With Apple set to delve into the next version of its mobile operating system next week at its world-wide developer conference (WWDC), here are the features tossed around the web that I would like to see the most. I’m not focusing on this list as a developer; instead this is the stuff I’d most like to see as an avid user of iOS:
- App Sharing: Android and Windows Phone have this app ability to generically register for an action that it can take care of for another application. Let’s say, for instance, that I wrote an application that knows how to print to any printer. I could register my app in iOS and say, “Hey! Anyone out there that needs to print can look for my app.” Another developer needs his app to print. All he needs to do is make sure the print app is there and show an option to my customer to print. When the customer selects “print” it would send the material to the print app, which would know what to do with it. This makes it very easy for applications to share.
- Apple TV Apps: As I mentioned previously we cut all ties to cable recently. This means my Apple TV, which was already a critical component in the search for evening entertainment, just became even more important. Let’s go the extra mile, though, and give me the choice of what apps I want to run on it. Yes, Netflix and MLB.com are two excellent apps. But I’d like to consider Amazon Prime subscription, Hulu and a host of other “channels”. Seems like the new screen layout set us up for this, so here’s hoping.
- Better Background: In particular, I’d like to see the ability of VOiP and IM apps to always run in the background. Skype is fairly useless on the device. We have to have a phone call first to say let’s have a Skype call, then we can switch to Skype? Really? I want Skype to ring if I get a call there. Same is true with my IM app, Verbs. I want this stuff to just work.
- Better Address Book Integration: I’d like to see all communication capabilities flow out of one app. Today you need to think about how you want to contact someone before you think who you want to contact. That’s backward. I don’t want to say “I’m going to Skype Fred.” What I do want to say is “Going to contact Fred… via Skype.” By integrating the address book with third-party services (via App Sharing, no less!) this can be accomplished.
- Improved Auto Correct: The auto correct on iOS is pathetic. Half the time it changes my words to something non-sensical, it doesn’t format things like URLs correctly, and it can’t tell the difference between “Well” and “We’ll”. Please, Apple, fix this already. It’s embarrassing. (I wished for this last year in a much funnier post.)
All the other stuff is interesting but isn’t critical to me as a user. Improvements to Siri are nice and an API would be cool, I guess, but as a user I don’t use Siri all that much since it doesn’t seem to be on the same wave length as me. I’m lucky if it records what I ask. A new maps interface would be nice but it isn’t in the “gonna be disappointed if it doesn’t happen” category. New screen resolutions, too, could be amazing or could be disastrous. (Man, are those Android screens ridiculously huge.) And I already talked about what I really want as a developer: improved tools to help me develop, market and sell my products.
So, with that in mind, I’m off to WWDC. I’m sure, one way or the other, it will be a mind-blowing week!