It’s almost a month since we got our first taste of iOS 4. But with Android 3.0 already being talked up, we’re starting to weigh up what we want to see from iOS 5. There’s plenty that Cupertino needs to get working on. So here’s our pick of the top 10 features we want to see from Apple’s next smartphone software effort.
1 WiFi hotspot
The iPhone’s tethering capabilities have always been the source of consternation. Pricey where other phones offer WiFi sharing for nothing, it’s something that iOS 5 could really play on. With Android 2.2 FroYo already offering MiFi-style skills, Apple could easily make this a cornerstone of iOS 5 and, like FaceTime, claim it was first to the punch.
2 Message flagging
Let’s be honest. The iPhone’s email system is a bit average for anyone who wants to do anything more than send and receive missives. iOS 5 should take note from the iPad’s pop-out menus and also bring proper message flagging, more intuitive mailbox organisation and an easier way to mark messages differently. This’ll be a key factor if Apple wants to rein in BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM).
3 A better notification system
Notifications on the iPhone are annoying. Pop up messages stop the flow of what you’re doing and you can’t hang up a call until you’ve dismissed any notifications that have come through while you’re having a natter. iOS 5 needs to rethink this system and take its lead from Android’s notification bar, already a winning feature in our book.
4 More multi-tasking APIs
Apple needs to push third parties to update their apps to properly support multi-tasking. iOS 4 is great for this, but it’s still some way short of being the real deal, a la webOS. Twitter and RSS are both apps which still don’t properly update in the background. Apple’s stringent rules need to apply here as multi-tasking really is a big deal for most power users.
5 Cutting the cord with iTunes
Steve Jobs has intimated that over-the-air iTunes syncing is in the offing, but it really can’t come soon enough. Having to plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC to snag music and movies is infuriating. You should be able to remove files and music easier on your phone rather than using the jukebox software. The iPhone supports such a range of media that using such a system is becoming vastly outdated.
6 Add down-swipe and up-swipe shortcuts
Swiping right and left on the iPhone already offers the chance to either see more apps (right) or search your blower using Spotlight (left). So what about up and down?
HTC Sense utilises this functionality to great effect. How about a swipe down to access the iPod software, and a swipe up to get straight into the App Store or accessing your favourite app (which you could set yourself)? Not only would be if be swift. It’ll give you more room for other widgets on the home screen too.
7 Tighter social network integration
The iPhone’s social networking skills extend to apps which you need to download yourself. iOS 5 could really make a play of Facebook and Twitter, with tighter integration into mailboxes and other apps, the latter being something which Zuckerberg and co are already hard at work on. Friend Stream-style skills, given the Apple treatment, would broaden the iPhone’s already mainstream appeal.
8 Native iMovie
No having to pay extra: this feature needs to be sitting pretty on the range’s software from the get-go. iOS 5 will probably eschew the iPhone 3GS, meaning the iPhone 4 and whatever new model lands next year will be ripe for the treatment. Video editing is already native to the N8 and Milestone XT720 so why not make it the same with iOS?
9 Free MobileMe
As with iMovie, we’re saying: ‘enough with the charges, already’. MobileMe could be tightly integrated into iOS 5, with a dedicated app for swiping in files, folders and messages. When the iWork for iPhone app arrives, this will be even more essential. Free MobileMe would also give the iPhone the enterprise edge and push it harder into Google’s cloud territory, surely two things Apple wants to do.
10 A completely new design
The iPhone operating system has ostensibly looked the same since it first wowed the crowds in January 2007. The background may have changed with iOS 4, but a whole new look could be just what iOS 5 needs. Cutting down on widgets with file management has been introduced, but perhaps this needs to be enforced, with folders in the dock, leaving more home page space to see background images.