Hopefully, we are soon approaching the time when Apple will reveal its roadmap for iOS for 2013 — most likely sometime this summer when the company holds its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Since I’ve used other mobile operating systems over the last year, this year leading up to the reveal of iOS 7, I have a longer wish list for what I’d like to see in it than I have in the past.
While I may be wishing upon a star here, I’m hopeful that Apple beginning support for a third-party audio interface is a sign of change from Cupertino regarding features they may add to iOS. I’m also hoping Jony Ive brings us some great changes to the user interface design iOS.
A homier home screen
My biggest complaint about iOS is how the home screen is really just the apps that I use the most and therefore place them on the first screen. I want my home screen to be much more than that, though. I want to see today’s weather, the traffic on the way to work, what meetings I have that day, and today’s hit list on my task manager. I don’t want this limited to information obtained from just Apple apps, either. I want it to be able to read my tasks from Things, or whatever task management app I’m pretending will help get me organized this month.
That’s why I think Panic is on to something with Status Board. I like the idea of a customizable widget screen that I see when I unlock my device. I’d rather see a dashboard than a grid of icons.
Because sharing is caring
One Android feature I really like is the ability to share data between apps. If I have Instapaper installed and I’m in Chrome, I can send a page directly to Instapaper. Ditto for Evernote. Both of these are applications I use almost daily. While installing bookmarklets isn’t a gigantic hassle, it’s definitely not as good as a systemwide sharing tool.
I’d like to get an email I need to take action on, and “share” it with Things to create a task. It would be doubly nice if it could apply some intelligence and deduce the due date for the task, similar to how iOS creates calendar events based on a date and time in your email.
Preview on iOS
When Preview support for Documents in the Cloud was announced as part of Mountain Lion, I would have bet money on Preview making its way to iOS. Good thing I didn’t, or I would be out a fiver or more. So, here’s hoping Preview shows up in iOS 7 so I can sync my PDFs. While I do use programs like PDFPen, for simple PDF reading it seems overkill. PDFPen’s strengths are the ability to edit and e-sign documents, which may be more than most people need. Most of us probably just need an easy way to sync important PDFs. In my case, very few of the PDFs I want to sync are ones I want to edit; I mainly want them for reference.
Central document repository
Apple’s sandboxing, where apps can’t directly read another app’s data, is probably a good thing for security. However, when it comes to actually getting some work done, it’s a pain in the rear end. I may be wishing for unicorns, rainbows and a pretty pony here, but I really hope at some point Apple allows something like a Documents app, where I can keep PDFs, Office-type apps, text files and the like for any application to read and write too. This way, if a certain word processor app doesn’t handle a feature I need very well, I can easily open the file in that app. Using the Open With command, while a work-around, usually means I end up with multiple copies of a document strewn about several apps.
I have zero inclination to buy an AirPrint printer, given how infrequently I need to print from iOS. However, I wish Apple would put in a few generic drivers so people on the road with only an iPad might be able to print out items like documents, travel itineraries, boarding passes and directions.
Changing default apps
I want to be able to change default apps, especially browsers. I’ve had a few problems syncing bookmarks across multiple devices using Safari and iCloud, so I switched to Chrome as my browser. This has a secondary benefit of letting me access my bookmarks easily on my Android and Windows devices. I’d hope this would simply be something you set in Settings, where there would be an option for “Default Browser” and you can choose from the browsers you have installed.
The only one of my wish list items I really expect to happen at some point is Preview. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple introduce a better home screen, especially with Jony Ive more involved with the design process. I doubt we will ever see an app like a Documents app, but a guy can dream.
How about you? What things would you like to see in iOS 7?