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Ten improvements we'd like to see in iOS

Macworld Staff | April 30, 2013
Like clockwork, Apple has released a new major version of its iOS mobile operating system every summer since 2008, and we expect 2013 to be no different. iOS 7 seems likely to take its bow at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which will be held June 10 through 14 in San Francisco.

Like clockwork, Apple has released a new major version of its iOS mobile operating system every summer since 2008, and we expect 2013 to be no different. iOS 7 seems likely to take its bow at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which will be held June 10 through 14 in San Francisco.

But after five years of improvements to the OS, both major and modest, the outlook for iOS these days is decidedly different. Apple has already filled in a lot of the functionality that its mobile operating system lacked in early releases, and the company's competitors have recently been closing in on Apple's head start in the smartphone market. So, with that in mind, let's run down a few of the features we'd like to see in the next version of iOS.

Control points

Many of us agree that certain frequently used iOS features could stand to be more easily accessible. For example, it would be useful if a Notification Center widget allowed users to easily enable or disable airplane mode, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi without having to tap through several levels of the Settings app. It's certainly possible to make the interface even easier without compromising its existing simplicity and elegance.--Dan Moren

A new home

The iOS home screen is a classic: It works, and it's immediately obvious that you're staring at a collection of apps. But it just doesn't scale well. I'm jealous of the home screen alternatives available to Windows Phone and Android users--and of those phone's richer lock screens, too. iOS 7 should bring more options for organizing apps, and offer widgets or other information-providing modules on the home and lock screens. Our iPhones and iPads could become even more useful, without our even needing to launch specific apps.--Lex Friedman

File under 'file system'

Yes, Apple's trying to kill off the file system the same way it has the floppy disk and the optical drive--but, at the moment, the replacement just isn't cutting it. Anyone who's tried to move a document back and forth between iOS apps has experienced the joy that is having a copy of your file in each app, and no easy way to figure out which one is the most current version. The solution need not be to hearken back to the Open/Save dialog boxes of yesteryear, but iOS badly needs some sort of system for enabling easy data exchange between native apps.--Dan Moren

Fair (photo) share

iOS 6 introduced the concept of Shared Photo Streams. But while they make it easy to share pictures with friends and family, there's room for improvement. Right now, if you and your significant other want to share photos with each other, you need two Shared Photo Streams--one owned by each of you. Likewise, if I want to share pictures from an event with a bunch of my friends, we each need to have our own Photo Streams. Shared Photo Streams should be less about broadcasting your photos, and more about, well, sharing.--Dan Moren

 

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