Apple iOS 6 Wishlist: 10 Features We Want - InformationWeek

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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
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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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