Apple’s iOS 5: Do You Expect More?

No doubt that the new iOS 5 is better than any mobile OSes we have seen so far. It has many cool additions to its 4th edition that make it a better successor. These include notifications, improved AJAX support in the Safari mobile browser, and wireless syncing (both via Wi-Fi and through iCloud). Now it has a much-needed leap over the Android counterpart and other mobile OSes unveiled lately.

Though we are happy enough, there are many more things we now expect from the top-notch OS in the world. With Apple having probably started working towards the next update, we have some needs we would like to present (some of them are old).

1. A “return to app” gesture

iOS 5 may have multi-tasking gesture for easy switching between apps without the need for going to the Home button. For example,  a four-finger sideways swipe will get you to next or previous app that’s running (depending on the swipe direction), and a four-finger swipe up reveals the  multi-tasking dock that shows running apps and has controls over iTunes, AirPlay, and rotation lock or mute (excluding the one set for the side switch). The four-finger pinch motion will bring you back to the home-screen.  However, there is no gesture assigned to return to the app you were using before. It would be best to have the four-finger expand gesture as the “return to app” nod.

2. Support for group creation and editing in contacts

It’s one of the major tweaks we need for the next iOS update. It’s still surprising why Apple hasn’t yet installed group function, as many of the contemporary OSs feature it. Managing the distribution of information to the other end of the line is important in business and personal transactions. iOS 5 still won’t let you make a group in contacts to send email. You have to individually select every person to the ‘To’ field. Though iOS 5 allows you to import groups from Exchange, Outlook, and Mac OS X’s Address Book and allows editing every other attribute of your contacts — still, why not groups?

3. Customized email signatures per account.

Nowadays the smart phones and tablets are used in business communication as much as a Laptop or Net book. It would be ideal if Apple implements different email signatures for different accounts in its mobile OS. It is already available in Apple’s Mail client in Mac OS X — or in Outlook in Windows and Mac OS X.

4. Mail filtering

It’s still a shame that the world’s best mobile OS does not have option for message filtering. With the junk mails filling up the email account every now and then, it’s necessary for one to have efficient inbuilt app for trashing the same. Also, we require a feature for directing mail from a definite person to a specific folder. We are having no doubt that the iOS devices have more-than-needed processor power for doing the same. It would be better if Apple syncs its Mail client in Mac OS X or other desktop clients like Outlook, or Exchange via iCloud or other mechanism with the iOS device.

5. Undifferentiated universal inbox. My last email complaint

This will be the last compliant in the email sector. With all the messages displayed in your Inbox iOS without the label from which mailbox it comes, it’s a mess. It’s very necessary for the inbox to list the mailbox from which the particular mail comes, so the user can differentiate between personal and business mails. It would also be desirable to have an option to hide some email accounts from the universal inbox, like the mail account for e-commerce and its accompanying spam mail. However, iOS has Calendars that can distinguish accounts for calendar entries and choose between accounts to display. Apple only has to copy this technology into email as well.

6. Voice-based search.

Apple had earlier added aiding facilities for visually and hearing challenged in its iOS. This facility has been strengthened in the latest iOS 5. But still Apple mobile OS has no facility for searching the web or mobile device’s content via voice. As its rival, Google’s Android, has this facility, it is high time Apple implemented it soon. It is very ideal for customers who use cell phones via a Bluetooth headset. Although the iPhone 4S has the Siri “personal assistant”-style voice-based search agent, it’s more of a gadget feature than an OS feature.

7. iOS-only use of FaceTime and iMessage

Apple probably desires monopoly in many of its services like what Blackberry has been doing with its BBM. For this purpose, Apple has to bring forth the FaceTime video-conferencing and iMessage text messaging to work only between iOS (and Mac OS X) users. Thus plausibility of these services, particularly iMessage, is very limited. Subscribers could instead opt for an email or a third-party IM client that works across services, for reaching their contacts.

8. Easier access to Bluetooth.

In the UI of the setting App, you can directly jump into airplane mode, Wi-Fi, VPN, and notifications settings, while on iPad, you can right away access the  location, cellular data, and screen settings.

But for getting your hand on Bluetooth, you have to delve deep into two levels. Enabling or disabling Bluetooth and connecting devices may become necessary at times (like when you are in a car). However, one can pin Bluetooth to the multi-tasking dock as an alternative to this shortcoming.

9. Keyboard shortcuts for formatting.

As the iOS 5 lets us use the boldface, italics and another simple format in Mail as a way to bridge the gap between Smart phone/tablet and desktop computing, it would be appreciable if it has key board shortcuts for highlighting text and applying formatting through a contextual menu. Both onscreen and Bluetooth keyboard shortcuts that we use on PCs and Macs should be an ideal update for editing and note taking apps.

10. Inadvertent keyboard splits

One of the touted features in the new iOS is the facility to split or float the onscreen keyboard for easier thumb typing. But there are occasions when speed typing will lead you to turn split keyboard ‘on’ without any deliberation. We cannot predict which combination of taps has led to this situation, and will have to redock the keyboard for continuing work. The only relief is that you can turn off this novel keyboard feature, if you cannot cope with it.

11. Unintegrated tasks in Reminders.

If you are a list person, you must already be irritated with the to-do list in iOS 5 device. There is a variety of new Reminders app for organizing your to-do items that works with iCloud, Exchange, and IMAP to-do lists as well as with local ones. But the issue is that you are not allowed to see all your to-dos in one view. Opposite is the case of various apps like email inboxes in Mail, and Calendar. We are very much puzzled by this inconsistency in software developing by Apple.

12. Poor printing support

It was almost one year ago that the late Steve Jobs, ex-CEO of Apple, disappointed us when his promises of easy printing from iOS 4.2 onwards turned out half-boiled, which is still the case. The iOSes then on were able to work with a handful of AirPrint-enabled printers from Hewlett-Packard. Although there are many third-party printing apps from the App Store, they are limited, as they can send their content to other apps via iOS’s Open In facility. This means that it will not allow mainstay apps like Mail and Pages, which can accept Open In-delivered content but not send their content to other Open In-enabled apps. So content printing is almost impossible on iOS 5. We really expected Apple to tweak its printing API to create an option from its ubiquitous Print menu to such apps via Open In. Though Android and other mobile OSes are still amateur in this category, we have much more expectation from Apple Inc, the initiators of ‘desktop publishing’.


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