Wednesday, February 29, 2012

iOS Wishlist

Think about the technology you own in your life. Now take a minute to think about what piece of technology is closest to you at this very moment. Aside from the computer you are reading this on (if you even have it opened on a computer), the most likely answer is probably your smart phone or your cell phone. I break those into two separate answers because I believe that there really is a difference between an iPhone or an HTC modeled Android device and the flip phone with a camera that your aunt has had for the last five years. Keep in mind, when portable telephones came out originally, that's exactly what they were: portable phones with gigantic batteries that made having your phone with you more of a work out than a convenience. Being born in late '92 I was able to avoid these types of phones and my first phone was actually a Motorola flip with a camera. Eventually I may need to do a post on the development of texting just so I can share the story of the 700 dollar phone bill and why unlimited texting plans are always a lot smarter to get for a teen. Anyway, back to the point: a cell phone and a smart phone are two totally different animals entirely. One makes phone calls, sends texts, and possibly takes pictures while having incredibly scaled back capabilities with the web and media,  while the other pretty much does everything except scratch your back, although I believe in the future there we be an app for that too. 

Over the years there have been many smart phones to hit the market in various forms. RIM has always been known for the BlackBerry line of devices, BBM, and things like that. T-Mobile had a line of SideKicks that I believe are an early form of the smart phone. Google does the Android platform that can now be found on a viriety of phones, and Apple, the computer giant of the world, does the iPhone, which in  my personal opinion revolutionized the smart phone platform. Before you say anything, yes  I know most of what the iPhone can do was originally on the Android platform, but try to understand I've invested quite a few years in iOS so I do consider that my home, and I am damn sure gonna defend my home. The other reason I need to defend iOS is because of the point of this post, my personal iOS 5 wishlist. I realize this is a topic I have touched on before in various forums, but I think this is the type of topic that needs to be touched at least once a year because iOS 5 is always developing. As new features are  introduced, a new item comes to the list. So here is what I am hoping to see in later integrations of iOS 5 and of course iOS 6 when it finally comes out. 

*Increased Customization- To me, this is a big one. IOS has always enabled you to set a lock screen picture as well as a background home screen. With the introduction of iOS 5 you could finally install custom text message and alert tones, something that has ALWAYS been needed in the OS since day one. That being said, I think it's time Apple steals a move from the Android platform....again. The first area I want to be able to customize is in the messages app. As nice as the Gray/Green/Blue scheme is for text message bubbles, let's mix it up a bit. Maybe I want my iMessage bubbles to be red, my received texts to be a deep purple, and my own texts to be golden. Also, maybe I would like to be able to change the background of the text messaging app to make my texts pop a little more. Granted, I don't want to be able to put a picture in there because  that becomes  distracting, but you get the idea. 

After that I would like to be able to put my app icons where I want to put them. I have always hated the main app layout, mainly because it just allows you to move apps around, but not give them the exact placement you want. Maybe I want the middle of my wallpaper open so that I can see it, as opposed to having an app over my girlfriends face. 

The introduction of alert tones, at least custom ones, is also something I speak highly of, but let's take that above and beyond. Instead of limiting me to changing the tones for certain apps, let me change it for all of them. Maybe I want my Facebook app to make a ìStar Trek: The Original Seriesî communicator sound when I get an alert from that or maybe I want a dragon to roar every time AIM sends me an alert. It's the little things that make a difference. 
*Widgets- I know that I am going to get a lot of heat from iOS and Android users a like, but I think it is time for Apple to bake the concept of widgets into iOS as a standard feature. I had a chance to play with both of my moms android devices (and by play I mean figure them out so I could teach her how to operate them) and I noticed that widgets work quite well in Android, be it the messaging widget that lets you see your texts or a Facebook widget that lets you see your friend's status updates. The point is, one platform was able to integrate it so maybe it's time the other does. 

*Facebook Integration- There have actually been rumors about this one floating around in the iOS 5.1 beta, but I feel it bares inclusion as it hasn't been officially implemented on all devices yet. In iOS 5 Apple included integration with Twitter that allows you to tweet out a photo or a web page from the photos app or Safari respectively. Now that that is in effect, lets get something going for Facebook to make Photo, Video, and Web Page sharing a tad easier for those of us that still use Facebook. If I want to share something with my Facebook friends, I shouldn't have to jump through the hoops of the official Facebook app, that at times is great, and at other times sucks. 

*Albums in Photos- This one has already been implemented but the way it was done makes it USELESS! Here's how the app currently functions. I go to three separate  events on the same day and take photos at each. I make an album for each of the photos of each event. These photos are now in an album AND in my camera roll. What's better is that I can't delete said photos from the camera roll or they are also removed from the album. To top it off, there is no way to copy an album from the iPhone to a computer as a folder for easy placement in my pictures library. I don't know about you, but I really don't care to have to organize my photos twice: once on my phone and then again on my computer, just to sync the folders from my computer to my iPhone in the end anyway. 

*Game Center Sync- This is another one that was implemented, but was mostly implemented horribly. To me, the idea of cloud computing, or iCloud as Apple is calling their attempt at it, should be simple. I only have a few games that this applies to, but if I ever get a new phone or iPad I could see this becoming something I  could really need. If I am playing a game on my iPad and I connect to wifi at some point, I want Apple to upload all of my data to the cloud, so that I can then go on my iPhone and click a sync button, and download my progress so I don't feel like I am balancing two games on two devices. Maybe this is something that already widely exists and I missed something, or maybe the whole ìOpt inî to Game Center thing that was laid on the developers was what messed it up. Either way it needs fixing. 

These are just a few of the things I hope to see implemented in upcoming versions of iOS, how ever I will do another post later this year, after Apple announces a new load of features. Also don't think this is everything I feel needs to be done. I feel there is definitely more they could do, from allowing syncing with the Google Chrome browser to overhauling the appearance of the YouTube app, but we don't have all day for a mile long list. 

What features would you like to see implemented in upcoming versions of iOS? What smart phone platform do you use? If its something other than iOS what are your favorite features of your platform  of choice and what features would you like to see added or improved? Sound off below in the comments. 

Until next time, 


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