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Saturday, May 14, 2011

My iOS 5 Wishlist

I discussed my issues with iPad earlier, around five months ago. Since then some of the flaws mentioned have been fixed in current revision of the device, iPad 2. Most notably there should be now enough hardware for cool Augmented Reality applications to appear. They also managed to trim the weight and size of the device a bit.

I don't own an iPad 2 yet as I'm more than happy with the first version. In my mind it was more of an evolutionary update rather than revolutionary one. Perhaps iPad 3 will manage to make a bigger impact, especially if it introduces a Retina display.

In this post I'll present my wishlist for iOS 5 due later this year. It is best known as the operating system of iPhone, iPad and co. I've mentioned some of the gripes in my earlier posts discussing iPad but recapping them cannot hurt.

App Store - Still a Sore

Since my last rant things have improved a bit. They made it possible to filter applications while searching for them. In addition already purchased items show their state correctly now. Previously it was confusing to re-install apps as they were shown as if you hadn't bought them yet.

I still find the way App Store categorization works arbitrary. There are some predefined categories but that seems to be about it. I would love to see more specific categories.

Consider painting programs for instance. Do they belong to entertainment, productivity or perhaps to some other existing category? Why not to just have "art" category and perhaps a few subcategories inside that?

I know it can be tough to categorize things. Still I feel this is something Apple should at least try to solve somehow. Given the amount of apps available in the store I find this somewhat crucial issue to sort out. It's in their best interest to make it easier for the users to find apps.

I would also love to have some kind of way to trial apps. Some apps provide special Lite versions that give some idea of what the actual app looks like. I think it would be beneficial to have something like time based trials on full apps available. You'll get a fairly good idea of the app within a ten minute trial or so.

Notifications - In Your Face

iOS notifications are highly annoying. When they appear they are literally in your face. Twitter mentions provide a perfect example of this. Fortunately it is possible to disable them if needed. Still it's quite nasty.

I would much rather have something less intrusive available. Instead of hogging the whole screen the notifications should peek from top of the screen or so. I would also love to be able to see some kind of history information.

Widgets - Where Art Thou?

iOS is sorely lacking in the widget department. Widgets provide a great way to access some casual functionality. They are perfect for checking weather, current time and such states. Something like a calculator provides a great example of a simple and useful widget.

Most notably widgets share a common space so you can have many of them visible at the given time. This is quite a demarcation from the default UI idea used by iOS (single app takes whole screen).

I think Apple should add something like OS X Dashboard to the system. It would be a perfect fit. I am going to be really surprised if they don't add something like this to the system given it's a fairly standard feature elsewhere.

Syncing - Wires are for Noobs

It's often highly inconvenient to sync and update your iDevice as you have to fiddle with wires and get the device connected to your desktop. It's about time they made this process entirely wireless.

In a way Apple managed to improve the situation already by implementing Home Sharing. It allows you to stream data from your desktop to your iDevice. Highly useful!

Get Rid of the Home Button, Please

Even though Home button is kind of a nice concept, it really doesn't mesh well with the fact that you can rotate iPad. I would rather get rid of the physical button and replace it with a touchable bevel and some kind of gesture that you always perform below the bottom part of the display.

Something like this could open way for new kind of user interface innovations. Who knows what neato things you could implement with a system like that? :)


Even though I consider iOS a really nice system it still has some points that stick out. It is going to be really interesting to see which of these issues Apple will resolve and on what timeline. I am going to be surprised if Apple doesn't resolve at least the notification issue. Widgets would be a nice bonus as well.