16 May 2012

Daring Fireball: “iOS Low-Hanging Fruit”

iOS is by no means feature-complete. But it’s getting harder to identify the low-hanging fruit — the things you just know Apple has to be working on, not just the stuff you hope they are. The biggest one left is mapping. Today brings a report from 9to5Mac that Apple is set to switch the back-end data in iOS’s Maps app from Google to its own mapping services; John Paczkowski confirms it, quoting a source who claims the new Maps will “blow your head off”. John Gruber

Interestingly, I was just taking with a work colleague about the very same thing a couple of days ago – meaning what new features would we like to see on our iPhones in a couple of months. He’s very into Apple; I wouldn’t call him a fanboi, but he comes pretty close. Between the two of us, we couldn’t find many things missing from iOS.

Sure, there are small refinement that would be welcomed: a way to jump to a specific date in Calendar, a better way to mark messages as unread in Mail (optionally replace ‘Delete’ for the swipe gesture, maybe?), badges for Reminders and Calendar to quickly see if there are pending tasks or events for today. Neither of us cares very much for Android-like widgets, although it would be nice too see some more interactive home-screen icons, like Calendar, which automatically updates with the current date. After all, the weather isn’t always a sunny 23° C! Photos could also feature the latest picture from the PhotoStream for example, for a more personal touch.

The one thing we both would love to see copied from Android is a quick way to toggle a couple of settings, like Wi-Fi, cellular data, Bluetooth. I visit those settings basically every day, sometimes more than once, and that would naturally save time. The Notification Center would be a good place for the quick toggles – and so would the multitasking bar.

But the biggest impact could come if Apple would allow third party apps to become defaults in iOS. Unlike others, I am pretty satisfied with the default Mail app, but I would love to have a more powerful Photo app, like Camera Awesome, sitting in the lock screen just a swipe away. And I’m sure the demand for other default browsers would be pretty big, even if they are limited to the built-in rendering and JavaScript engines.

And here’s another great article highlighting the less polished aspects of iOS, some several versions old. While I never encountered the problem with Facebook sound alerts, I fully agree the multiple keyboard auto-correct needs improvement.

Post a Comment