Next month on June 7, Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to prepare developers for upcoming software and product updates. This is also the time when Apple generally announces the next versions of iOS and iPadOS.
Last year’s updates introduced a revamped Home screen with all new widgets and an App Library. We also got improved call notifications, new iMessage features, App Clips, and more. Every major upgrade to iOS adds new features and improvements, but they’re not always the things we’re hoping for. Some features are part of the evolutionary timeline of mobile devices; in other words: they’re improvements we expect.
Other changes reimagine how we use our devices and give us the ability to do things that we didn’t even consider!
These revolutionary changes can redefine the iPhone and iPad experience and push the envelope of what’s possible. Past revolutionary updates include the introduction of the App Store, Siri, reimagined security features (such as the utilization of the Secure Enclave), iMessage, FaceTime, and more.
It’s never easy predicting what Apple will release next. Seemingly basic features and improvements sometimes don’t make the cut. It wasn’t until iPhone OS 3 that we got copy and paste, and we just barely got an update that stopped incoming calls from taking up the whole screen. But easy or not, it’s never stopped us from dreaming. Continue reading to browse 15 things we hope Apple gives us with iOS 15!
An Apple 'Car' App
Apple introduced Car Keys in Wallet with iOS 14, and CarPlay has been a staple since its debut. But, if Apple is really serious about integrating our car experience with iOS, it needs to add a new Car app.
Apple’s Home app lets us control smart accessories such as lights, thermostats, blinds, and more. With a Car app, we could get this experience outside the home.
Many car companies offer their own apps for controlling their vehicles, and frankly, they suck. Apple could introduce an app of their own that integrates with a variety of cars, allowing you to remote start or lock your vehicle from anywhere, using the app or Siri.
An Always-On Display
One of the great things about an OLED display, is that each individual pixel can be turned on or off, and even emit a different level of brightness than the others. This helps create stunning contrasts and dazzling bursts of light as needed, truly bringing content to life. But another great side effect of this is battery conservation.
If you’re only using a handful of pixels, you’re using less power. Hypothetically speaking, Apple could upgrade iOS to allow OLED devices to display information, such as the clock, at all times without draining the battery too quickly.
They could do this by having text or simple graphics displayed at a low brightness in a small portion of the display. In addition to the time, iOS could display the weather, upcoming appointments, and your most important notifications without you ever having to tap your display.
New Alert Tones, Ringtones and Store
Is it just me, or are the choices of included alert sounds getting a bit stale? I think it’s time for a refresh. But rather than just adding a bunch of new tones (although this is welcome), why not revamp the entire tone store experience?
Right now, purchasing tones is done through the iTunes Store (which really needs to go, more on that in a bit). It might be better to make an entirely new tone store that shows up when you go to set a ringtone or alert tone. This could be similar to the Shortcuts Gallery or the App Store. There could be featured collections—including Apple’s very own classics—as well as other categories such as Disney, Star Trek, or Animal Sounds (to name a few).
Having top charts for free and paid tones would be nice, too. Apple could take it one step further for Apple Music subscribers, allowing us to select a portion of a song to use as our ringtone.
Offline, On-Device, More Intelligent Siri
Siri's great! When it works. When Siri was introduced, it was a godsend for everyone who wanted better voice controls. But, Siri did something that other voice control platforms didn't before; it got people talking (pun intended) about how useful voice assistants could actually be. Over the years, Apple had everyone speaking to (and sometimes yelling at) their phones. It wasn't long until other companies introduced their own virtual assistants and Siri was here to stay. Fast forward today, and it's easy to be disappointed in Siri. It's kind of like a full self-driving Tesla: the best is (still) around the corner. It seems like every corner we turn, there's another corner waiting for us.
Siri is constantly getting voice upgrades, a few new abilities, and upgraded contextual understanding, but these improvements come too slowly to keep up with consumer needs. Siri still searches the web too much instead of answering basic questions, and always requires an internet connection, which means even voice control from over a decade ago could be more reliable. In fact, Apple's built-in voice control (accessibility feature) can be used offline, so why can't Siri? Here are some of the improvements we want to see Apple make to its famous virtual assistant:
- On-device processing would allow Siri to be able to provide calendar information, create reminders, and control media (amongst other things) without an internet connection.
- Improved contextual understanding so we aren’t constantly having to repeat ourselves.
- A larger Siri-knowledge database so that Siri can answer questions concisely instead of just returning a web search.
- The ability to get to know us better, such as our food and movie preferences, basic likes (favorite color, for one), and the way we speak. Having a better understanding of our personality would help Siri be more in tune with what we need.
This is something we’ve wanted for a while. Apple has made huge improvements with its notifications, but there is still a lot of work to be done. For example, Siri Shortcuts/Suggestions for DND (Do Not Disturb) would be welcome. This could include a pop-up when arriving at the movie theater that asks if you want to use DND or the ability to customize what notifications come through when using different apps (such as playing a game). Setting a systemwide status is one way to achieve this.
For example, right now iOS has a Bedtime setting that dims the display and mutes notifications; but when you wake up, the weather and other information about your day is displayed. Apple could apply other statuses such as working, gaming, on vacation, and more that could be customized to your liking. These statuses could affect how your phone sends notifications and could even be helpful in iMessage.
Currently, iMessage can send an automated message while you’re driving; it would be pretty cool if it could send other messages when using a particular status or even show your current status to approved contacts.
Two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA) is when a service uses two or more methods to verify who you are when you sign in. For example, in addition to your password, you may also receive a text message with a code you must provide. iOS already does a great job at delivering 2FA codes from text messages, but it could take this further by also grabbing codes from other apps (including Mail) and even integrating with third-party authentication apps (such as Authy or DUO). 2FA is a great way to help keep user data private and secure, and the easier it is to use, the more likely it is that users will enable it.
Status Notifications via Apple Watch
Currently, when you charge your Apple Watch, your iPhone notifies you when it's finished charging, but what if the reverse were also true? Getting a tap on your wrist to let you know your iPhone is ready to go could be really helpful to those of us that need our phones at maximum battery to make it through the next part of the day. Of course, why stop at the battery? Here are a few different things our Apple Watches could notify us of regarding our iPhones:
- When your iPhone is charged.
- When you leave your phone behind (when we’re away from home, our watches could let us know that we left our phone behind at the gym, on our desk, or at the grocery store checkout counter.)
- When your phone is being used and you don’t have it on your person; for example, if someone was trying to unlock your iPhone when you’re not next to it.
Apple has made it easy to change notification settings right from the Notification Center, but it’s not enough. Everything sends notifications now, and not all notifications are useful. Sometimes it’s hard to find the notifications that matter in a sea of endless junk. Being able to set permissions for apps on what notifications they can send would be one way to solve this. In addition to the normal notifications settings, Apple could add categories that can be turned on or off for each app.
These could include:
- Marketing and deals
Having the ability to specify which notifications we can receive could cut down on junk notifications.
Give iTunes the Boot
For years, iTunes has been the program/store that’s done it all, from music to TV, to movies, to podcasts, to iPod games, to apps, to books, to data management, contacts, calendars, and more. If you’re like me, you can remember a time when iTunes was the central hub for all your “iDevices.”
But over time, many of its services have been moved to other apps or are being accomplished by other means. It’s time to give iTunes a proper burial.
As of now, books are purchased in the Books app, and podcasts are managed in the Podcasts app. Apps can be bought or downloaded in the App Store. Music, movies, and shows can be managed in the Music and TV apps. It’s time to kill iTunes and let movies and music be purchased in their corresponding apps.
As mentioned earlier, let tones be purchased directly from the Sounds settings (I wonder if we could also have a wallpaper store 🤔). Apple already does this with every app, including third-party apps. Purchases and downloads are completed through the respective app; so it doesn’t make sense to keep iTunes on at this point.
Autocorrect is useful until it isn’t. Ever type something and hit send, only to have to type a correction and hit send again? Of course you have; we all have. Sometimes we do it multiple times. Rather than resending a corrected message with an asterisk, wouldn’t it be better if we could just edit our iMessage? Just saying…
Being able to add real widgets to the Home screen is fantastic, if only Apple would let us select a different wallpaper for each page so we could truly customize each space to our liking. If only…
Get Out of the Way Siri
In iOS 14, Siri stopped taking up the entire screen, but it's still in the way. Even though Siri only takes up a small part of the display now, you still can’t actually use the display without dismissing Siri. A welcome change in iOS 15 would be the ability to continue to use your device while simultaneously using Siri.
Before iOS 14, widgets were small pop-ups you’d get when you performed a long press on a supported app. One nice thing is they were interactive. For example, you could have a calculator app you could use without opening the app. You can still use these old “widgets” by swiping all the way to the left of the Home screen, but you can’t use them on the Home screen itself. It would be awesome if we could interact with Home screen widgets, rather than having them open the entire app whenever you touch them.
Split View and True Multitasking
This is unlikely, but I’d like to see some form of Split View on iPhone, at least on the Max models. I’d also like to see draggable app windows on iPad. Apple is really making the push for the iPad to be your next “computer,” but without some form of true multitasking, that’s hard to do.
Another welcome improvement would be background multitasking, currently closing out of an app halts many of its features. Could this have a large impact on battery life? Yes. But it doesn’t matter how much battery you have if you can’t use your phone in the way you want to use it.
And So Much More
There are too many things to choose from – scheduled reminders showing up in the Calendar app, better Mail syncing, more Shortcuts functionality; the list goes on and on. What do you want in iOS 15? Let us know in the comments and on social media.