Apple’s WWDC is less than two months away. It’s the event that’s like Christmas day for iOS developers. There Apple will shop off the next version of iOS — iOS 10.
But it’s not just iOS 10 that’s getting official on June 13; no, Apple will also launch updates for OS X, Apple Watch and Siri. Interestingly, Siri is expected to be opened up to developers for the first time and the reason for this is apparently Apple’s Siri Smart Speaker, which is a Siri-powered speaker that, as the name suggests, perform basic tasks in your home like AirPlay-ing media to a HDTV, reading emails or sending and receiving texts, emails and calls.
This is of course the dawn of a new product line if Apple does indeed launch this smart speaker. It will go head to head with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s now-official Home speaker. Apple has been working away on its “smart home” initiatives for a few years now with things like HomeKit but has yet to pull the plug on any actual products, preferring to leave “smart goods” up to third-party device makers.
For most, though, the big deal at WWDC 2016 will be iOS 10, as it is the platform most used be people aboard iPhones and iPad. What do we know about iOS 10 so far? Quite a bit as it goes. We know the software update will launch in September, 2016, alongside the company’s new iPhone 7 range. We know Apple is keen on improving Siri; basically, making her more useful. And we now improvements are coming to 3D Touch and iOS’ Photo Editor — no doubt in lieu of the iPhone 7’s vastly improved camera.
As for older iPhone and iPads, it is entirely plausible that Apple’s iPhone 4s and iPad 2 will NOT get the update. Apple has a habit of phasing out older hardware and the iPhone 4s and iPad 2, after many years of service, are now ever so slightly long in the tooth. This could mean neither device will get iOS 10 — given hardware constraints, though, this is not surprising.
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? Here’s what we’d like to see.
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.
There’s also this awesome concept video that show how Apple could integrate 3D Touch gestures into Control Center customization.
This is something we’ve wanted since Siri was first introduced: give developers access to the Siri API. If this happens, Siri could finally become really useful. Imagine to be able to give Siri commands like “Play the latest MIKA video in YouTube.”
Speaking of Siri, Apple has filed for several Siri patents that would allow the virtual assistant to automatically transcribe voicemails you receive. This would be awesome is that decide to add it to iOS 10 as it would allow us to read voicemail messages instead of having to listen to them–great for when we are in a meeting and can’t put the phone up to our ear.
Hide Pre-installed Apps
Apple, I’ll never use the Tips or Podcast app. If you insist I can’t delete them from my device, at least let me be able to hide them from the home screen without stuffing them in a folder marked “Useless”. ‘Nuff said.
The Ability To Merge Apple IDs
This isn’t a feature specific to iOS 10, 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 could change with the iPad Pro) we still think it’d be awesome to see a dark mode on iOS 10.
Default 3rd-party Apps
People have been asking for this since day 1. Maybe iOS 10 is when we’ll finally get it? I happen to be a big fan of Mail, Calendar, and Safari, but I know there are plenty of people who think other third party apps handle those services better. The ability in iOS 10 to select a default 3rd-party app, replacing the standard iOS one would be a huge boon to users. Honestly, out of all the wish list features, I think this is the least likely…but then again no one thought Apple would ever add support for third-party keyboards.
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.
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 10 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 10 wish list; what’s yours? Let us know in the comments!