We all have different needs, tastes, and tasks for our computing devices; guess that’s why they’re called “personal computers.”
These days that designation applies to tablets and smartphones as well. Consequently, our hopes and aspirations for the forthcoming biggest revamp of Apple’s mobile device operating system since it first powered the original iPhone five years ago will be accordingly variegated.
For example, ZNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes last week posted a blog entitled: “7 things I wish iOS 7 could do.” Reading through Kingsley-Hughes’s seven-point Wishlist, I found two I agree with, but I part company on the five others as matters of particular interest.
iOS 7 Features Points of Agreement
As an OS for machines that are so easy to pass around, and that are likely to be shared, especially within families, it’s been a puzzlement to me why multiple user accounts are not supported by the iOS.
Kingsley–Hughes says Apple’s resistance to multi-user accounts stems from a market strategy persuading each individual to buy a separate device. But, given sales and maturity of both iDevices and iOS, surely we can move beyond this now? Hopefully, but I have to say it’s not a very lively hope for iOS 7.
Ability To Change The Default Browser
Flexibility and user-choice are always positives, although the iOS version of Safari is a good browser I’m quite satisfied with, and it looks like it will be even better in iOS 7 with a new unified Search field, new tab view, shared links, a Reading List, and swipable scrolling from tab to tab. I also regularly use Google Chrome, the Google Search app, Sleipnir, and Puffin for browsing, but would probably keep Safari as the default anyway.
iOS 7 Features Points of Disagreement
Delete Preinstalled Junk Apps
While the inability to do this is mildly annoying, I can’t get too exercised about it. After 27 months of intensive use, over half the capacity of my iPad’s 16 GB memory is still free..
Again, while this ability would be no hardship, I don’t see myself using it much.
Perhaps I don’t know what I’m missing, but I’ve never warmed to Widgets in OS X, and don’t miss them in the iOS.
Custom Skins And Icon Themes
I’m more of a form follows function guy, and almost never bother with custom appearance options (save for changing my Desktop picture once in a while) even when they’re supported. I’m mostly content to live with the defaults in this context.
iOS 7 Features Substitutions
First and foremost would be real multitasking, including the ability to opt out of full-screen mode (which I dislike and virtually never use in OS X) and to display multiple open windows simultaneously.
User Level File Directory Access
In practical, terms, one task this would facilitate would be uploading image files from the iDevice to Web posting CGIs like WordPress. I would also prefer that documents be untethered from the apps that created them.
Cross-application file compatibility is partly facilitated for my purposes by means of using plain text as my default text file format and using the Plain Text app Dropbox linking respectively for most file creation and archiving, and as a via media among different apps, but it falls far short of the file flexibility I would prefer.
Full Comprehensive And Configurable Find File And Spotlight Search
This, of course, relates to directory access, and it’s something I miss a lot on the iPad. The excellent Plain Text editor app has a decent search engine for .txt files linked to it from Dropbox, but really powerful (ie: indexed) find and search support is a major shortcoming of iOS devices as serious productivity tools.
No Need For .txt Suffixes On Filenames
Still on the files management and access file, this one would eliminate a major hassle if it were possible for all iOS text apps to be able to open and save text files with suffix-less names. The Nebulous Notes text editor (available in free ad-supported and paid versions) can already do this (vis Dropbox), so evidently there’s no insurmountable impediment to other iOS text apps doing the same.
Bluetooth Mouse Driver Support
Touchscreens have their virtues, especially on mobile devices, but touch-based text selection and cursor positioning are maddeningly imprecise and inefficient even for doing light-duty production work. Microsoft’ Surface tablets support external mouse input. The iOS, at least its iPad version, should too.
So there’s my seven-point iOS 7 wishlist. Frankly, I would be delighted and surprised if even a quarter of these features (mine or Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’s) were to actually show up in the final version of iOS 7. One can always hope, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not a very lively hope.
How about you? What currently missing features would you like to see in Apple’s mobile OS?