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It’s always fun when Apple updates its software. We usually first hear about the updates on the gossip websites and then get the full scoop from Apple at WWDC. There are always a lot of new features, and some — but rarely all — are very noteworthy and exciting.
There’s usually a gap of several months from when we’re enticed, to the moment when we actually get to see it on our devices. During that gap, things get interesting. Apple releases developer beta and public beta versions of the software; developer beta for people actually programming for the new OS, and public beta for the people who truly can’t wait and are willing to risk a complete system meltdown just for the chance to try it early.
Each time a new version is released, people search deep in the code to find changes and references to features not yet announced or even new hardware. It’s a treasure trove of sorts, and it’s here where we get some of the juiciest rumors.
iOS 10 is no different. We heard about how great it would be and salivated for months. Something about going from 9 to 10 makes us believe we’re in for something extra special, as anyone who remembers the early days of OS X will tell you. And now that it’s here, it’s great. Extra special in many ways, but it could certainly be better.
So let’s take a look at 10 things iOS 10 still needs, in no particular order.
1. Dark Mode
Bright white light at night causes eyestrain, something that no one can say they enjoy. That’s why iOS 10 needed dark mode. Dark mode is one of the things that appeared in the beta codes early on, so everyone just assumed it was a matter of time before it became reality.
I still believe that it’s coming and I for one can’t wait. Apple has dropped the ball lately where it comes to design, and that’s a reason I think we’ll see it. If you look at different parts of iOS, you’ll already notice that there’s no rhyme or reason to the color scheme. The clock’s app screens are black and orange and white, while Messages and Pages are white without an option to switch.
To see a good example of dark mode in action, go to the Twitter app and turn it on in the settings. I can’t imagine going back to the non-dark mode (day mode?) of Twitter.
2. Something besides the app drawer at the bottom of the screen
They are supposed to be the 4 apps (or fewer) that are always there, and therefore easy to get to no matter how many times you swipe left or right through your home screens. They do that just fine, and they’ve done it for years. But it takes up so much room. I propose some kind of hidden feature that could work via Force Touch and show up with a press, otherwise the space can be devoted to something else. Part of this could be that I’m bored with the same design that has existed for nearly 10 years, but I still believe there’s a better use of this valuable real estate.
3. A better email app
I’m pretty sure Apple has completely given up on email and has turned its attention to Messaging. I’m all for that because I have always hated email, but since it has to survive how about something that’s not so basic?
4. A better contacts app
Our contact list is sacred, and many of us are meticulous about updating it. Yet the one on our iPhone is either accessed as an afterthought in the Phone app or within the usually hidden Contacts app. I’m pretty sure this app has never been full redesigned. We need something automated that picks up on who we chat with in Messages. It should be visually appealing — perhaps photos of you and your contacts?
5. Customizable control center
This is the helpful shortcut panel you get when you swipe up, everything from airplane mode and Bluetooth toggles to flashlight and calculator. I would say I use the control center very sparingly, usually only to turn on the flashlight and to toggle airplane mode when I fly. I would love to use it more and for more things. It makes no sense to me how in 2016 this thing isn’t customizable. Why shouldn’t I be able to put any shortcut in here?
6. A combined (and amazing) FaceTime and Messages experience
FaceTime is an ugly app that’s disjointed and mostly removed from Messages. They should be combined and a cornerstone of the iOS where we’re not only able to reach out to someone via video if we wish but are encouraged? I actually think I’d FaceTime more if it was brought to the forefront.
7. A proudly-presented Tips app
There are so many new features that it’s easy to get confused. While Apple’s website does a fine job of explaining all of the features, there should be an easy way to get an instant screen explaining them. Did you know there’s a pre-installed app called Tips that does something close to this? I didn’t think so. It’s just lost the way it’s set up now. Perhaps this is better served as a question mark in the Control Center.
8. iCloud continuity
iCloud is under the hood for a good reason: it’s supposed to just work by backing stuff up and putting all the photos you have on one device on all your other devices. But people don’t understand what they can’t see, so some hub for iCloud would be most helpful. For example, we finally have an app for iCloud Drive, which acts like Google Drive or Dropbox but it’s separated from every other iCloud function and easily lost. Back in the Steve Jobs day, I’d never have to write something like this; it just worked. Don’t get me wrong because iCloud has greatly improved over its lifetime, but it seems as though there’s still so much potential.
9. An app gallery
Folders are helpful, but there’s so much unexplored here. You can organize apps in iTunes and sync to see them on your screens, but that never worked for me. There should be a simple way to organize apps in an app interface vs. app by app. If you look at the Apple Watch face gallery in the Watch app you’ll see exactly what I mean. Here, you create a Watch face either from scratch or a suggestion and the minute you are done it appears on the Watch. It’s simple, elegant, beautiful and quintessentially Apple. Now moving apps around is a chore and it really shouldn’t be that way.
10. A baked-in social network
Apple tries so hard to be social and utilize social media in a meaningful way, but truth is it’s just terrible at it. I’ve always said I’d love to go to Apple and show them how it’s done. People love to talk about tech and a way where iPhone users can connect from inside the OS seems like a no-brainer. It’s where people can exchange tips and tricks, as well as discover new music or features. It could be Siri-powered too and be built out in different ways depending on the app. Who knows? Maybe this is what Apple could do with Twitter if it were to buy it.
What have I missed? What else would you like to see in a future iOS update?
Tweet me at @scottkleinberg and @iDropNews