With Apple due to reveal the next generation of the iPhone operating system this Thursday, now is as good a time as any to discuss what we can hope to see in the upcoming fourth version of the mobile OS. You’ve already seen Patrick’s take, now here’s mine.
The last major update to the iPhone’s operating system arrived last June, bringing with it many desired features. Highlights from the 3.0 update included the long awaited copy and paste, in addition to features such as spotlight search and voice control. But what can we expect from tomorrow’s 4.0 unveiling?
Custom Message Alert Tones
A small request and one that has bugged me ever since I bought my iPhone. I simply want the ability to customize my ringtone for when I receive an SMS. If it can be done for calls, why not for texts? But why stop there? When in a room full of iPhone owning friends, it can often prove annoying to hear the email notification noise every few minutes, let users customize that too. Choice is a beautiful thing.
iPhone users tend to have a lot of applications installed, so it comes as no surprise that these app-addicts want a better way to organize their growing collection of mobile software. Thankfully Apple is aware of the problem and introduced a visual way to organize apps in iTunes 9. However, beyond the occasional iTunes reshuffle, the daily on-device swiping to find that specific app is way past tedious.
Many alternatives have been presented as a solution, including stacking, page overviews, category views, and more. A personal preference would be the introduction of folders. A folder could be presented just like any other application icon, which when pressed dug down into a page of specific apps. For example, a folder containing news applications, with another housing all of a user’s games. This would not only make it easier to find a specific app, it would also offer more breathing space to those more commonly used.
Improve The Lock Screen
A locked iPhone currently provides very little information at-a-glance. Adding information such as today’s calendar events, local weather and any missed calls or messages would offer up a much more useful hub for quick scanning. Of course if Apple were to add all this data to the lock screen it could turn off users who prefer the current minimalist version. A simple section in the device’s settings app could make it easy for users to pick and choose what information is displayed.
Picture this: You get home and your iPhone instantly connects to your home networks Wi-Fi, within seconds your iPhone realizes that your MacBook Pro is also connected to the same network. Once a connection is made your device begins to sync all your photos, notes, messages and anything else you choose, straight to your laptop, creating a seamless backup, all of which happens in the background, over the air. Sounds great right? Hope it sounds great to Apple, too.
What do you want to see?
The dream-features detailed above are just a representative selection. Plenty of other requests for the future of the iPhone’s OS have been suggested, some great, others not so much. I’d love to hear about your own feature requests in the comments.