Top Must Have Changes in iOS 7

SaaS Interoperability

Thinking I’m just going to use iCloud and Apple PIM apps is silly. There are a number of different options out there, and there’s been a retraction of interoperability between competing devices and services lately.  It might be good for vendors, VAR’s and OEM’s, but it truly blows for consumers.  We need to return to the interoperability we had between devices and services that we had, say just a year or two ago.

Yes. I’d be willing to pay an (albeit, nominal annual fee) for this.

Attention major computer vendors of the world – specifically Apple, Google and Microsoft – you are NOT an island.  I use the tools that you offer because they solve problems for me. I have Gmail that I use on both Windows and Mac machines.  I have an iPhone and an iPad. My kids have iPhones and Android tablets. People mix and match computing equipment like this the world over. There are very few people who go all in with one specific vendor or provider.

Until recently, you could use just about any device with just about any service available from any vendor.  This changed recently; and the effect is that Android phones that want to sync data must do so via the Gmail app and not through Android Mail.  On the iPhone, unless you’ve got a paid Google Apps account, you can’t sync new accounts with iOS Mail. The same can be said on Windows 8 devices and Windows Phone.

I know most everyone is going to paid services now, and that’s fine.  The problem here is that you’ve taken away something I was relying on without giving me the ability to pay to keep it where it is. This one is easy to fix:

  1. Put it back
  2. Make it affordable
  3. Sign me up

Come back next time and I’ll finish up with the remaining four areas that need some attention in the next release of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Siri Improvements

siri-iconIf an iDevice can do it, then Siri should be able to do it for you. This means that your iPhone should be able to do things like, Siri, turn <this radio> on/off, Siri connect a conference call between <this person> and <this person>.

Siri’s accuracy has improved since its introduction, but there’s still quite a bit that it can’t do, and its holding the mobile digital assistant back. I seriously expect some major enhancements here.  I’d also like to be able to do this in my car without having to install some major junk or have to dump the car I have and buy a new Eyes Free compatible vehicle. So, this should work with just about any stock or 3rd party head unit installed in your vehicle.  It shouldn’t be too hard.  All we need is just a bit of cooperation between Apple and head unit manufacturers like Pioneer, Kenwood and Sony.

Serious Battery Life Improvements

I read an article recently that indicated that software used to be the most important spec on a mobile device. Given that abilities between devices are shoring up, it’s clear battery life is going to be the more important spec going forward.  If you can’t use it all day long, without HAVING to charge it, there’s a problem.  iOS 7 should improve on battery life for existing iDevices by at least 10%. There’s gotta be a way of making existing iPhones (4S’ and 5’s)  last longer without deprecating capabilities.

I’m cool with things if that means that Siri or some other software component in the device has to learn how I use my device; and then only turn certain radios on when I’m in specific locations, or at specific times of the day; or put my Bluetooth radio in a low, power saving mode that only turns it on when its connected to a paired device.  I really don’t care how this happens.  It just needs to happen.

Fix iCloud Core Synching

At the office, we’d call this a “hot mess.”  For something that’s supposed to just work, many developers will tell you that working is the one thing that iCloud doesn’t do.

As such, I don’t’ use iCloud a lot. My free 5GB of space really just backs up my iPhone and that’s about it.  I don’t use it because I use other sync services and because figuring out how to use the thing isn’t nearly as easy as Steve said it would be.

I’d like to bring over contacts and calendar data, say from Google, and then have them sync with iCloud; but every time I do that, I end up with a God-awful amount of duplicates on all devices and services and it shouldn’t work that way.

Interestingly enough, Apple isn’t alone here. As I said, many third party developers are in the same boat. Many have simply given up on using iCloud and have either stripped the features they wanted to build in, out; or have switch to another sync service. This needs to get resolved in both iOS and OS X, and sooner rather than later.

Widgets & the iOS Lock Screen

When it comes to the notification tray or iOS lock screen, the first thing that comes to mind is Widgets. However, they tend to be problematic at best.  Apple has shied away from these in iOS because they tend to be awesome opportunities for both poor programming as well as security issues. If Apple does go the widget route, I think a lot of third party submissions will get denied due to performance issues and the like.

However, it could REALLY open up a lot of customization opportunities.  There’s a lot that I’d like to show on my lock screen – my daily agenda for example – and you just can’t do that without Jailbreaking the device; and then, it’s a bit difficult given the way iOS is architected.

iOS 7 is supposed to be announced at WWDC along with the anticipated iPhone 5S.  I’ll have coverage of its beta releases as well as a full teardown of its released version here on Soft32 over the Summer and Fall of 2013.

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