Five things we want to see in iOS 8

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.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iOS

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.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS

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  • Sounds a lot ...

    Like Android ;-)
    • upgrade

      You didn't say it much about iTunes. I'm pretty thrilled with everything else Apple that I have, which is an iPad and an iPhone, but almost every time I open iTunes I am cursing. It's a dreadful app. I wish you would talk about how they would fix it, maybe they would listen to you.
  • yep, sounds a lot like...

    When I had an iPhone 5s, I wanted this stuff. Now? I have a Galaxy S4 and I have it all and more (more being a 1080p HD 5 inch screen). I am not sure why anyone would bother with an Apple smartphone. Yes, everything is slick and very easy to use. There are clear benefits. However, Kitkat 4.4 has gotten to the point where its better than iOS. I do still love my iPad mini, because, lets face it, Android tablets may have better specs, but they are still far from ideal.
    • Why?

      Why cant i disable GPS from the Main screen? I wont switch to any "plasticity" device like the Samsung Gs4 or Gs5. Feels cheap. The M8 seems to be alright but the camera sucks. Iphone is far from perfect but i will not jump ship just yet.
    • Why bother?

      You answered your question. There are benefits and we don't all make the same choice as to which benefit is more important than the other.
  • Just switch on Android

    Sure, Android is not perfect, but it could be perfect for you. You could replace just about any part of the OS with a different application. Google voice command is pretty good (though it has an issue when you say 'Z' and is 'Zee Dee Net" and Siri handles that better). You can "dump" your entire phone to a PC and have that part of your regular Carbonite backup as included in that price (so you don't need a huge iCloud). Then you can switch to G-Drive and not worry about that over-priced iCloud.

    Basically, get over the sweet shiny pretty phone and you get a whole lot more for your money and can do a whole lot more. Or, keep using your shiny small phone and know that you will eventually catch up to Android as it is in 2014, it might just take you til 2018.
    A Gray
    • You don't need iCloud on an i device

      One has always been able to do a full backup in iTunes.
      • Only if you started with that instance of iTunes

        You can't backup to any iTunes but to one instance only at the beginning of your phone's "life." Its a one-way backup. It makes iCloud really your only way to universally back up your phone. Of course, you'd think if you purchased a 332gb phone you'd get to back up 32 gb of space (that would make a lot of sense). But no, you only get 5gb and need to pay to back up your entire phone. I'd rather just export my phone as a massive file and store that file on my own cloud drive. That way, I can restore it from any computer (wouldn't that be something).
        A Gray
        • Keep the important stuff in the cloud

          and you can always do a full restore at home.

          My iPhone 4 (with iOS 4.2.6) was brought to life in an Apple Store, and didn't get upset when I synced it with iTunes for the first time. My 5S was brought to life in a Best Buy, set up with contacts and my photostream through the in-store WiFi, and then didn't miss a beat with it's first sync with iTunes.

          While it would be nice to be able to sync my iPhone over in its entirety from any computer, anywhere, it would most likely puke the first time I attempted to sync it to my home computer.
        • Good Point

          The amount of "free" storage you get on iCloud should match the storage of the device you purchased, so that you can ALWAYS do a backup of your device.
  • File manager is a must.

    I use both an iphone and an android tablet, and not having a file manager on the iphone is so frustrating. I have basically stopped using documents on the phone and gone almost exclusively to evernote. When I want to work on a document, I pull out the Nexus 7 (Swift Key rocks!).

    I think IOS users simply endure and think that is that way the world computer, and my frustration is that it is not the hardware that is limiting my phone but the software. It could do all of those things, but it does not. I have not taken the hassle of jailbreaking this one (I did the last one), but in the end, that is really the only way to get use it to its full potential.
    • Trade-off

      Have a file system and then one needs to know and understand where things go. (The bête noir of those of us who helped users and relatives who wonder where that photo went.) Allow an app to open files outside of its zone and more security issues manifest.

      Now I get that us power users have data that has to be read and edited in different contexts, and it is a true nuisance that only the creator app may open that plain text file, but mobile devices aren't about us, which is why they're popular.

      Any way, from what I gather, Android devices are more power user and carrier friendly. I imagine that's why they cost less (if one abstracts out the subsidies and monthly service charges which seem platform agnostic.)

      If comes to iOS, I'll use it, but I never thought it a deal breaker, to state the blazingly obvious.
      • Ding-Ding-Ding

        You win. The file system is a hindrance to the geeks that want to max out their phone and tablet, but it's a blessing to the average user. Want proof? Look at the average user's Documents folder in windows. Most have no comprehension of naming conventions, file folder structures, etc. It's a pure mess.

        Why do you think that somewhere along the Windows OS progression did Microsoft introduce Music, Pictures and Movie folders that encouraged people to save those types of files in certain places?
  • Uh...

    “I have three programs for handling Microsoft Office documents — because sometimes a particular app has problems with certain documents”

    I'm going to say something crazy here and say that what you need is Microsoft Office.
  • So many better alternatives to iphone

    You would have to be a total nincompoop to waste your money on a tiny Iphone when there are so many better options out there that offer more features. The iphone doesn't even offer storage expansion, seriously? I call the iPhone, idiotPhone.
    Pollo Pazzo
    • Samesong, High-Tech Crap, Crapple, Winblows Phone...

      The fact is that every phone has its strengths and weaknesses. The iPhone may not have the biggest screen, the highest resolution camera, or the loudest speaker, but it works for many people and works very well. So does every other platform out there.

      Besides, if you want to talk about lack of expansion, it seems like many Android devices are following this trend.
      • And

        A sealed battery.
  • a better keyboard

    Just look how clumsy Apple has programmed the keyboard, showing uppercase characters when typing lowercase. Painfully worse than Android
    • The shift key sucks

      I hate the way the shift key is the opposite of all the others in its highlight colour.
  • iOS 8

    My short list:
    1. Show me which apps are consuming the most power. My Mac does, and it would be nice to know if there's something I've forgotten to close that's killing my battery, which already lasts about 1/5 the time it should on an iPhone.
    2. Allow me to see bluetooth devices and connect from the control center.
    3. Standardize the keyboard. I'm hunting for characters that I expect to be in the same place.
    4. Give me a notification center with better information so that I can quickly scan it without the need to open my phone and check the email app, the calendar app, the reminder app, weather app, sports app, etc...
    5. Standardize air drop. Create limits and rules if you need to, but open the throttle here between your products.
    6. Give me more control over VIP and Do Not Disturb. I may need to get a call from a VIP during DND without them having to call over and over. Improve the VIP ability so that it works like other parts of the OS. Going into the mail app to designate VIPs may be a better way to do it, but nothing else in the OS works quite that way.
    7. Let's finally admit that "up to ten hours," is woeful for a battery. I'm lucky to get 4 hours out of my phone--and it has a brand new battery. Having to keep the phone on a charger all the time (except you're unplugging and replugging when going to meetings) and being afraid to be somewhere without an outlet is not acceptable for an enterprise class device.
    8. If we can't have a common file access, at least make sure that the search will help us find a file. Let me pick a file type and some other filters, maybe.
    9. Give me a better choice in the control center than the camera--you're costing me an extra click there.
    10. If I could pick a default program, it would cut down on the number of apps you have to build an array for for the "open in," feature.