Top Must Have Changes in iOS 7

iOS 7 is going to need revolutionary instead of Apple’s standard evolutionary changes. This is what I think they need to be for iOS to be innovative again

ios7

Introduction

When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, it brought PDA/PIM data together with your cell phone, your music and videos, and made everything work, and work well. Since its introduction a few years later, Android has matured, and matured well. Windows Phone has been reinvented and revisioned and now the iPhone isn’t the only player on the block that knows how to do convergence and content consumption.

The iPhone turns six soon and it’s still got the same interface and launcher introduced with. It’s time for an interface refresh. So, here are my suggestions for the upcoming release of iOS 7.

Redesigned Launcher

Currently, iOS users can put app shortcuts on any number of home pages.  Users can also organize icons and create folders to hold application icons by placing one icon on top of another. The interface has remained largely unchanged over the past 6 years.

A launcher is nothing more than a way to sort, manage and launch applications. The launcher in iOS is used on all iDevices, and its clearly in need of some improvement, update or change.  Android allows users to install a number of different 3rd party launchers; and while I’m certain that Apple isn’t going to allow users to install a custom launcher, a lot of ideas can be gleaned from apps of this type from other OS’.

Have at it Apple. Wow us and give us something modern and new.  However, choice is important. It would be nice if in giving us a new UI, Apple would allow users to revert to the current UI as well.

Changes to the Notification Tray

This is one of the most valuable features in Android, and it’s been there for quite a while.  While the iOS notification tray is nice, it could, and should, do a whole lot more.  Shortcuts to specific device functions – like turning radios on and off, or pairing with specific devices – would be very valuable.

I’d like to be able to include info from other apps, like recent phone calls or place shortcuts to favorite numbers there so I can call them quickly. I’d also like to be able to customize this a bit, so please, give me more than can fit so I can put my own personal spin on things, or change things as my needs change.

Settings Redesign

A general reorg of settings would be helpful and seen as a big improvement. Some of the options in this area  are quite buried.

One of my biggest complaints with iOS 5 was that it was really difficult to get to the settings switch to turn Bluetooth on and off. You had to go into Settings, get to General, Wireless and then Bluetooth before you could get to the switch.  iOS6 changed that a bit, by bringing both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings up to the top of the Settings menu.  However, you still have to dive in to each category to get to the on/off switch and any other options, like pairing with a specific device.

I’d really like to see a complete tear down and rebuild here. The way Apple has all of its underpinnings and options setup and configured is long in the tooth.  I know I’m likely not to get what I want here, but it would be nice to see some work on organization and logical groupings. It isn’t always clear what is and isn’t stuffed into Settings and what might be tweaked in the actual app.

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Thunderbolt vs. the Standard 30 Pin iOS Connector

There’s a lot of speculation that a change in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 connector may change.

The 30 pin iDevice connector has been around for a long time. Back in the day, when the iPod was originally released, Apple introduced it with the original 30 pin connector. Apple has on occasion since the original introduction of the connector and cable made tweaks to it. The connector has spawned the introduction and revision of many different accessories. Its created an industry all of its own.

With the introduction of Thunderbolt, a PCI Express related connector, there’s been a great deal of speculation that Apple would move all iDevices to it, beginning with iPad 3 and iPhone 5. There are some pluses and minuses to this, speculative change. Let’s take a quick look and see what they may be.

10 Plus Years at 30 Pins Can’t be Wrong
Apple’s love affair with their 30 pin connector goes back to the original release of their iPod music player. Back in the day, Apple’s 30 pin connector was Firewire only. It wasn’t until the 3rd generation iPod that USB support was built in, and then it was sync only support. It wasn’t until the 4th generation iPod that the 30 pin USB connector did sync and charge. The long and short of it, however is that Apple has had a love affair with their 30 pin connector since October of 2001.

The last 10 years has seen a great many iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone accessories evolve around the iDevice’s 30 pin connector. When Apple introduced the iPhone 3G, they changed the connector. When they introduced the iPhone 3GS, they changed the connector. When they introduced the iPhone 4 and then the iPhone 4S, they changed the connector. With each connector change, accessories were obsoleted – meaning, they would no longer function as designed and intended. Users were forced to look for updated versions or replacements entirely.

This was both good and bad, as aside from the economic stimulation which was good for retailers and accessory manufacturers, some users resented the fact that they had to spend money to repurchase an accessory that wasn’t broken. Users are now someone resigned to this continual need to “fix what wasn’t broken,” and make budgetary allowances for some key accessory repurchases at the time of device purchase. In some cases, accessories were unaffected by the pin changes. In those cases where functionality was affected, some users are willing to forego full functionality (usually charging), provided that some functionality remained. In the case of speakers or boom boxes, you have to watch to insure that you don’t completely run out of power, but in some cases, that may be acceptable considering the price of the accessory in question.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, given the accessory investment you made and the usability status of those accessories as they relate to the “new” device, do I have to modify how I use the device and if not; can I afford to repurchase said accessories if they don’t work the way I am used or need them to work?

Less of a Need for a Physical Connection
With the introduction of iOS 5, the need for a physical connector has really changed. It’s now possible to sync your iDevice to a given PC via Wi-Fi. With Airplay, the need for a physical speaker or TV connection is greatly reduced. Without needing to be physically connected to a speaker in order to hear playing music or a TV in order to view video and hear its audio, the need for a wired connection to that centralized or playing endpoint, is greatly reduced if not eliminated. In this scenario, the only reason to have a wired connection to anything is for charging purposes.

From a technology advancement perspective, 4G and LTE radios are a bit bigger in size. Apple’s 30 pin connector takes up a great deal of space – space that might be better utilized by a larger battery. Given that battery life is a huge issue for devices with advanced cellular radios, it really begs the question…What is Apple going to do with its connector?

Bus Compatibility
Obviously, the first thought is Thunderbolt. It’s much smaller, provides a huge speed boost, and would allow for either a larger radio or larger battery, or both. The problem here is that Thunderbolt uses PCI Express, and Apple’s iDevices do not. This would require a total internal redesign of the device’s communications bus, and may present other challenges that would negate the benefit the connector’s smaller form factor. While some of this may be required related to the implementation of LTE, that reengineering may not be as drastic or demanding as the implementation of both LTE and Thunderbolt in Apple’s handheld devices.

The other obvious alternative is microUSB. However, while this may solve the space problem, microUSB doesn’t offer much of an improvement other than size. From a performance perspective, Apple would likely see the same level of performance from a microUSB connector as it would from its current 30 pin connector. If space is the only consideration, this may be the move to look for. If Apple is looking for space and performance bumps, this likely wouldn’t be the solution that Apple would pursue.

Will Apple make a change here? Trying to figure out what they will do seems to be one of the most pursued netizen pastimes of the past few months. If they were to want or need to make a change, now, with pending releases of both iPad 3 and iPhone 5 on the horizon, would obviously be the best time to chase it down.

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Take a look at the top new features included in the iOS 5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

As announced yesterday, Apple just released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new operating system for Apple’s mobile devices includes cool new features, such as wireless syncing, improved notifications, PC-free setup, Twitter integration and over 200 other new features.

Let’s take a look at the best new features…

Notification Center

No more annoying blue box in the middle of your screen. Rather, a smooth little bar (quite the same as the one on the Android devices) will spin at the top of your screen. If you drag it down, you’ll see all the notifications you received and also your emails, weather and stock information. Tap any to access the appropriate app. The Notification Center also appears on your lock screen.

iCloud

This is what I personally consider one of the most important feature. iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, etc., and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. You can get a free email address, 5GB of cloud storage, syncing for all your contacts, calendars and yes, much more. Also, you can now download your past iTunes purchases.

iMessage

When you’re texting or sending an MMS to another iOS 5 user, the operating system will save you money by sending your message (or pictures) using the internet, rather than your carrier. If you don’t have an Internet connection, the sending button will be green and it will be through your carrier, if it’s blue, it will use iMessage and it will be free of charge. The best part is that you don’t have to do nothing at all about it, iOS 5 will take care of everything in the background.

Newsstand

You can get now your newspapers and magazines delivered on the iPad. The new OS organizes your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions in Newsstand: a folder that lets you access your favorite publications quickly and easily. There’s also a new place on the App Store just for newspaper and magazine subscriptions. And you can get to it straight from Newsstand. New purchases go directly to your Newsstand folder. Then, as new issues become available, Newsstand automatically updates them in the background — complete with the latest covers. It’s kind of like having the paper delivered to your front door.

Camera

Apple understands that people use their iPhone camera quite often. In this manner, they made the camera app faster and you can now take pictures using the volume-up button. You can launch the camera app right from the home screen by double-pressing the home button. You can use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks to compose a picture on the fly. Also, if your Photo Stream is enabled in iCloud, your photos automatically download to all your other devices. Moreover, you can now easily crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app in the new iOS.

Safari

Safari it’s not only much faster, but it now allows you to read online content with a “reader” button more easily , that strips out the ads and makes the text look nice. Also, you can save text for later using a feature called “Reading list” which you can find in your bookmarks.

Twitter integration

With the new OS, you only need to sign into Twitter once through the settings. Then you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.

Reminders

Reminders lets you organize your life in to-do lists with due dates and locations. Let’s say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.

Independence

With the new OS, you no longer need a Mac or PC to own an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. You can now do everything wirelessly, right out of the box. You can download iOS software updates directly on your device and you can now back up and restore your device automatically using iCloud.

Wi-Fi Sync

Every time you connect your iOS device to a power source, it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes wirelessly. So you always have stuff synchronized everywhere you want them.

Note: iOS5 can be installed on: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 4G, iPod Touch 3G, iPad, iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi+3G and iPad 2 CDMA.

iOS5 is free and the only thing that you have to do in order to update your device is to connect it to iTunes and it will begin the update.

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