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What’s on your iOS 7 features wishlist?

Sections: Features, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Opinions and Editorials, Originals

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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.

ios7iPhone

iOS 7 Features Points of Agreement

Multi-User Accounts

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.

ios7safari

iOS 7 Features Points of Disagreement

Turbo-boost WebKit

Kingsley–Hughes notes that native Apple apps have access to the Nitro JavaScript engine, which is much faster than the engine third-party apps that use, giving Apple’s apps an advantage over the competition. I’ll go along with this one, but it’s not a major priority for me.

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..

Renaming/Reassigning Icons

Again, while this ability would be no hardship, I don’t see myself using it much.

Widgets

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

Multitasking

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?

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3 Comments

  1. #1 feature ios 7 needs is Quick reply for text message app

    Keith
  2. Change default browser and deleting junk default apps are the only ones I think are needed. The rest are crap.
    I love the default Safari browser, but I understand that others would like to use Chrome or others.
    Yes, I have lots of space on both my iPhone and iPad. Lack of space isn’t the reason I want to get rid of apps like Voice Memos or Notes. I don’t use them AT ALL, and simply don’t like them cluttering up my screens. I generally don’t like the default Weather app either but the new iOS 7 Weather app looks like it might be cool. There are thousands of alternative Weather apps that would be great to completely replace the default Weather app.

    Brendan
  3. Also add – the ability to “delete all emails” like Blackberrys and Androids have (while maintaining emails on the server).

    Karen Thomas