Apple’s WWDC is happening later today. It’s the event that’s like Christmas day for iOS developers. There Apple will shop off the next version of iOS — iOS 11. There’s no telling what new features iOS 11 will include, but we’ve put together this list of hopes. Many of these feature hopes are new, but some we’ve been wishing for since iOS 8 or earlier. Will we get them this time?
Foxconn insiders recently took to Reddit to discuss Apple’s upcoming product roadmap for the remainder of the year. They divulged information about the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and Apple’s Siri Speaker as well as a pair of AR spectacles the company is working on.
The Siri Speaker could well be announced at WWDC 2017 and then launch a bit later on this year. Do not expect to see any iPhones though; they’re all coming during the latter part of 2017. Though there has been talk of an iPhone SE 2 doing the rounds, so never say never.
It’s also important to note that just because we don’t see a feature announced at WWDC doesn’t mean it won’t make it into iOS 11. Apple sometimes saves their biggest new software feature reveals until September when the new iPhone is announced. Sometimes new hardware is required for the latest software features. With that in mind, here’s what we’d like to see in iOS 11.
A More Advanced Siri
There are several areas where Siri needs improvement, especially compared to other AI assistants. I’d like to see an offline mode in Siri so you can use it without an internet connection. Also, text-based Siri input would be nice so you can type queries into Siri. Finally, a more robust contextual Siri engine would be nice so Siri can follow along with you in a conversation and not just answer single queries.
Sync Photos People Albums Across Devices
The new Photos app is pretty robust–but one frustration remains: if you set up People albums on Photos on a Mac (or other iOS devices) they will not sync over iCloud Photo Library to all your devices. Other albums do, why not People?
Handoff For Media
Handoff and Continuity are great features of iOS and macOS that allow you to, for example, start composing an email on one device and finish it on another. It would be great if Apple added Handoff support for media too. For example, you can be listening to a song in Appel Music on your iPhone, but when you get home hand it off to your Mac or Apple TV. Same goes for movies too.
Customizable Control Center
Control Center was perhaps the best feature included in iOS 7. With a swipe up from the bottom of any screen users could finally quickly toggle Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and rotation lock on or off. Users also finally got quick access to music controls and shortcut icons to Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera. What would be great, however, is if Apple would allow users to customize these four shortcut buttons. For example, I don’t use the Timer that much, so I’d love to replace its shortcut button in Control Center with a button for Calendar, an app I use a lot. Oh yeah, and integrate 3D Touch gestures into Control Center customization.
Voicemail Transcription Leaves Beta
In iOS 10 Apple introduced Voicemail Transcription, which allows you to see a transcription of a voicemail message, without you needing to actually listen to the message. However, this feature in iOS 10 was only in beta–and it showed. Here’s hoping iOS 11 has a completed Voicemail Transcription feature that’s ready for prime time.
The Ability To Merge Apple IDs
This isn’t a feature specific to iOS 11, although it would benefit every iOS user. When Apple introduced Apple ID’s over 15 years ago they started out as membership IDs for people paying for their iTools and .Mac services. However, when the iTunes Store came into being in 2003, Apple started using Apple ID’s for that. Then for the App Store as well. The problem is over the last 15 years many people accumulated more than one Apple ID, leading them to make some purchases under one and some purchases under another. Needless to say, having one digital ID is best and leads to a lot less confusion, so here’s hoping this year is finally the year Apple allows users to merge Apple ID’s into one.
With OS X Yosemite, Apple finally added Dark Mode to the operating system. This allows users to replace the white menu bar and dock with a darker version. Professionals love this because if they are editing video, photos, and doing other graphics work, the dark elements of OS X allow them to focus more on their work. While the iPhone and iPad aren’t as big of productivity devices for professionals as the Mac (though that is changing with the iPad Pro) we still think it’d be awesome to see a dark mode on iOS 11.
Show/Hide nested folders in Mail.app
iOS’s Mail app gets better each year, but one thing still really bugs many users: the app shows all nested folders in your account, which means you have to do a lot of swiping to get to a folder you want. Apple should enable Mail to show/hide nested folders at will. It would make navigating the app much quicker.
Support for Smart Mailboxes in Mail.app
Smart Mailboxes have been around in macOS’s email client for almost 20 years now. But they still aren’t creatable or sync-able on iOS. We’d love to see Smart Mailboxes comes to Mail in iOS 11.
Weather App for iPad
The Weather app for iPhone introduced in iOS 7 is one of the most gorgeous weather apps ever made. But why the heck isn’t it available on the iPad? Those beautiful weather animations would look amazing on the iPad’s bigger display. Here’s hoping iOS 11 give us the Weather app for iPad.
This is a holdover from our iOS 8 wish list. A feature long requested for iOS–particularly on the iPad–is multi-user support. The way this would work is that iOS would allow users to create multiple accounts on a single device. A user could log in with their pin, password, or Touch ID fingerprint and their iOS device would then be fully customized to their last-used settings: everything from app layout to wallpapers to email accounts.
This is arguably a feature more appropriate for the iPad or iPad Pro as often times families or couples share one iPad between then. Also, iPads are frequently shared in work environments. Multiple user accounts for the iPad in these environments would mean secure sharing between people without the risk of anyone else seeing your private information. As for the iPhone…multiple user accounts could also be enabled, but since our phones are such personal devices it’s not clear how many people actually share their phones with others to begin with.
So those are the items on our iOS 11 wish list; what’s yours? Let us know in the comments!