Apple iOS 7 – The “maps” disaster continues…

After a year of the iOS 6 maps disaster, Apple worked really hard and managed to map out Paris as well! Now, you have another city where everyone should be living in since Apple managed to map it out…or…so they claim.

When you also consider the fact that the current iOS 7 beta is available for the iPhone only, one has to wonder what Apple has been up-to with iOS 7 after the iOS 6 disaster. BTW, for those who are trying the Apple dev centre site, nope, it does not work and is down.

Although, iOS 7 does seem to have some of my wish list, it does not seem to have the buttonless experience that people would still want to jailbreak for. Consider the fact that any half decent Android phone has touch buttons compared to the most expensive iPhone which still requires the use of a regular (read lame) tactile button.

The Apple “maps” disaster continues! Effectively, all location based apps will still remain useless excepting the two cities mapped out by Apple in 2 years, one in the US and now one in France. Notice the fact that even in the iOS 7 Paris demo, at no point did the “maps” move beyond the known Apple mapped points.

Excepting for the maps disaster that continues, and extends to the new OS X, the rest of iOS seems to be on track…just a year or more late. Wonder who gets fired this time around for continuing the “maps” disaster!

The new OS X, like earlier versions, retains the old 17th century UI although some UX improvements seem to be there. While the announcement of iBooks on OS X etc might seem exciting, it should have been there at least a year or more ago.

The new MacBook Air with all day battery life seemed a good step forward for the line, but, it was somewhat overshadowed by the new MacPro preview. The new MacPro seemed to be impressive in the preview. Let’s see how it performs when it is actually released.

Overall, it was a mixed bag of announcements. While the “maps” disaster continues and extends itself to the desktop, the rest of iOS 7 seems to be on track. The new OS X is just an incremental change in UI although the UX seems to have improved, but, it’s not what one would call a major update. There are simply too many issues with OS X that need to be fixed before it can be called a major update from a user viewpoint. The hardware that was announced, as usual, was way beyond the current software capabilities of Apple.

Let’s wait and see what happens when iOS 7 and the new OS X are formally released. Will the Apple “maps” disaster remain? Will the new OS X actually fix at least some of the long standing OS issues? Will iOS 7 actually includes a buttonless experience? Will the iPad 3G version of iOS 7 have SMS capabilities? Will Apple continue to artificially limit features on older devices?

We are still around 3 months away from the final answers…

Apple WWDC 2013 – My Wish List for iOS 7

With the WWDC around the corner, and banners for iOS 7 already up, let us see what major disaster(s) Apple has in store for all the iDevice users this time around. The last iOS release added almost nothing and removed Google maps and YouTube effectively killing all location/maps based services and apps, including Apple’s own apps.

As for me, I would still start my list with the basic Nokia phone features that iOS lacks even today.

  1. Call/SMS black/white list. The DND and list selection of iOS 6 cannot replace the need for the same.
  2. Caller name announce. I would like to know the caller’s name from my address book when I get a call or SMS. I would not want to pull out the phone just to look at who is calling or sending a message. Optionally, the ability to read out SMS text would be nice to have.
  3. Dump the never ending Siri beta and get some functional voice recognition technology. Also make it usable, globally, instead of packing in useless “event announcement features”.
  4. Look at the jailbreak tweak “Auxo” and learn more about how the multi-tasking tray/toggles should actually work. Combine this with “Zephyr” and then you have a buttonless iPhone experience. Of course, there are quite a few enhancements possible even after this combination. In short, make the iDevice UX a buttonless one! (Actually, the iPad already has some of this).
  5. Allow changing and removing of the default/stock apps. If this was allowed in iOS 6, then, using Google maps or alternates as default would have reduced the impact of the Apple “maps” disaster. I would also like to replace the plain bare Safari with a better browser as the default. Incidentally, Firefox still remain the most “web compatible” browser after IE. While the webkit browsers like Safari and Chrome work for most sites, a vast number of older secure sites still work better with Firefox and some still require IE. Personally, the first stock app I would remove is the newsstand as it does not make any sense to me. On second thoughts, I would say that I would firstly delete the Apple “maps” app as that causes grief compared to newsstand which only takes up space.
  6. Fix the GMail account notifications in the mail app. No user would want to use a separate app just to get email notifications for GMail accounts.
  7. There has to be an option to attach files to email. How the attachment is implemented is a matter of discussion. It could be something as simple as having some API to access/copy files from any document management app and paste it into another app or email.
  8. Show all fields in the address book that appear on OS X and make all fields searchable.
  9. A flashlight option for the iPhone on the lock screen.
  10. A SMS app on the iPad 3G. Essentially this would mean that SMS and iMessage would be integrated like they are on the iPhone. I have already mentioned why SMS is required on the iPad 3G in an earlier post.
  11. Live icons to the clock and weather apps. At the very least, add the option to display the date/time/temperature on the status bar.
  12. Have consistent applications across the iDevices. For example, there is no weather app on the iPad.
  13. Remove artificial restrictions and bring FaceTime over 3G, Airplay mirroring etc on the iPhone 4 and tethering on the iPad 2. Perhaps also include Siri on the iPhone 4. I say perhaps since Siri is not very usable as it stands today.
  14. Open up the call and related APIs to developers and allow the bluetooth stack to transfer files to other devices.
  15. Allow registered developer devices to be downgraded to at least 2 prior versions of iOS.

Although I would be happy with this list for a start, there is a lot more that iOS really needs. For a far more comprehensive list of needed enhancements and features, take a look at iOS-7-Wish-List.