Advertisement

Features we want to see in iOS 11 (but probably won’t)

by Brandon Russell | May 28, 2017

The next version of iOS is just around the corner, which means it’s time we start thinking about what new features Apple may have planned.

Rumors about the next big software release have been few and far between—though iPhone 8 reports are off the charts.

When compiling this list, we tried thinking of features Apple might realistically implement. But, because this is Apple we’re talking about, the chances of seeing these features is pretty close to zero. Still, we can dream.

For how wonderfully optimized iOS is—and you can’t beat its massive ecosystem—the software feels shockingly dated. We recently checked out an original iPhone running iPhone OS 1, and you can argue not much has changed since then. That’s ridiculous.

Hopefully, with the iPhone’s tenth anniversary looming, iOS 11 will introduce features users have been craving for so long.

Advertisement

Siri integration in iMessage

After introducing Google Assistant to Allo, expect Apple to come up with something similar for iOS users. If implemented well, users may be able to ask Siri for movie times, dinner reservations, search results, and more—all right from Messages.

Of course, there are already Apple Messages apps, which perform some of these functions, but integrating Siri would be a more seamless way for people, and group chats in particular, to exchange and look up information.

Not only would it show Apple’s digital assistant can keep pace with Google Assistant, but it may actually convince people to use Siri.

Death of the app grid

It’s 2017, and iOS still doesn’t let me place app icons wherever I want. Worse, the basic premise of iOS is to provide users with pages and pages and pages of apps. That’s not the most elegant UI, especially if you have dozens of apps downloaded on your device.

The beauty of Android is the software gives users complete control over the way their home screens look. Apple, meanwhile, allows the minimum amount of customization—you can change your background picture but that’s about it. As mentioned above, it’s shocking how similar the current version of iOS is to iPhone OS 1—a release that came out in 2007.

All I want is to be able to arrange icons in any configuration on my home screen. That’s it. Apple should take a page out of the Pixel’s playbook by introducing an app drawer than can be accessed with a swipe. That’s not a difficult concept for people to grasp—but it may be beneath Jony Ive and his design team.

Dynamic icons

Icon designs are an art form, so I’m torn to even suggest this. But, Apple should allow developers to make icons dynamic (where it makes sense). Why can’t a weather app’s icon show the temperature? Why can’t a calendar app show the date?

Often, iOS feels so static and lifeless. Introducing dynamic icons—and, heck, let’s get crazy and suggest Apple introduce home screen widgets—could liven things up. Doing so may effect battery life, but it would help improve functionality and provide users with information at a glance.

Say hello to launchers

Which brings us to our next point: launchers. Apple will never in a million years swallow their pride and allow launchers in the App Store. The day they do will be the day hell freezes over. But I will dream about it until the end of time.

Chances are most people would avoid launchers because, let’s face it, they can be complicated. But—and this is just the one I have experience with—launchers like Nova for Android add a lot of functionality and value, ultimately making the experience better for users. Why wouldn’t Apple want launchers like that?

I can’t see Apple redesigning the way iOS looks anytime soon, but introducing launcher support would at least make the software feel fresh.

Dark mode

Apple’s clock app is a good example of what a Dark Mode might look like in iOS: elegant, easy to read, and less harsh on the eyes. I know Apple is obsessed with clean, minimal, sterile white spaces, but when did we decide this was the preferred UI? At least give users a choice.

At the very least, a Dark Mode may help battery drain, which is reason enough to flip the switch. I’d much rather stare at a blank black space than one that’s bright white, especially at night.

Google Now

The Galaxy S8 has Bixby Home, the Pixel has Google Now, and Microsoft has Cortana. Apple has nothing.

In order to keep up with the Joneses, Apple needs to introduce a Google Now-like feature—something we’ve been saying for years. IOS’s screen of widgets is Google Now-ish, but it’s a weak and inferior alternative. I still find myself preferring the Google app for iOS, which beautifully—and without any effort on my end—collects and displays the information I care about, rather than me turning on individual widgets manually.

It’s not enough for Apple to simply improve Siri’s voice capabilities. She needs to become a true assistant, and introducing a feature similar to Google Now would finally make Apple’s technology somewhat useful.

Default app selection

You can use whatever calendar, browser, and messages app you like. But you still can’t set Google Maps as your default navigation app. Apple would also still prefer you use iOS’s built-in email client, rather than the far superior Email by EasilyDo.

Often, the apps found in the App Store are more feature-rich and easier to use compared to iOS’s stock apps. I don’t mind using Apple Maps, but Google Maps is still better.

Split Screen

Split screen features have made their way to the iPad, and it’s time they comes to the iPhone, too. With rumors suggesting Apple plans to release a 5.8-inch iPhone this fall, the feature would be right at home on the larger display. It would perfectly suit scenarios when users need to jot down notes while watching a YouTube video. It’s yet another feature Android offers but iOS (at least on the iPhone) does not.

Multi-user

The iPad is often the centerpiece of families across the world. Yet, it can be painfully difficult to share. Apple has tried addressing the lack of multi-user support by introducing family sharing features. But why isn’t there multi-user support? With the feature enabled, each individual user can have their own home screen and apps, making the device feel more personalized. If Android can support multiple users—even guests—so can iOS.


Advertisement


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


Advertisement

Advertisement