20 improvements I'd like to see in iOS 6

20 improvements I'd like to see in iOS 6

Summary: Apple's due to announce its plans for the next major version of iOS at WWDC in June. Here are some features that Apple needs to add to iOS if it's going to stay competitive with Android.

TOPICS: Apple, Mobile OS

WWDC 2012 and my iOS 6 Wishlist - Jason O'GradyNow that WWDC 2012 has been announced (and subsequently sold out in two hours) it's time to turn our attention to what Apple will be briefing its developers on at its annual developer confab in San Francisco.

The conventional wisdom is that Apple will release the iPhone 5 in the Fall (think September/October), which means that developers will need to know about any iOS changes well in advance of that of that to optimize their apps for the new OS (and hardware).

Therefore it's a pretty good bet that Apple will spend a good deal of time at WWDC briefing developers on iOS 6.0 -- or just iOS -- or whatever crazy minimalist naming convention it decides on.

That said, here's a short list of what I'd like to see in iOS 6, with plenty of advance notice for Apple.

Protection. Rogue apps can pilfer your entire contact list (and photos) without your permission and this needs to stop. Apps need to explicitly detail what personal information they need to access and when (like Android has for years). Apple should take this to the next level in iOS and add (optional) alerts telling the user when an app is accessing personal information (like contacts, email, messages, etc.) like it does for Location. Even better would be constant monitoring (again optional) like Little Snitch does in Mac OS X. Apple has promised a fix, and it should arrive no later than iOS 6.

Siri everything. Like turning Bluetooth and WiFi on and off and connecting to VPN.

Siri API. For third-party developers to tap into Siri.

Text to speech. Speech to text (like Siri) is nice, but I want the reverse. "Siri, read my email to me." "Siri, read me the New York Times." "Siri, read me my last five emails." This would be a commuter's dream.

Customizable lock screen. Notification Center was a huge improvement in iOS 5, but it doesn't do much on the lock screen. Apple could basically negate the need to jailbreak an iPhone by adding lock screen customization from Notification Center like Intelliborn's IntelliScreenX for jailbroken devices.

Widgets. As in real widgets on the desktop. Notification Center in iOS 5 was a step in the right direction but these are widgets-like. Weather and Stocks are quite nice but they're mostly hidden, not customizable, and it's Apple's way or the highway. Apple needs real widgets on the desktop, just like Android. Bluetooth on/off was a nice anomaly, but Apple caught wind quickly and promptly booted it from the App Store. People want widgets and Apple needs to give people what they want.

Do Not Disturb. Some apps have it, but this needs to be implemented at the system level. iOS needs an OS level do not disturb feature that disables all notifications during a user-defined interval, say 12 midnight to 8am. It should always allow alarms, but things like phone calls, calendar alerts and push notifications could be a user setting.

Intelligent CallerID. Not just for phone numbers in your contact list but for callers that aren't. Google the number and tell me more information so that I can make an informed decision before picking up a random telemarketing/fundraising call.

Voicemail transcription. As soon as someone leaves a voice mail (or better, while they are doing it) text me the text of the message. (like Google Voice does).

Text back a caller. Instead of having to touch "Decline" when a call comes in, Apple should add a button for "Decline with text..." and text them "sorry I'm in a meeting!" or any of several other user-define responses.

Permanently block and report voice spam. Allow users to add numbers for known telemarketers and spammers to a permanent block list so that they never ring through to your phone. Bonus points for collecting these numbers in a central repository, displaying them on everyone's Caller ID and reporting them to the FCC and FTC. Heck, deliver a customized greeting telling them that they are being reported.

Device Profiles. Device profiles for things like home, work, church, etc. This has been on other phones for decades and it's high time that iOS gets this modern convenience.

User profiles for families that share an iPad (a.k.a. multiple users). Update: Apple has responded that it's a "known issue" is "being investigated."

Keyboard improvements. Add a number row, show the case of upper and lower case letters. Expose an API for third-party keyboards (like Swype).

App Store demo videos. In addition to screenshots, show me a video of the app in use. (Android Play has this now).

App Store demos. Free 12-24 hour trials.

App Store upgrades. Instead of having to pay for a whole new app pay something less for a major update.

Automatic app updates. Instead having to pull updates, I'd like to be able to allow certain apps updates to automatically be pushed to me (say, when I'm on WiFi.) Then show me a notification of when an update is updated, which version I went from/to and (optionally) the change log.

Better Printing. Support more than eight models of printers.

Safari with tabs. And don't limit it to eight. Enough said?

What's on your short list for iOS 6?

Topics: Apple, Mobile OS

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  • Easier access to Settings

    I'd love to be able to open the Settings app (or maybe other apps) by a screen gesture. It would be useful on both the iPhone and iPad. Also, since they are doing away with iDisk, it would be great if they had tighter integration with DropBox or allowed certain files (even non DRM files) to be saved to iCloud. That would allow me transfer files to my Mac (or PC).
  • A better numeric keyboard...

    I agree with the suggestion that a number line be added to the alpha keyboard. In addition, I've used a keyboard for Android called SwiftKey X. Among other things, one feature that I really like with that app is that the numbers on the numeric keyboard are arranged in a keypad to the left of the keyboard, with symbols on the right. MUCH faster for numeric entry. It would be great to have something similar with iOS6. Make that configuration an option so that people who prefer the line of number keys on the top can keep that setup. Or make it standard on the numeric keyboard if they add the number keys to the alpha keyboard.
  • iOS 6.0

    Right on.

    I am with you on several of these including the Text/Decline which would actually be great, I can't count how many times I texted someone after declining the call to say I am in a meeting!

    The others; Automatic app updates, better printer support (Brother wireless printers!), user profiles and lockscreen customization are at the top of my list. Several of these are why I jailbreak my iPhone... it took me 3 years to decide on Jailbreaking and I don't want to go back after all the customizations I can do with a jailbroken phone.

    I would throw in customizable lock screen app buttons.. i.e. flashlight without having to unlock the phone. Place app icons in any location on any screen, scrolling app dock w/ 5 icons instead of 4 and include WiFi IP address, date and weather on top status/time bar.
  • So you want to run Android OS on Apple hardware?

    Otherwise, jailbreaking may be the best option.
  • iOS 6 up to par with android?

    most of these features are already available or default with android 4.0.

    actually, specifically, 13 of 20.

    and btw 12-24 hour demos would be suicide! people would just play the game then be done. Android does it right with a 15 minute refund period.
    • You nean three of twenty, not thirteen?

      Or did I count wrong?
      • All of them

        LBE Privacy Guard gives you that protection (require root). Several apps provide caller ID for unknown callers. Several apps can block unwanted calls (some require root). Custom lockscreens can be had (with and without root, depends on what features you want). And we have Tasker, Locale Llama, and more for profiles and automation. Siri has alternatives here, several with open APIs. And there's an Android mod with user profiles. Also, Google Cloud print (and more).
      • I do not mean after roots and additional applications, I mean default OS ..

        @Natanael: ... functionality. Jailbroken iPhone could do all of this, too, but we discuss only core OS. Of twenty points three are built-in in Android (on the other side, iOS has things that are built-in and are not built-in in Android).

        Both Google and Apple will announce their new mobile OSes within a month; lets see.
    • My problem with Android

      ...is that I could not upgrade my version past one minor (dot)release post-purchase. My phone HW was abandoned for upgrade by HTC and/or Sprint less than 6 months after it hit the market. To get Android 3.0 (let alone 4.0) I would need to 'root' my phone.

      'Rooting' or 'jailbreaking' ... it seems that iOS and Android *are* on par from the perspective of the user.
  • Mark message as unread

    That's all: mark (i)message as unread

    Only thing I really need in iOS6.
  • Automatic Update: Bad idea

    There have been so many times when a new version of an app is badly broken. If it's an app you depend on, it's essential to read the reviews of the new version and update only when you are confident that it won't be a disaster.
    • Selective

      That's why it should be selective. Only turn it on for the good developers.
  • !!!!!!!!

    • o/t

      If you have an opinion, post it here. Don't spam here.
  • Better Mail Profile Options

    iOS is the great leveller -- allowing integration of multiple data sources (e.g., multiple email accounts). But some settings need to better align with the data source. For example I really need to have signature lines on email aligned with the mail connection I'm responding to. For example I need different signatures when responding to email from work (two different different companies & jobs) and a different one for each of my six personal email accounts. I really would like better segmentation of full email profiles. Thanks!
  • my hero you have made an awesome list

    The main reason I'm ambivalent continuing with Apple is how their dominance allows them to wait and wait on some good features or simple removal of annoyances - suppressing notifications while sleeping.
    That said - maybe great change is in the works in that iPad 3 went almost all the way in one interation - screen, camera, 4G. Had it been piecemeal our company would not have upgraded.
    That said - there is no excuse for a 2 megapixel facetime camera - I'd rather see and show wrinkles than the splotches that predominate with that camera. Let the user choose softening filters if they desire - let's stop having Apple dictate that we look horrible.
    • Facetime

      The more pixels your Facetime cam has, the more data you need to transfer. That might then lead to congestion on the network and jiggy video. It's a trade-off.
  • Prioritise wi-fi network connections and allow PC to send SMS from iPhone

    Nokia have allowed you to prioritise your network connections for ages . . .I'm fed up regularly having to go to settings because IOS5 has decided I should connect to the business next door's wi-fi rather than my own!

    It would also be cool if I could create SMS messages on my PC and bluetooth them to the iPhone for transmission (I get unlimited free SMS on my contract) but it's a pain having to create messages using the on screen keyboard when I could easily type them on the PC.
    • Why in the first place?

      Why do you have the business's wifi next door configured on your iPhone in the first place? Why not just Forget it?

      Although, a lot of hot spots here are called Internet without keys, but with different authentication options, you can find yourself connected to "internet" but because you aren't aware that it has connected, you could be in a shopping mall for 2-3 hours and not realize that you're on their wifi, but without any actual data being transmitted. Thing Whatsapp and email: No connection, no messages.
      James Rogers
  • One More Thing

    How about an email client that does not turn in-line images into attachments? If your signature in Outlook contains an image you can view it just fine on all other mobile platforms. Only iOS changes the image into an attachment.