With WWDC approaching, there’s the usual anticipation to discover what Apple will unveil for iOS 10.
In this post, I’ll tell you about my top 4 iOS 9 features, as well as my wishes for iOS 10. Keep in mind that I’m writing all this from the perspective of an iPhone owner, so I won’t be paying attention to iPad specific features.
My Top 4 iOS 9 Features
iOS 7 brought us a brand new look, and iOS 8 enhanced the OS to make apps more powerful. But with its 9th iteration iOS came of age, with its fine tuning stability and performance drawing together the work done over the past two iterations. Subtle though some of the changes were, this was my favourite version of Apple’s mobile OS since iOS 4.
Here are four of my favourite iOS 9 features.
Low Power Mode
Battery life has been a long running (if you’ll forgive the pun) gripe for iPhone users. Apple addressed this in iOS 9 with a power saving mode, which at the cost of some performance can really extend your battery life. It prompts you to activate it when the battery drops below 20%, and you can enable it manually if you know you’ll be away from a power outlet for a while.
f.lux had been doing this for a while, and one developer even implemented their own version for iOS, no jailbreak required! But as of OS 9.3, Apple baked their own version, named “Night Shift”, right into the operating system.
Along with a renewed app switcher, Apple took some steps to improve app integration. Clicking a link in one app can launch another app, providing a “back” button in the top-bar allowing you to quickly return to the previous app, similar to how the browser’s back button works. This small feature is a true game-changer for app power-users and pulls apps together into a real workflow.
Even better, web links can now launch with their native app if you have it installed. For example, clicking a Wikipedia link in Safari will launch the Wikipedia app, which provides a superior browsing experience.
The Notes app has been completely overhauled and fully integrated with iCloud and OS X. New features allow you to add images, sketches, text formatting and best of all checklists with items you can tick off as you work through them.
iOS 10 Wishlist
Each time Apple are about to announce a new iteration of iOS, everyone has a wish list. Sometimes the gods of Apple are kind, sometimes not. We’ll see what happens this time around.
Of late, Apple has come under some criticism for piling on the features to their products without properly addressing bugs and stability, and their software is having an increasing need for a Steve Jobs style stabilisation update. iOS 9 had its problems in this respect, and so my #1 wish for iOS 10 is that whatever new features they add, they keep the OS secure, stable and bug-free.
A particular personal gripe of recent iOS iterations is in how Apple have ruined webapps. It’s something I hope they’ll address.
Chances of wish being granted: 60%
Animated App Icons
The home screen is the lynchpin of iOS. iPhone OS 3 introduced app badges, which allowed each app to display a number to indicate something within the app. E.g.: the number of unread messages. However, this is pretty limiting compared to the kind of information which could be shown.
Granted, the Today widget allows apps to display some pretty incredible information in a central location, but I’d love to see the home screen get a bit of attention.
Apple’s Calendar app icon has always been able to show the current date, and with iOS 7 the clock app icon animates with the current time. But, why can’t the weather app show the current weather? Why can’t third party app developers allow their app’s icon to change in subtle ways to reflect the state of the app?
I’d like to see an API to allow developers to let their apps convey more information beyond what’s currently possible with the app badge.
Chances of wish being granted: 20%
More Top Bar Notifications
Like OpenNotifier, it would be nice to have more icons on the top bar to supplement the existing notifications. For example an icon to show when you’ve unread emails, or when you’ve flipped the vibrate switch.
Chances of wish being granted: 2%
Custom Carrier Names
Personally, I get a bit annoyed with the branding my carrier gets on my phone. It would be good to be able to be able to change this to whatever you wanted, but given the existing limitations Apple place on the carriers to customise iOS, I think this is pie in the sky.
Note: there is a way of doing this without jailbreaking, but sadly it doesn’t work with all carriers.
Chances of wish being granted: 0%
Customisable Control Centre Icons
Control centre is pretty useful as it is, and Apple have worked out the shortcuts most people need, but I’m still hoping that they’ll let users customise them to perform custom actions.
Chances of wish being granted: 10%
Here’s to an exciting WWDC!