Apple will likely introduce the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Apple will reportedly focus on under-the-hood improvements, mainly for the sake of refining and polishing the current experience on its mobile devices.
According to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, Apple is placing a big emphasis on bug fixes and performance enhancements to make everything run faster and more efficiently on iPhones and iPads. The company is also expected to release a public beta for the next version of iOS, which would let you test the software before it’s released, even if you’re not a developer.
Though we’d be happy with Apple fixing what it already has, we’re holding out hope for some important tweaks and additions.
The Settings app in iOS is huge, and it's not necessarily easy to find what you're looking for -- some applications may spread their preferences across multiple folders within the Settings app, which can be confusing. Apple needs to bring its Spotlight Search functionality to Settings, which would make everything so much easier to find.
Siri has a deep knowledge base, but it has no actual memory. It can't remember previous questions you've asked it, so it's basically a glorified question-and-answer application. But Siri was meant to be a virtual assistant, so Apple should let it: If Apple let Siri interact with other apps or remember your personal preferences like Google Now, it could scan your data to proactively tell you to bring a coat before leaving for work in the morning, or let you know about an unforeseen scheduling conflict.
Apple has begun experimenting integrating Siri into third-party services -- in iOS 8, Siri can identify what song's playing thanks to Shazam, and it offers you options to play the radio through Spotify, in addition to iTunes. Apple needs to keep opening up Siri so it can actually carry out tasks that Apple can't manage directly.
Another feature that needs third-party support is the NFC chip that's in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Apple Watch, and the next batch of iPhones set to launch in the fall. Since iOS 9 will support all of these NFC-enabled devices, opening up the NFC chip could result in interesting innovations: Since NFC can let devices communicate with store terminals, developers have plenty of motivation to create novel and satisfying experiences for this mobile technology.
In the same way OS X Mavericks introduced new battery-saving techniques for the software running on the Mac, it would be great to see iOS 9 offer more ways to save power -- features and preferences users can toggle on and off, as well as a toolkit for developers so they can update their apps.
Reducing the screen's brightness doesn't quite cut it sometimes. Some apps from Apple and third parties offer a 'night mode,' and it would be great to see Apple implement this look system-wide, on those occasions you're trying to sleep or trying to wake up but you don't want to stare at a white screen.
The iPhone keyboard has a globe icon in the bottom left corner: When you click it, you'll see options to text in a language, in Emoji, or in any one of the new third-party keyboards you downloaded since iOS 8 went live last fall. Unfortunately, this menu is kind of a mess, and it's common to accidentally summon a keyboard you don't want just by pressing on the globe icon once. Third-party keyboards are a nice addition, but they need to leave the keyboard menu and go to the Settings app where they belong.
You can't delete Apple's baked-in first-party apps -- Passbook, Tips, Stocks, FaceTime, iBooks, Compass, Maps, Health, Newsstand, and many more -- but you should be able to. These apps should be on your phone when you first buy it, but you should have the option to remove them from your phone so they don't take up so much valuable room. Especially since the company still offers 16GB iPhones.
iTunes Match is a great concept: You buy a $US25/year subscription and Apple will store all your music in the cloud so you can stream it on any device, or choose to store it for offline listening. Unfortunately, the implementation is messy and buggy, where on your music can suddenly and randomly disappear from your phone when it's synchronizing, making it a pain to re-download all your stuff from the cloud. Apple needs to smooth out this software, big time.
Wallpapers look beautiful on the iPhone, but Apple has few built-in, animated options. Apple is adding a ton of interesting animated wallpapers to the Apple Watch -- flowers, animals, and more -- and the iPhone deserves the same degree of attention.
Owners of the iPhone 6 Plus can turn their phone sideways and the entire interface will turn sideways. Most apps work in landscape, too, so it's actually pretty easy to use your phone in landscape mode without returning to portrait for any given reason. This feature should come to the iPhone 6 -- the screen is big enough to handle it.
The data in Apple Maps is constantly getting better, but Apple still needs help connecting the dots. It's been rumoured for years now that Apple would add options to get directions for public transportation and bike routes, two key features in Google's popular Maps app that Apple's offering is sorely missing.
The Control Center was a super useful addition in iOS 7: You can easily adjust your phone's brightness or music, or even turn on the phone's flashlight, with a simple swipe from the bottom of the screen. But as we mentioned earlier, the iPhone has a ton of options and controls in the Settings app; it would be nice to choose which of those settings can be dropped into the Control Center for easy on/off toggling.