iOS 8 – What it Needs to Be

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5. Quantitative Self
The act of keeping track of your health on your device with the assistance of some kind of fitness tracker or smartwatch or other tool is going to become huge business in the next 5 years.  Apple already has Passbook in iOS 7 to keep track of passes, coupons, tickets and such.

6. It’s anticipated and rumored that Apple will release an app that is tentatively being called, “Healthbook” as part of iOS 8.  Healthbook is supposed to do for the quantitative self – or how you are measuring health related progress – what Passbook has done for tickets, coupons and such.  One would expect there to be some kind of hardware updates (perhaps to the accelerometer, GPS receiver or gyroscope) to the iPhone itself as part of the update.

This also begs the introduction of what many are calling the iWatch, or Apple’s highly anticipated fitness band/ tracker. While I’m not completely certain if the iWatch will be announced in June, I would expect some kind of update on it at WWDC if Healthbook makes an appearance as part of the mobile OS.  In the meantime, if the app is introduced, I would expect it to work with other fitness bands currently on the market.  In the end, keeping track of runs, walks, workouts, as well as other health-based information like your heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, weight, etc. is also something that falls into what Healthbook should either automate or manually maintain.

7. Synchronization and Content Management Improvements
I’m having one HELL of a time with synchronized content on my iPhone. If you have an iTunes Match account, Apple defaults your music to stream from iCloud. Not everyone has the data plans to support this or wants to stream music, if they have the media files on their Mac or PC.  I want to sync my songs to my iPhone and play them locally. It’s easier to do this when I drive, and I spend a lot more time commuting via car instead of the train, now.

For some reason, my iPhone doesn’t want to sync all the songs I’ve selected to sync to my device, even though I’ve got the space to do it. It bumps into something that prevents the content from synching over. I don’t know what it is. The only thing that seems to remove the “something” is to restore my iPhone and set it up as a new device. Converting higher bandwidth rated content to 128k AAC also seems to be a problem, as on occasion, unchecking THAT option resolves the issue and my music syncs.  On other occasions, it doesn’t.  For some reason – whether I’m converting files to 128k AAC or not, the amount of available space my iPhone seems to fluctuate. The audio section grows and shrinks, even when I haven’t added or removed any content, on its own, and I don’t understand why. Something is supposed to be synching and it isn’t, or the compression factor is messing with the space calculations, or SOMETHING ELSE is going on.

This is Mobile Device 101 here, kids. Apple needs to address this/these issue(s) and resolve them PDQ. I’ve got bugs logged against this in Apple’s Developer Program, and I’m still waiting to hear back on their disposition.  However, Apple’s been doing mobile device sync for far too long for there to be unaddressed issues in this area.

8. Touch ID Expansion
The introduction of biometric security in iOS 7.x and in the iPhone 5s is something that I’d like to see expanded upon in the iPhone 6 and iOS 8.  While the hardware and software does a great job of unlocking the device, it would be cool if you could also have Keychain do all necessary authentication via your fingerprints.

I’d also like to see third party apps get access to the biometric information store as well. I think this could be huge for banking apps. I know my banking password is long, and just a pain in the butt to type every time I need to pay a bill or transfer money through my device. If I could do authentication for that via TouchID, I’d much rather do that.

Other pundits aren’t necessarily advocating access of the biometric information store by 3rd party developers and/or apps. I’m not certain if there are security issues there that I’m overlooking or if they simply don’t think that Apple will bite, so they’re not suggesting it. Nothing for iOS 8 is really known just yet, so if I’m going to dream or make suggestions, I’m going to ask for what I think is right.  Third party access seems like it would be prudent, especially if there are extra developer agreements that would have to be signed before apps can access the data. Besides that, Apple vets out all app submissions and changes via the App Store, so if an app abuses the privilege, Apple would bear some of the liability in a data breach or fund theft via apps that were less than scrupulous.

9. Siri Improvements
Siri is totally cool; and so TOTALLY not used by nearly everyone.  What she can do is currently too limited for her to be of good use in your daily activities, and she also has some serious accuracy issues over Bluetooth, and especially in a car (via car kit or other hands free device).  Siri just seems a might deef.

At the very least, Apple should provide a huge accuracy boost, especially with CarPlay coming to a vehicle near you via factory equipment or third party, aftermarket install.  This is where Siri is going to get the most use, in my opinion. If she can’t understand what you want when invoked via CarPlay that technology isn’t going to go anywhere. I think Siri will be a big part of CarPlay functionality.

As far as extending her influence, it would be really nice if Apple would open her up to integration in 3rd party apps. I’d really rather specify what I want Siri to do in a specific app if I can, especially while driving, so that I can capture a thought, idea or other critical piece of information without having to pull over and write it down or forcing myself to remember if I can’t pull over “right now” to address the need.  Both Google and Microsoft are doing some of this with Google Now and Cortana respectively, and Apple will need to setup or get left behind.

Ok, kids… have I missed anything? There’s a lot more that I think Apple could do with iOS 8 that might either require updates to both iOS as well as portions of iTunes and/or OS X; but I’ve rambled on here for quite a while.  What I’d like to know from you is what you think?

What OS updates do you think need to be made?  Did I miss something with Siri, synchronization, iCloud or TouchID?  Are there other items to the Quantitative Self that might require some kind of hardware support from an iDevice or other 3rd party add-on that should be mentioned?  Is expanding Siri’s influence a good idea; or is Apple’s personal, digital assistant nothing without AI?  Is she just a fad whose time has come and gone?  What other updates do you feel should be addressed in iOS 8?  Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and give me your thoughts?

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