iOS 10: Ten features it needs to stay ahead of Android

WWDC 2016 is just around the corner, and that means it isn't long until we get a peek at what Apple has in store for us with iOS 10. Here are ten features the new release needs to stay ahead of Android.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

WWDC 2016 is just around the corner, and that means it isn't long until we get a peek at what Apple has in store for us with the next release of iOS - iOS 10.

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Here are ten features the new release needs to stay ahead of Android.

1: A way to hide/remove stock apps

I don't use Safari or Mail or Weather or Stocks, and trying to force me into using them by firing them up when I click on a link or email is just plain annoying. Stop interrupting my workflow and allow me to use iOS the way I want to use it.

2: Improved stock apps

While on the subject of stock apps, one of the reasons I don't use apps such as Weather and Stocks and such is that they're just not that good. And that's putting it mildly. They feel like demo apps that someone threw together years ago, and lack the function or polish that you'd expect from a modern app.

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3: Block websites from auto-opening the App Store app

This is really annoying behavior that some mobile sites are doing in order to try to pull in affiliate sales revenue. Apple should offer a way to prevent the App Store from being triggered, either globally by websites, or on a website-by-website basis.

4: Customizable Home screen

Why can't I place the icons where I want them for more efficient grouping? Why can't I add widgets? Why can't I rename stuff? Why does the Home screen not feel like my Home screen?

5: Customizable Control Center

The Control Center is a pretty useful panel - it gives me access to Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, plus quick access to brightness and music controls, and easy access to the calculator or camera. But I'd like apps to be able to add buttons to this (much like apps can add complications to the Apple Watch display) to make it more useful to me.

6: Improved Messages app

The stock iOS Messages app is pretty dumb when you compare it to apps such as Cola. Having the ability to schedule events, take polls, and compile notes and to-do lists seems like a no-brainer.

7: Better Siri

Apple's owned Siri for years, and yet Siri is still very lacking compared to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Now. Not only could voice recognition be seriously improved, but there's also a lot of room for new functionality - both built-in and through allowing third-party apps to access the service.

8: Better App control

How many apps do you have on your iPhone or iPad that have been abandoned by the developer? How many haven't seen an update in over a year? It would be nice to know so that we could plan our migration from the abandoned app to one that's still being updated.

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9: HomeKit consolidation

Right now, home automation is scattered through iOS. Apps are all over the place, and some things can be controlled using Siri, while other stuff can't. It's a mess. Bringing it all together under a single Home app - much like the Heath app has done for fitness and health apps and data - would make it much easier to use.

10: Multiuser support

Allowing multiple users to sign into an iPad and have different Home screens and customized apps would seriously extend the functionality of the device (and it might help boost hardware sales). Sure, this would eat into the storage - especially for lower-capacity devices (Apple could use this to upsell higher capacity iPads) - but it would be a very useful feature, and might give the iPad a much-needed new lease of life.

Bonus: Bug fixes

There are still a number of annoying bugs in iOS 9 - I'm seeing a lot of orientation and cache-related bugs regularly - so there's plenty for Apple to tackle (but a new version of iOS is likely to mean new bugs too, so it's swings and roundabouts).

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