12 Things Apple Needs To Fix In The iPhone's Software

tim cook shadow

Apple is currently in a mad dash to get the next version of iOS, the software the powers the iPhone and iPad, ready for developers.

We’ve put together a wish-list of what we want to see Apple do with iOS. As good as iOS is, it can be much better.

The iPhone’s software could be easier to use, and more informative.

iMessage needs to be much more stable.

Apple's iMessage is unreliable. It goes down periodically wreaking havoc with iPhone users' text messaging. So, first step is to stop it from ever going down.

It's also quite wonky. If you turn off iMessage, the iPhone can't really figure it out. So, friends send you iMessages, but you miss them.

Siri needs to be entirely rethought.

Siri just doesn't work. In the rare cases it is useful, it's slow to respond.

If Apple really wants to create a 'personal assistant' it should look at what Google does with Google Now. Google Now offers up cards of information before you even ask. It has the scores of your favourite teams, the local weather, estimates of how long it will take you to get home from where you're at, and even information on packages you're expecting.

Google does all this by combing through your data, which is a bit creepy, and very un-Apple-like. The idea is solid though. Apple should think about how to make Siri a highly personalised application that you check first thing every day.

Search stinks.

Apple's search in Mail and in Maps is terrible. It needs to build a better search engine so people can sift through all of their emails that flow through the Mail app. It also needs to make Maps search 100 times better.

Apple's notification banners need to be less intrusive.

Apple's notification system is pretty good. You get a little banner box that rolls at the top tell you about a new email, or an alert from some other app. The problem is that the banner covers the top of the app you're in, which renders the app partially useless. Apple should just push the app down, allowing the banner to pop up without affecting the ability to use the app.

App icons should be allowed to add live information.

Apple's calendar app automatically changes to change the date every day. More apps should be able to do this. Weather apps, for instance, should be able to change their icons to reflect the actual temperature. This way a user gets quick, easy information by just looking at the screen.

The settings menus require too many steps.

Apple's settings menu makes it tough for users to easily defend their battery life. One of the easiest ways to protect battery life is to turn off WiFi when away from a WiFi signal. But, with the iPhone it's a six-step process. With Android, you swipe from the top and you can turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. You can also adjust brightness, or put it in aeroplane mode.

It should be easier to clear your notification centre.

Notification centre is pretty great overall. However, it needs a few tweaks. When you have multiple notifications, there should be an option to clear all notifications. Instead, you have to clear each app's notifications, and that's a two-step process -- you hit a tiny X, then you hit it again. Also, you should be able to clear individual notifications. So, if I have 10 emails, I would love to swipe away four of them, so I have a helpful reminder about the other six.

Apple Maps needs subway stops and directions.

This is a total no-brainer. Apple needs to add transit to the Apple Maps.

Apple's Music app needs to be better.

Apple rolled out iTunes Match, which lets you store all your music in iCloud for $25 a year. You can access it across any iOS device. It's a good idea, but execution is lacking. Some songs don't make it from your computer to iTunes Match. It's hard to figure out what's been stored locally on your phone and what hasn't.

Semi-related: Spotify is good. Apple should consider a subscription service, although it's probably too late.

Apple's native apps all need work.

Reminders, notes, Mail, Maps, Passbook, etc. all need refinement. Third-party developers have all built apps that surpass Apple's native applications.

Choose your own default apps.

On the desktop, you can set Firefox as a default browser. In iOS, you have no choice, Safari is the default. Apple's less-than-stellar native apps would be less of a pain if the user could make third-party apps the default.

Game centre could be so much better.

Game centre, which is Apple's social network for gaming, could be great. It could help developers launch games and help users measure their scores against friends. Unfortunately, adding and challenging friends is a pain.

Apple should copy Dots, which uses Twitter to show you the highest scores of people you follow on Twitter. It's a dead simple way to make a solo game more compelling.

Now check out some of the best iPhone apps ...

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