Today is Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. This conference is geared towards the developers who make apps for the iOS and MacOS platforms but Apple does provide a live stream for the public, which over the years, has grown greatly in popularity. This conference will reveal the new operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and the Mac. Today, I just wanted to outline some features that I hope they reveal for iOS. Most of the items below will be geared towards the iPad. I’ve been using the iPad as a computer replacement about 50-60% of the time with the remaining time on my iMac
- Better app switching – When Apple introduced split view on the iPad it helped getting things done on the iPad greatly. You were now able to place two apps side-by-side. Generally, I use this as reference, one app is my writing environment and the other is a document, website, or another app that I am referring to. The problem is switching the app on the right side. When you try to switch to another app there is just an endless list of app icons with a confusing order. The app that I want to use seems to never be right there. I end up scrolling and scrolling then missing it. What I actually end up usually doing it using CMD-SPACE to search for the app > open > close > open split view app picker > open app again. This might be the most clunky workflow ever but its better than cycling through the endless mess that is the app picker. I don’t know what they should do but really anything is better than what they have now.
- Make a modern Mail app – every year I hope that the Mail app will improve and every year, despite their “excitement” it is still light years behind every other mail app that comes out. I try to use many of the default apps on iOS because it provides simplicity, the workflows are more deeply embedded in the operating system, and they just always tend to work better than a combination of many third-party apps. But seriously, the mail app is just terrible. At the very least add a share sheet option to email messages. This will allow sending to your task manager, Evernote, create a PDF, add a reminder, send to Notes, and more. It is maddening that this is not an option. Some other features that I would like to see added are some type of smart email folders, send later, and better integration with Gmail (that’s a long shot but I can still wish!) One feature I do like about the Mail app is the granularity of custom email notifications. I have email notifications turned off but for one person in my life who primarily communicates through email I have their notifications turned on plus there is an easy way to turn on a custom notification for a certain email thread. But the Mail app needs some massive improvement and I hope they deliver later today.
- File Management – one of the biggest hangups on the iPad is dealing with multiple files either in one app or between multiple. Across the board there is not a good way to deal with multiple files, whether it be getting them in an email, sending to another app, or sharing with others. Additionally, when dealing with multiple apps getting one file to another app (without cloud syncing) is just a pain. Implementing drag and drop between apps would be a huge win. You could also drag text, images, files, URLS, and more from one app to another. This would be a huge win for the iPad. I know that Apple wants to make file management simple but I think they have sided with too much simplicity, especially when they are touting the iPad as the future of computing. There really needs to be better file management on the iPad. I don’t necessarily want a one-to-one copy of how the Mac works but rethink it for the iPad.
- Photos for family and close friends – I would really like to see better photo management and sharing with those closest to you. My wife and I have a shared iCloud album, which works well but that doesn’t provide a good solution for all situations. Additionally, we are constantly sharing via AirDrop, which means that both are phones have to be open at the same time plus a good connection between them. For example, recently we were at a wedding and I took several pictures that I wanted her to have but I had to wait until we were both done with everything to get those to her. It’d be great if I could get the originals to her in a more simple way.
- Continued improvement of portrait mode – I absolutely love portrait mode. It creates stunning photos on the iPhone that is hard to believe that they were taken on the iPhone. Outdoors, it works great, except with certain things in the background such as water from a lake or stream. I would love to see them improve it for lower light situations. Even in a well lit room the photo comes out a little grainy. Additionally, I would like to see improvements for depth effect with inanimate objects.
Well, there is more that I’d like to see at the keynote today but this is just a sample of some major features that I would like to see reworked. Using my iPad everyday for work, school, and personal activities has really given me an appreciate for the device but there are just some key sticking points that get me every time. I think they will really focus on the iPad for work and I am excited to see what they will come up with this afternoon.
If you haven’t seen it yet then you should check out Federico Vitticci’s iOS 11 concept video with some more ideas.