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4/25/2012
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Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want

If iOS 6 is discussed at Apple's sold-out developer conference, here's what we want to hear.

New iPad Teardown: Inside Apple's New Tablet
New iPad Teardown: Inside Apple's New Tablet
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple on Wednesday said that its 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference will be held from June 11 through June 15. Two hours after the morning announcement, the event was sold out.

The $1,600 WWDC tickets are already being offered on eBay for $2,900 and up.

As a point of comparison, Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, sold out in just 20 minutes.

However, ticket desirability doesn't necessarily correspond to the time it took for developers to buy the available tickets. Other factors like the difference in ticket pricing -- $1,600 to attend Apple's event, $900 to attend Google's--and differences in registration interface and requirements--Apple required would-be attendees to register using an Apple ID associated with an Apple Developer Account--likely affected the amount of time until the ticket supply was exhausted.

[ Are you following the tech trial of the year? Read Oracle Grills Google's Schmidt, Rubin. ]

Why all the interest? Apple is the most successful technology company in the world at the moment and WWDC is where developers will have the opportunity learn how to take advantage of Apple's forthcoming desktop operating system, OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion.

If that weren't enough, there have also been reports suggesting Apple may introduce the iPhone 5 at the event. It's possible, but Apple is likely to be focused issues related to its OS X product line, like integrating Intel's Ivy Bridge chips, and rolling out Mountain Lion. If the iPhone 5 isn't discussed in June, it should be unveiled by October.

The next version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 6, is also being worked on. Whether Apple wants to talk about upcoming iOS features at WWDC remains to be seen.

But whenever iOS 6 does arrive, here are a few features we hope will be included:

Siri API

Apple has not yet released an official API that third-party developers can use to add voice interaction to their apps. While there are ways to write apps that interface with Siri, it would be better to have full Apple support for Siri integration.

Auto App Updating

If you have a large number of apps on an iOS device, they you've probably encountered days when you have to update more apps than you have fingers. While this may not represent burdensome math, it would still be nice to have the option to allow specific apps to update themselves in the background automatically during periods of low network usage.

Intent System

If Google can write its own version of Android--kids, don't try this at home or the lawyers will get you--Apple can write its own version of Android Intents. There's already an equivalent project for HTML5, Web Intents. What are Intents, you ask? They're a way for apps to find out about and communicate with each other. Intents are useful because they allow apps to borrow functions from other apps and exchange data in a standardized way.

Scripting

The Web has ifttt.com. Android has Tasker. What iOS needs is a way to script app actions based on certain conditions. For example, if app A issues a notification, send this SMS message. There are ways to enable automation in specific apps, but a condition monitoring mechanism really ought to be run at the operating system level. Such as system could support listening for external requests to do things like silence your iPhone upon entering a movie theater.

Support for External Storage

iCloud is nice, but nothing beats having your data in hand. iOS should add support for microSD cards.

Programmable Call Handling

Perhaps this could be part of the scripting system. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to route calls from certain people to voicemail at specific hours or when in specific locations?

Configurable Audio Alerts

Instead of a single audio notification when an email arrives, why not allow the user to customize the sound played upon receipt of a message?

Browser Choice

Relax the iOS developer restrictions and support mobile Firefox and mobile browser plug-ins. (Yes, there are probably a great many potential users just dying to install AdBlock Plus for mobile.) And let Chrome for iOS in too (it's WebKit-based so it should be admitted if Google decides to release such a beast). Competition promotes innovation and helps users. And that's what everyone wants, right?

Alternate Keyboard Support

Android users can make use of innovative keyboards like Swype. Should iOS users be condemned to one size fits all?

Better Native Apps Or Replaceable Native Apps

The YouTube app, the Weather apps, and the Contacts app are functional but uninspired. If Apple's not going to allow users to uninstall native apps, it really ought to update its own apps more frequently. Insulated from competition, Apple's native apps languish the way the Microsoft Internet Explorer did in the 1990s.

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MacJake
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MacJake,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2012 | 12:28:37 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
add arrow keys.
the tourist
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the tourist,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/11/2012 | 5:07:36 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
This article has one of the two main items on my wish list. Alternative keyboards. For years I used Fitaly on windows phones, which, once you get use to its strange layout, allows you to type 1 handed at rates close to that of a keyboard touch typist without errors. I've never used Swype but I get the impression that it is just as good. Trying to type on the iPhone keyboard is clumsy and slow and on the iPad it can be even slower.

The main thing I would like for the iPhone is build in Text to Speach with an API that allows all programs to access it. I'm amazed I have seen this request before. I want to be able to go jogging, or cycling or even just go for a walk down to the shops and be able to listen to my emails being read out, or Internet articles (like in the safari reader mode but with audio). An App, SpeakIt does do this, but trying to cut&paste into it each article is time consuming and not worth the effort. Also, the safari reader mode doesn't allow cut&paste at all, which is where it would be most convenient to be able to cut and paste into SpeakIt. the irony is that iOS even includes Text-To-Speach abilities for the sight impaired, so why not just add an API for Email, Safari reading and any other applications.

As someone mentioned, some way of 'mousing' or cursor control without touch would be nice when using an external keyboard, but this is just a nice to think abut type of thing.

The other one, despite what Steve Jobs has stated, Apple needs to make a 7" tablet. Admitting a mistake here would do damage to their and Steves reputation of infallibility. But this will be a huge market. I also bought a kindle fire. Although it has a few nice touches, I especially like the feature where after following a link from an email to as Internet site, you have a back button that closes that site and brings you straight back to the same email. But apart from that the software is a POS. It is a forked version of a primitive version of Android that doesn't even allow access to Apps on the Android store. Many Internet sites only show the first page full of data and it is impossible to scroll down and see the rest. Yes really! Oh, and it's keyboard is essentially useless for typing, I average about 1error per word. I was being harsh calling the iPhone/iPad keyboard clumsy, but this keyboard really is clumsy!

But yet. I'm still twice as likely to take the kindle out with me as the iPad, just for reason alone that it just the right size and weight to carry around and hold comfortable while surfing, reading emails etc. And if I could find some way to root it and put a proper operating system on it such as Android (or iOS if that were ever possible) my current iPad would just become an niche device just used for the occasional activity needing a larger screen.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2012 | 3:58:26 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
Most of these features make sense. I wouldn't auto-update, but as an option for those who'd like it, why not? I'd love to be able to remove their native appls, which I never use. Have they changed since the first iPhone?

To me though the biggest wish is not here. I want iOS to give me direct access to file folders. I'm not looking to get to the root directory, but at least create a documents folder with the option of subfolders. Let me drop documents into that folder from a Mac or a PC. Create the necessary API for appropriate apps to use it. This will allow me to open the same file from multiple apps. I use Dropbox, but one doesn't always want to rely on the cloud. So put this under the same umbrella as wanting an SD card slot.

For the iPad especially this is a critical function. I'm not at all pleased that I had to buy a MacBook Air to meet this need. Apple didn't really come out ahead; the Air purchase kept me from upgrading my iPad this year. This is a glaring hole for enterprise use. Apple's ascendancy as the mobile devices of choice for many in the enterprise is a major driver in its continued stellar growth. They need to get this done.
daniael
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daniael,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2012 | 1:27:08 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
you just hit the nail in the head. basically, apple needs to be like android, right?
well, not for another 1000 years, wanna bet...
***** here's how apple can survive!
to be really free open (allow 3rd party app stores)
to allow choice (even in replacing "native" apps)
to have a decent decoupled elegant IPC (like intents)
to have support for microsd, usb, etc
to allow full access to the file system, kernel and CLI
to allow 3rd party plugins into Xcode and even more, to encourage and participate at eclipse (implicitly allowing cross platform developers to participate)
to allow free membership for the development community and to the vendor locking 1984 abomination like "we don't think you app is useful"
there are about 200 dots in this draft

otherwise, my prediction is clean "as is, apple is compuserve, when internet started!"

obviously posted in good faith for all of us
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2012 | 11:08:52 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
So e of these ideas for iOs are good, and some are terrible. Automatic updating is a terrible idea. I know that for Microsoft it's been considered a great thing so that people who almost never update their OS will be doing it for security updates. But updating apps? Why? We can update dozens at one touch. What if an update is faulty and cripples the app? Now, we have a choice of waiting and seeing if there's a problem before updating.

Forget plug-ins of any type. They are one of the biggest sources of problems. That's just going backwards.
nowseriously
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nowseriously,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2012 | 10:10:40 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
Hi dear Apple

Why not stop deliberately crippling BootCamp????

We want AHCI enabled in BootCamp, thanks.
ANON1242757339908
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ANON1242757339908,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2012 | 7:04:19 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
This will probably get me flamed because Jobs wouldn't approve, but I want some sort of cursor control other than pointing to something so that I can easily move back and forth and up and down without starting over with the finger effing routing. point and touch is good for some things but stupid for others.
ebernet
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ebernet,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2012 | 6:43:09 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
What a useless article. The only reasonable one here was Siri API. Could you not have written some more serious stuff? Like a new mapping engine built around the companies Apple has been buying the last few years? A 'Services" like feature where applications can advertise a service they offer and therefore integrate better into the iPhone (facebook could advertise photo upload, for example)? Other than that, the author shows no real knowledge of how Apple operates and what makes their OS uniqueG㬠As others have said, he is basically wishing Android features on iOS, He should just get an Android device and be done with it...
Aden11
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Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2012 | 5:23:42 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
I stopped reading this article after 3rd para. Complete waste of space and bandwidth.
DSAKU000
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DSAKU000,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2012 | 3:17:49 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want
This is the worst wish list I have seen .. iOS is successful only because there is no junk (the kind you find in Android) in the OS and it is streamlined ..
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