iOS is officially 10 years old. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade and in so many ways, iOS has managed to stay the same. Yes, there are power user features but they’re usually hidden behind layers of simplicity. Here at iPhoneHacks we’re a bunch of geeks and power users, so our wishlist is of course filled with power user features we’d like to see in iOS 11.
And I think this is the right time for Apple to embrace the productivity angle and run with it, especially on the iPad. I think after 10 years, iOS is mature and stable. And I think so is the audience. People who have been using iOS for years want more. Either more freedom, reliability or power. Here’s our wishlist for iOS 11.
1. Siri Becomes Better At Voice Recognition
The voice wars are heating up and Siri isn’t exactly leading the pack. While Siri has been consistently getting better, it’s still not great at always catching what you’re trying to say, and coming back with an answer. Some of it is because Siri depends on Bing which just isn’t as powerful as Google search. But Siri can stand to get better at picking up what you say, especially now that we have multiple iOS devices which support Hey Siri functionality. Siri should be smart to figure out which device to use to listen to your request.
While we’re at it, the ability to text to Siri would also be great appreciated, Apple. I mean, even Google Assistant on the iPhone does that.
2. Open Up SiriKit
Last year’s WWDC brought us SiriKit. This was Apple’s own way of letting developers play with Siri. If you don’t remember, SiriKit let 6 types of apps (like Payments, Messaging and so on) access Siri but in this very limited, Apple-like way. Basically, Apple would do all the heavy lifting of understanding and interpreting the voice. All developers had to do was adapt their apps to include a hot word for their app and configure the functionality that would be supported. Which again, was quite limited.
This year, I hope Apple opens this playground wider so that more developers can play with the new functionality. Even if Apple wants to continue with this category style expansion for Siri support, I would like to see Apple support media apps like music players and podcast apps. Also, the ability to use task managers with your voice would be helpful.
3. Built-In Automation Tools
Apple acquired the iOS automation app Workflow couple of weeks back. While the app is still being updated, we hope that Apple will start integrating parts of the app directly into the OS. Having an official, Apple sanctioned way to automate tasks between different apps would certainly be helpful.
Right now, apps like Workflow essentially use URLs to open apps and do tasks. But they only work if the apps specially add support for them. If Apple takes this up and opens up their own apps (like Photos and Calendar) for automation workflows, it would help establish a way for third-party apps to do the same.
Read More: iOS 11 Feature Wishlist: OS Level Automation
4. iPad Multitasking Overhaul
One of the biggest rumours for WWDC 2016 was that iPad was finally going to get some love and Apple would continue improving the iPad specific productivity features that were introduced in iOS 9. In the past two years, we’ve seen two iPads called “Pro” but we haven’t seen a real productivity overhaul for the iPad. We hope that this is the year of iPad productivity at WWDC.
I think one of the things Apple has to do is improve the multi-tasking system in iOS. It is very much version 1.0. It is problematic for both beginners and power users.
The system for opening multiple apps isn’t obvious enough. And the more you use Split View the more walls you hit. First of all, even though two apps are split 50-50, they’re not give the same prominence in the system. The app on the left is always treated as the “main” app and the one on the right is the “other” one. There’s also no easy way to swap them.
The process of switching apps from the Split View is also a pain and leads to a lot of unnecessary scrolling. These problems are fixable. It’s just that Apple hasn’t made it a priority.
Federico Viticci’s iOS 11 concept offers possible solutions for all these problems. I especially like how it’s easy to switch apps in Split View – from favorite apps, recent apps or by searching).
Multitasking aside, Apple can still do a lot to improve the experience on the iPad. A system-wide drag and drop feature that lets users freely drag pieces of content from one open app to another would go a long way. I think Apple should also open up their custom 3-pane UI for te big iPad Pro (which they have in apps like Mail and Notes).
Viticci’s concept also talks about something called My Shelf. A place to temporarily put things – text, images, files and so on, that you can then easily retrieve later, in another app. And the more I think about it, the more I like the concept. For me personally, I need to manage links, text and images to complete an article and if there was a Shelf where I could drop images and links till I’m ready with the article, that would surely help me transition to working on the iPad (something that’s way too hard right now).
5. Customizable Control Center
This will never stop being on our wishlist. I personally have been wishing for this since we first saw Control Center and looks like it’s the same case with Gautam. It just seems like such an obvious thing to do. Let us customize the toggles and switches Apple! At least let us remove the huge Night Shift toggle? Pretty please?
6. Set Default Apps
This is another oldie but a goodie. And it would be especially useful in countries in Asia where Apple’s default apps usually don’t do the trick. It would be great if Maps link directly opened in Google Maps. Or the default browser could be switched to something like Opera Mini. If I could switch the Phone app to Truecaller that gives me live caller-ID, that would be really useful.
As Apple tries to expand to new Asian territories, features that give users the option to switch to better, localized alternatives might be a good thing.
7. Notification System Overhaul
When it comes to notifications, I think Apple is way behind Android. Apple sorts notification reverse chronologically and calls it a day. There’s no grouping based on apps, or importance. Plus, if you unlock your notifications and miss them on the Lock screen, you literally have to go looking for them, either as app badges or in Notification Center.
8. Design Updates
I don’t think we’re going to see an iOS 7 level redesign again but I do think it’s time for iOS to update its design language to better align with the Plus sized iPhones. There’s been a design trend recently that lets go of the top navigation bar and instead uses swipeable cards, or a bottom heavy interface elements.
We’ve already seen Apple do this in iOS 10 updates to the Music app and Maps app. Music app has a very bottom-heavy interface and Maps app is filled with swipeable cards that show up at the bottom of the screen.
Plus, Apple themselves have a rounded drawer kind of UI that swipes above everything else in the iMessage App Store. If Apple creates APIs or adds these UI elements to their Human Interface Guidelines, we very well might see third-party apps take this up. Apps like Overcast are already using the swipable cards.
9. iCloud Drive Overhaul
As Apple tries to improve their services revenue, I think we’ll see Apple push users to upgrade their iCloud storage plans. One way Apple can do this is to overhaul the iCloud Drive app on iPhone and iPad and position it as a file system for iOS. I’m not saying it needs to be Finder for iOS but just a place where it’s easy to store files and use the said files in multiple apps without generating duplicates would be a big help.
For me personally, this is a big hangup on the iPad – the non-existent file system. Apple needs to understand that a huge number of users have to rely on files to get their work done. And there has to be a way for people to freely and reliably move files around from folders and apps.
10. Dark Mode
And while we’re talking about apps, we’re still hopeful about the rumored dark mode, even if it’s just for specific Apple apps like Settings, Mail, Notes and so on.
What’s On Your Wishlist?
What do you think Apple should implement in iOS 11? Share with us in the comments below.