Apple unveiled iOS 8, the hotly anticipated next generation mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch earlier this week.
Apple showcased some of the major new features such as Interactive Notifications, a smarter QuickType keyboard, improvements for Messages and Siri, support for third-party keyboards, and lots more.
In addition to the features showcased at the event, we’ve also discovered tons of new features and changes that Apple didn’t have time to showcase at the event. So based on the information we’ve so far, here’s a look at the features in our wish-list that didn’t make it to iOS 8.
1. Better Control Center
Currently, Control Center gives you quick access to 5 system toggles such as AirPlane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Orientation Lock. It also gives you quick access to turn on the LED flash, which turns your iPhone into a flashlight. It is great to be able to access these features from anywhere in iOS without leaving the app you’re currently using. It also has 3 more quick launch shortcuts for the Stop Watch, Calculator and Camera apps.
Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t made any improvements to the Control Center in iOS 8 so far. Apple could make it a lot more useful and user-friendly by giving us the ability to customize and extend its functionality. For example: If you use Personal Hotspot and VPN quite often, then you should be able to access toggles for Personal Hotspot and VPN from Control Center. The same applies for quick launch app shortcuts. If you hardly use the Calculator, it would be nice to be able to launch some of the frequently used apps such as Safari, Tweetbot, Reeder from the Control Center instead.
The good news is that developer Hamza Sood discovered that iOS 8 has hidden options to add, remove or reorder toggles in Control Center, and if the number of items exceeds the screen width, the horizontal list of toggles/shortcuts becomes scrollable. It looks like Apple is internally testing the feature, so it is possible that Apple will enable the feature when iOS 8 is released later this fall.
2. Split-Screen Multitasking
The iPad is often ridiculed for its lack of pro features. We’re hoping that Apple will add split-screen multitasking feature for the iPad in iOS 8 that would allow users to run two apps simultaneously on the iPad. But Apple didn’t announce it at the WWDC.
However, rumors have indicated that Apple is working on the feature, and it wasn’t ready to be demoed at the event. So it could also make it to the final list of new iOS 8 features.
3. Quick Compose
Quick Reply and Quick Compose are one of the reasons users jailbreak their iOS device.
iOS 8 includes the Quick Reply feature that gives you the ability to take action on texts, email, calendar invitations, reminders, and even messages from apps like Facebook, Twitter etc. right from their notification banners, without leaving the app you’re in. However, iOS 8 doesn’t include the Quick Compose feature offered by jailbreak tweaks like biteSMS, auki etc, which allows you to send a text message without leaving the app you’re in.
4. Improved Maps
Apple’s brave move to replace Google maps with its own Maps app in iOS 6 backfired miserably and forced the company to issue an apology to its customers. However, Apple hasn’t rolled out any major improvements for its Maps app, and surprisingly did not make any Maps related announcements at the WWDC.
In the meantime, Google has taken the lead by launching its own Maps app for the iPhone. So Apple needs to make some major improvements to the Maps app if it wants users to use it as the default app.
Here are some of the improvements and new features we wanted to see in the Maps app:
- Public transit directions
- Improved point of interest database
- Reliable turn-by-turn directions
- Dynamic re-routing – If iOS identifies an incident in our route, it will give us an early warning with an option to select a faster route.
- Street view-like feature
- Offline maps – the Maps app needs an internet connection. Offline maps would allow you to use the Maps app in places such as a basement car park or in an area where there is poor or no network coverage.
- In-door maps
- Speed alerts – ability to enable voice alerts when you exceed the speed limits.
It was widely speculated that iOS 8 will include a number of improvements to the Maps app such as improved points-of-interest data, public transit directions in select cities, augmented reality and indoor mapping, but Apple didn’t announce any of these improvements. It is possible that the changes were not ready to be showcased at the event, and may be included when iOS 8 is released to the public.
5. Change Default Apps
While it seemed unlikely, we wanted the ability to change the default app. For example: We should be able to make Tweetbot – the default Twitter client, or Chrome as the default web browser. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do it in iOS 8 as well.
6. Download Files in Safari
Prior to iOS 8, iCloud was like a black box. Apple has finally addressed this limitation in iOS 8 with the all-new iCloud Drive, a major update for its cloud based storage system. It allows users to upload, access or edit any type of files in iCloud on their Mac or iOS device.
Mobile Safari is full-featured browser, and compares quite favorably to its desktop sibling. But it has one major limitation, you still can’t use it to download any type of file like the desktop version. You can download and view PDF files, and use the “Open with” feature to open the pdf file in third-party apps like Good Reader. But you cannot save it to read it later. Unfortunately, iOS 8 still won’t allow you to download files using mobile Safari.
One of the limitations was the lack of a shared storage area to download files. Apple has addressed this limitation with the iCloud Drive, so it is disappointing that Apple didn’t add the functionality to download and save files.
Other features that we wanted in iOS 8:
- While you get delivery reports for iMessages if the recipient has enabled it at his or her end, you don’t get a delivery report for messages sent to non-iOS mobile phones. This feature has been available on mobile phones much before the iPhone was launched, so it has been strange that Apple hasn’t included it in iOS. Unfortunately, iOS 8 does not include the feature.
- Predictive text while using iPhone’s virtual keyboard is very helpful but we need the ability to add words to the iPhone dictionary so that we can teach the iPhone to swear and stop it from trying to auto correct them.
- Currently, there’s no Apple sanctioned way to export all the data that you have in iCloud. Google has Google Takeout, Facebook and Twitter have their own ways to request an archive of your data, but there’s no similar option for iCloud.
I must admit that I was quite pessimistic about iOS 8, and thought Apple is going to focus on OS X Yosemite this year, but I was pleasantly surprised by the new features and improvements in iOS 8. It includes quite a few features from our wish list such as Interactive Notifications, Widgets, support for third-party keyboards, apps extensions, iCloud Drive, Siri features such as Hey Siri, displays real-time how your words are transcribed, song recognition etc.
So even though the features mentioned above haven’t been included yet, I am still super excited about iOS 8. Let me know which feature you were hoping would be included in iOS 8, and disappointed it wasn’t included.