Five things we want to see in iOS 8

Summary:As a heavy iOS user, I could give Apple a whole shopping list of new features that I'd like to see baked into iOS, but with time running short, I thought it better to limit my wishlist to the really important features that I'd like to see included.

With less than a month until Apple's annual WWDC developer powwow kicks off, there's not long to wait until we get to find out what the Cupertino giant has in store for us with the next incarnation of iOS.

In my experience, the new features that Apple rolls into iOS fall into one of three categories:

  • Cool stuff that makes iOS better/easier
  • New stuff that makes iOS clunkier/harder to use
  • Stuff that won't work on older iOS devices (to invigorate upgrades)

As a heavy iOS user, I could give Apple a whole shopping list of new features that I'd like to see baked into iOS, but with time running short I thought it better to limit my wishlist to the really important features that I'd like to see included.

Better data management

I'm continually amazed that there's no central way to manage files in iOS. I have to organize photos using the Photos app, music using the iTunes app, and my spreadsheet and word processor documents using a myriad of applications.

It's a mess. I have three programs for handling Microsoft Office documents — because sometimes a particular app has problems with certain documents. I have to remember which app was used to edit/save the document and be able to find the document again.

Why can't we have a single, central app that allows us to handle and manipulate user-created files through a single interface? I'm not expecting Apple to give me access to the iOS file system, but being able to have access to my files would make finding, organizing, and managing them a lot easier.

Change default apps

I don't use Safari on iOS that much any more. I also don't use Apple's abysmal Maps app. I have my own calendar and contacts app. But Apple continues to try to force its own apps on me every opportunity. Click on a link in an email and it opens in Safari. Click on a time or date in an email and it opens the Calendar app. And no matter what, Apple still thinks that its Contacts app is the one and only way I should be organizing my contacts.

What I want is a way to tell iOS that I no longer want Apple's apps to handle certain features, but instead use the apps that I have hand-picked to do the job.

Most of Apple's apps are good, but there are better apps available in the App Store.

Expand on what Touch ID does

Being able to unlock the iPhone 5S using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner is nice, but it's a very limited use. I'd like to see Touch ID expanded to allow it to be used to access other apps and services rather than having to rely on typing in passwords.

Just to be clear, I'm not taking about third-party apps having access to your fingerprints, I'm taking about iOS doing all the authenticating through the keychain mechanism.

Cheaper iCloud, more iCloud

50GB is the top ceiling for iCloud storage, and that costs an eye-watering $100 a year. 50GB isn't enough to back up a 64GB iPhone or iPad, and if you have a well-filled 128GB iPad you are totally out of luck.

Compare this to Google Drive, where you can get 100GB for $1.99 a month, and a whopping 1TB for $9.99 a month.

When you have a lot of data, and particularly when you have multiple iDevices, that 100GB can start to feel pretty cramped.

Better Siri

When Apple first introduced the Siri voice assistant, I was excited about what that might bring. But here we are two-and-a-half years later and Siri is not much better than it was when it was released and the only time I use it is when I activate it by accident.

One of the best things that Apple could do with Siri is open it up to third-party apps. Not only would this allow developers to come up with creative ways to use the technology but it would also get people using the technology.

Integrating Siri into third-party apps seems like the only way to save the technology, because without doing this voice technology developed by Google and Microsoft could leave Apple in their dust.

Manage the influx of Apple devices into your workplace with the expert advice in this Tech Pro Research download.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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