Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Two Dozen Features Apple Could Add to iOS 6 to Make it Better

Before Apple had its AppStore or even it's multitasking ability to play Pandora in the background while you typed an email or surf the web, we had these features in the Jailbreak community. Even though Apple spends a lot of effort trying to kill the Jailbreak community, they secretly get a lot of innovation from it. Their resources would be best spent "borrowing", licensing or hiring from this talent pool to bring the best features into their operating system. The following features should be standard in the iOS 6.x software. These things make so much sense that it is senseless for Apple to continue to not include them in the iOS 6.

1. Fast Toggle of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, etc.

We definitely should have quicker access to toggle on and off the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane modes. This should be added to the notification drop down area. How efficient is it exit your application to turn on Bluetooth? Let's say I am listening to music with the sound playing through the built-in speaker. I want to listen to the music through my Bluetooth headset or my Jambox Bluetooth speaker. Currently I will have to close the music player or the other application (if I have the music playing in the background) and then seek out and find the Settings app. I would have to navigate to the Bluetooth area under General settings to toggle Bluetooth on. Then I have to navigate back to the app I was working in. This is not very efficient. Shouldn't I be able to quickly toggle this without exiting my program? Of course! It should be just as simple to do the same for WiFi, Airplane mode and more.

The amazing thing is that I don't launch the Settings app as often as non-Jailbreakers and yet the Settings app is the 4th most accessed app on my iPhone.

2. More Information in the Status Bar

I also use SBSettings to display the date, the hotspot name that I am connected to and the free memory available next to the clock in the status bar. On the iPhone the status bar is smaller, but I still am able to show the date and free memory along with my time. There is tons of wasted space in the status bar area. I love to be able to see which hotspot I am connected to on my Jailbroken iPad; why shouldn't every iPad owner?

3. Memory Management

I also love the "Processes" option in SBSettings that allow me to free up memory. As much as Apple would like to think that we don't need it, there are times that we need to free up memory. Give us a "kill all" button to close all open apps.

4. Make Siri more useful

In the Jailbreak world, there is a free tweak called SiriToggle. It allows Siri to toggle radios like Bluetooth, Airplane and WiFi. Also ask about battery life and even adjust brightness with Siri (aka your voice). Also you can launch apps with Siri. I listen to Stitcher Radio and since it automatically plays upon launching, it is very convenient to have Siri launch this app.

5. Move Multiple icons around the Home Screens

Multiiconmover does just what the name implies, lets you move multiple icons around the home screens. If you ever tried to move a single app between Home screens, you know how frustrating this can be. Moving multiple icons around is a task most iOS device owners avoid like the plague. This ability has existed almost from the very beginning of the Jailbreaking the Apple mobile operating system. This one should have been included by now.

6. Lock Down Apps and Folders

AppLocker let me lock any icon (app) or folder. Who says that everything on our device should accessible the initial pass code at the lock screen? This oversight on Apple's part is huge considering they keep insisting we live in a post PC world. On a regular computer, you can make things less viewable to a causal user. On the iPad, everything is right there to be explored once you hand them your device. AppLocker locks down your sensitive data. Come on Apple, it is not porn that people want to hide on their iOS device, but their personal data from those who don't need to see it.

7. Clear Notification Area Faster

Man we were thankful that Apple finally gave us a Notification area to hold our popups. Now that we have them tucked away and the fact that it is a bit painful to clear many of them, we just let them pile up. The Jailbreakers have FastClear to remedy this. As you're aware, you have to first tap on the Clear button and then tap on the x button to clear notifications from the Notification Center. FastClear is a nifty little jailbreak tweak that makes it easier and faster to clear the notifications from the Notification Center by replacing the x button with the Clear button, thus enabling you to clear notifications with a single tap.

8. Enhance Folders

FolderEnhancer - iOS 4 brought with it the ability to put apps and bookmarks into folders. Unfortunately, the implementation is quite limited. FolderEnhancer takes this feature and improves upon it, making it a viable solution for organizing and accessing your apps. You can add up to 320 icons to a folder (20 pages, 16 per page), create folders inside of folders and more. If Apple did this, you wouldn't have to have 5 games folders, you could simply have one that held all of them.

9. Add Permanent Number Row on Keyboard

iKeywi adds a customizable 5th row of keys to the virtual keyboard. This allows you to use numbers without toggling the whole keyboard. A fixed set of number keys are always present. Come on Apple, do we really have to ask for this after all these years - you use the product and hate the shift and toggle dance too. I toggle the number key so often that I would gain a month back from the year if Apple added this. At least make it an option that one could turn on or off in Settings.

10. Slide to Do MORE

LockSliderz: all of us know about the slide to unlock feature on the lock screen. What if you could add additional functions to this slider? You can with LockSliderz. On my lock screen, I have two sliders stacked on top of each other. Both has an icon on both ends of the slider. The top one has an icon for a flashlight and another for Stitcher Radio. The lower slider has an email icon and a lock for unlocking. Sider either icon to the opposite side will launch that app once the pass code is entered (the lock just unlocks). Double clicking the home button will display a third slider which has a camera icon on one end and the Messaging (SMS) icon on the other end. I love this, especially for quick access to the Flashlight (using the camera flashbulb) and Stitcher Radio.

11. Make the Keyboard a Touchpad

There is a cool Jailbreak app called SwipeSelection that allows you to make your on screen keyboard behave like a touchpad. If you need to go to a word within the text you just typed, you don't have to lift your hand of the keyboard to the screen. You simply drag your finger backwards on the keyboard to the spot you want to place the cursor. Holding the shift key and dragging your finger on the keyboard will select the text. Apple would wise to implement these or similar features into iOS 6.

12. Windowed Multitasking

Sometimes I want to watch a movie or YouTube video while writing a note or surfing the web. With the current iOS, I have to choose one or the other. The Jailbreak app Quasar lets iPad owners launch apps into windows. I think it is time for this in iOS, but maybe Apple doesn't need to call them windows; how about panes, panels or even screen slices?

These are just a few of the tweaks that Apple can implement into thier operating system that will make more modern and fresh.

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