Rumors are flying around as to what the next version of Apple’s hardware will feature, the software for the iPhone & iPad is unfortunately becoming dated. In order to keep up with the emerging platform that Google is offering, Apple has to make some serious changes.

I’ve been an iOS developer and user for a few years now, coming to see both the advantages and disadvantages of the platform. What exactly will we see in the next iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system? It’s anybody’s guess, but here are a few hopes that I have for the future.

1. Improved Lock Screen

Though one could look at the current operating system’s lock screen and say that it is a beautiful canvas on which one can display important aspects of one’s life, it is obvious that it is lacking functionality. It has been a sentiment echoed by many, and considering the fact that Apple was one of the main proponents for “widgets” – small tidbits of information that leave a very small footprint – it is confusing that this feature hasn’t made its way to the iPhone. I would like to see information such as the latest weather information, new calendar events, and email messages at a glance. By allowing developers to unleash the potential of this tinier format, users could sincerely reap the benefits of an information-rich display.

2. Wireless Synchronization with iTunes

One of the most difficult things to do with an iPhone at this point is manage media and files effectively without connecting to your computer. By giving users the ability sync wirelessly, in a way similar to their “Home Sharing” feature on iTunes, iOS adopters would be able to download a song on their iPhone and see it in their iTunes library the next time they look at their computer.

3. More Multitasking APIs

While iOS 4 was leaps and bounds greater than iPhone OS 3.0 in terms of multitasking functionality, third party developers are still somewhat limited in allowing their applications to run in the background. Instead of simply allowing “app switching”, the ability to utilize full, background multitasking would be a greatly appreciated feature.

4. Trials and Subscriptions

We are expecting a subscription service for periodicals to be introduced in the near future considering the fact that The Daily, a iPad-exclusive newspaper that Apple and News Corp. have been collaborating on, is to be released on February 2nd. By allowing developers to utilize this feature, a greater saturation of news sources would be made available. Demo versions of games have been heavily used by developers though Apple frowns upon it. Why not allow users to play trials of new games?

5. Redesigned User Interface

Despite the fact that Apple’s user interface is clean as it is, it is relatively weak in graphical prowess and rather limited in functionality. I would not expect to see a visual overhaul considering the fact that Mac OS X Lion is set to have an app grid similar to what we currently see on the iPad, but some tweaks that allow users to see their backgrounds and unleash the full potential of folders would really help the interface feel fresher, cleaner, and more robust.

What do you think? Would you like to see some other features in iOS 5? Is there any improvements to the user interface that you would make? Let us know in the comments below.