’m just one customer. People like this sort of stuff and have said as much with the support for the jailbreak community. It’s also one of the reasons why people stray to Android. Dare I say, if you added official support, you might very well get some wildly awesome designs populating the App Store and get me to change my ways. At the end of the day, some people like to tinker and some don’t. Right now, there is no option for people in the first camp without voiding their warranty.
Easy way to create and use ringtones
An iPhone costs $199 and up, not to mention the amount you’ll pay over a 2-year contract to offset the subsidy provided by your wireless carrier. One way to personalize your iPhone is through the addition of ringtones. Sure you can buy them from the iTunes Store, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense for folks to have to pay for music that typically already own? There are an abundance of third party apps and we’ve outlined methods for creating free ringtones on your iPhone. It’s less about creation and more about how you can actually use those ringtones. Wouldn’t it make sense to be able to use ringtones after you create them? Instead the process requires syncing, copying to your desktop, dragging them back into iTunes and syncing again. It’s an exhaustive process and one that seems as if it is set up to deter from using them.
Allow apps to work in the lockscreen
I use Facebook, but I’d hardly call myself a fan. I spend most of my time on Twitter. There are a gazillion folks, okay maybe slightly less, that spend a good amount of time in Facebook. Facebook’s recently released ‘Home’ essentially takes over a phone. While that might be a bit drastic, how about offering apps like Home or others access to the lockscreen. I certainly would enjoy seeing Tweetbot providing information about DMs, mentions and unread messages on my timeline populating my lock screen. Mail, calendar or your favorite app. Having that information front and center without having to turn on your iPhone has value.
iOS is remarkably easy to use and Apple avoids many of what I’ve outlined to help customers from getting to caught up in the endless configuration of their phones. Using an iPhone is simple. These are your apps. To interact with one, you tap on the icon. At any point, you can press the home button to return to your safe zone. Those features could remain, even if Apple were to give customers more control of their devices. People like this personalization stuff. Who cares if they change their default font to Comic Sans and put a giant clock on their home screen. It won’t diminish the iPhone brand, nor will it adversely affect the crowd who enjoys how things currently work. It simply embraces those who are looking for more ways to personalize their experience and interact with the apps they love.