How Apple Can Make The iPhone And iPad More Awesome Starting Next Week

tim cook

Photo: Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

We’ve already seen a ton of leaks about what’s coming to iOS 6, the next version of the software that’ll power iPhones and iPads.We’ll have all the answers next week once Apple shows off iOS 6’s new features.

But until then, we have some things we’d like to see. We spend a lot of time using other platforms like Android and Windows Phone, so yes, a lot of the ideas come from there. (Which is good, since Android does a lot of things better than iOS.)

Notifications on the iPad should not look the same as they do on the iPhone

It's pretty obvious that iOS's Notifications centre was designed with the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen in mind. When you swipe down to view your notifications, the menu fills the entire screen. Banner notifications flip down from the top, filling the entire top portion of the display. It looks good.

But on the larger iPad screen, notifications are still iPhone-sized. They only fill up a tiny chunk of the screen. It looks like the Notifications centre is just kind of floating in the middle of nowhere. There's so much dead space.

It would be better if Apple adopted a notifications system for the iPad similar to the one on its new version of Mac OS X, Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion's notifications show up in a bar on the right side of your monitor, filling up the entire space top to bottom. That would also make sense on the iPad's larger screen.

Make multi-tasking more Android-like

When the iPhone first launched, multitasking was one of the most-requested features. It took a few years, but Apple finally gave us the ability to run multiple apps at once in 2009 with iOS 4.

But it's nowhere near as elegant as multitasking on other platforms, especially the latest version of Android. To an extent, even BlackBerry's PlayBook OS is better at multitasking than iOS.

We're hoping Apple takes cues from those operating systems and improves multitasking in iOS.

Our favourite solution at the moment is the one Google uses in Android. When you tap the multitasking key, you see a list of running apps on top of your home screen. You can tap to open one, or swipe across to close it for good. We'd love to see something similar in iOS.

Update our apps automatically

Right now, Apple makes you open the App Store, figure out which apps are due for an update, tap to update, and then enter your Apple ID before the download can begin.

We'd love the option to allow apps to update automatically. It works really well on Android.

Add widgets live updates to the home screen

Every time we go back to iOS after testing an Android phone or Windows Phone, we find ourselves missing widgets and live home screen updates. Widgets are mini-apps that run on your home screen and provide you real-time updates for news, weather, Twitter mentions, you name it. Windows Phone has a similar system called 'Live Tiles.'

We'd love to see Apple come up with a similar solution for iOS.

Make notifications easier to manage

If you're like us, then you have a lot of notifications stacked in your Notifications centre. It's a huge pain to clear them all. It would be great for Apple to add a way to clear out all your notifications at once.

Let us integrate our favourite services like Evernote, Dropbox, and LinkedIn

By now, we're all but certain Facebook (in addition to Twitter), will be built in to iOS. But we'd like it better if Apple opened up iOS to our other favourite services.

Whenever you install certain apps on Android, they're added to the operating system as a whole. For example, when you download Dropbox, you can upload photos to the service within your phone's gallery. That would be a killer feature on iOS too.

Give us a way to control basic stuff without digging through settings

It's a pain in the butt to adjust standard settings for things like Wi-Fi, aeroplane mode, and Bluetooth on iOS. We're hoping Apple takes a cue from Android and other platforms and gives us a control panel to access these functions from the home screen.

Give us a better camera app!

Panoramic mode. Burst shot. Faster performance. Other smartphones have it, so why can't the iPhone?

Add Siri voice dictation to all iPhones

We understand that the full-featured Siri app is too much for older iPhones, especially the iPhone 3GS, to handle.

But Siri voice dictation, which is already on the new iPad, should work just fine. Voice dictation lets you talk to type. It's extremely accurate, and would be a welcome addition to previous iPhone models.

Bring Siri to the iPad

We're not the biggest Siri fans, but for consistency's sake, we're hoping the reports are true that Siri is coming to the iPad with iOS 6.

According to 9to5 Mac, Siri on iPad will look a bit different that it does on the iPhone. Instead of filling up the entire display, it will slide on top of your home screen.

Make it easier to attach files to emails

It's really easy to email a photo from within the iPhone's photo app, but what if you already have a message typed up and ready to go?

You're out of luck.

We'd like to see Apple add a way for you to dig through photos (and maybe even other files) from the Mail app so you can easily attach them to your messages.

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