When Apple announced iOS 7 and its radical new look in June, that new look got all the attention. A few new big features — such as the iCloud Keychain password syncing, iTunes Radio, the quick-access Control Center, and the permanent disabling of stolen iPhones — are prominently featured at Apple's website, as are enhancements to existing services like the Notification Center, Camera and Photos apps, and Siri voice-based assistant service.
But little has been revealed about some of the long-standing frustrations of iOS, either by Apple or by writers who've decided to violate their secrecy agreements with Apple and publish details on the beta iOS 7 now in wide testing by those with Apple developer accounts. With the new iPhone apparently scheduled for a September 10 reveal and a ship date of two to four weeks after that, iOS 7's formal release isn't that far away. We should be hearing about the little details in from the blogosphere.
That lack of detail suggests these lingering frustrations won't be addressed in iOS 7, either. We'll find out only when it is formally released, of course, but here's what I suspect won't be fixed (though I hope they will be):
- Groups. iOS can't create groups of contacts, and it can't send email messages to a group synced from your Mac or PC. Both are nutty omissions, given how fundamental groups are to email and other communications. Worse, if you select a group as an addressee in Mail, you get a list of the members, of whom you can pick one and only one to add to the To or Cc field of your message. There's no way to select multiple group members, so you have to reopen the group to select another person — essentially, making groups unworkable for email if you have more than a handful of people in them.
- Range selection. In many apps, you can select multiple items such as emails, but only one at a time, by tapping a radio button. You can't select a range, such as by tapping the first item, then moving down to the 30th and letting iOS know you want them all selected. (That would speed playlist creation, too, in the Music app.) On a Mac or PC, a Shift-click has long done that job, but there's no equivalent in iOS. Deleting a bunch of spam messages or marking a bunch of POP emails that you opened elsewhere as read on your iOS device is an often overwhelming chore.
- Combined task view. You can see all your calendar entries in one view in Calendar, as well as all your email inboxes' messages in Mail, the most recent text message from all your chat accounts in Messages, and all your notes in Notes — yet not every task from your various to-do lists in Reminders. It's odd for Apple to be inconsistent across its own apps, but there you go.
- Allow pauses when shooting video. The Camera app has long taken videos, but you can record or stop recording — there's no pause button. There should be.
- Allow home screen rotation. Many apps — including most Apple apps — autorotate when you rotate the iPhone, but not the iPhone's home screen. (The home screen does rotate on the iPad, whose 4:3 screen ratio admittedly makes that easier to accomplish.) I get that moving the docked apps to the bottom row on a rotated iPhone would take way too much screen real estate, especially on the elongated iPhone 5. But how about rotating the icons and their labels in place, so they're more easily understood? When the iPhone is rotated, the dock can stay where it is, on the side.
Apple, please surprise us and fix these issues!
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