The iPhone changes every year in two ways: through a big hardware launch every September that also comes with a big software update.
You must know by now that a new iPhone hits the market every fall. But three months earlier, Apple’s annualgives an early preview of changes that are arguably just as important to iPhone owners: a peek at the next version of iOS.
Siri, Siri, Siri
An even more advanced intelligent assistant could make us more likely to use Siri, which is something that doesn’t happen all the time. Siri has problems understanding, doing as well as remembering certain things, and the assistant needs to be a lot less screen-dependent. That will help the iPhone, the iPad, and even AirPods. And, if Apple launches ato the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers, it’ll be necessary to upgrade Siri anyway.
The app-and-folder-and-four-icon-dock design of what we see on the iPhone has stayed the same for years and really isn’t much different from the. Apple could re-think how apps are presented and arranged, which would help our hundreds of scattered apps on our phones right now. That also goes for the lock screen, which shows widgets but isn’t enough of a live dashboard for getting essential info at-a-glance.
There needs to be a kid-friendly mode for iOS: on the iPad, it’s an overdue must, and on the iPhone, it would be a huge help to let kids browse safely — and playwithout having access to mom and dad’s emails or Facebook. Also great would be guest modes, family modes and school use modes. Android has it, Chromebooks have it, Windows has it and even Amazon’s Fire OS has it. Apple’s iOS sorta-kinda already has these things too, but they’re buried in accessibility options or for school administrators only. Come on already, Apple: Put these features front and center, then make them easy to use.
Only four apps? And why aren’t there quick-access ways to find other bits of information or frequently-used files at a touch? The dock’s basic design seems due for a change.
“Clock” is still the only animated icon on iOS. WTF? At least put the live temperature on the weather app. Or figure out some other indication besides the red “unread messages” flag. Lots of missed opportunities here.
iOS 10’s notifications feel chunky and stick to the top of the phone longer than they feel welcome. Sometimes they’re even hard to swipe away. A better way of managing and presenting notifications is in order, considering how ever-present they’ve become in everyday phone use.
Google Now and Assistant services push suggestions and can intuitive reminders without necessarily adding them in. Putting too much of that in iOS could be a mistake, but iOS needs more system-wide awareness along with suggestive smarts.
Maybe, rephrase that as “have the iPhone camera do more clever things.” Likeor Samsung’s promised features, Apple’s own machine learning could combine with the camera to recognize or process what the iPhone sees. That could involve AR, or be of assistive use for accessibility purposes. Or, maybe the camera could help “remember” what it sees as appointments, notes or web links.
The Apple Watch’s one app to sync and manage notifications as well as watch faces means it’s not always easy to send music to the watch or pick things you’d like to pop up on your wrist later. Maybe Apple could re-consider a more seamless relationship.
Apple should make use of their tablet’s extra screen space. Fit more apps on-screen, improve split-screen modes and treat the iPad more like a Macbook alternative versus being just a large iPhone.