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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2012-03-13, 17:57

First off: yup, there's iPads at Apple running a version of Safari that claims to be on iOS 6. Could be some Apple employee playing jokes on Ars, but, more pragmatically, is likely a legitimate pre-release.

So what could iOS 6 bring us?

Obvious sources of inspirations would be:
  • Its sister OS: Mac OS X,
  • Other mobile OSes; in particular, Android, Windows Phone, and the less-successful webOS and Blackberry PlaybookOS (now with, gasp, a mail client!), and
  • iOS's own jailbreak community.

I have virtually no experience with other mobile OSes. I have some with Windows 8 (both the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview; anyone care to remind me why these aren't simply called Alpha 1 and 2?), but where its goals do overlap with those of iOS, Apple has been more inspirational for Microsoft than vice versa.

With each successive release having been a little more mature than its predecessor, iOS 5 has perhaps reached roughly the point of satisfaction that 10.4 Tiger had: plenty of features, not all of which you'll use every day, and some you wish it had. But unlike Tiger, you're largely stuck with what the OS has to offer. Extensibility mechanisms are few and far between. Apple has shown no sign of willingness to change that, and each passing year proves them more right in their conviction that they won't have to.

All that in mind, here's three things to start off with:

Inter-app sharing workflows:

Various design choices make carrying a bit of information from one app to another fairly cumbersome: typically, only one app will be actively running in a multitasking sense; only one app will be visible; mechanisms like Springboard, the app switching bar and the Notification Center are less about temporarily interacting with an app than they are about switching to it and fully bringing it frontmost; and each app lives in its own sandbox, including file management, so accessing a file you've created in another app isn't as easy you might expect either.

iOS does provide a means of opening applications with URL schemes, enabling several sharing workflows. 3.0 and 5.0, respectively, added APIs to show sheets for sending off e-mail messages or tweets, so you won't have to leave the app at all. And 3.2 introduced support for an Open With feature. The main limitation with these is that (the middle one excepted) they're "push"-type workflows: you're sent from one app to another, and then never back. Rather, what you frequently want is to "pull" information from another app, returning to where you had left off afterwards. The original app lacks a means of getting any result.

For some cases, app developers have become inventive to work around this:
  • Writing Kit, a word processor, advertises its built-in browser and Quick Research abilities.
  • Many apps rely on Dropbox for sharing files with each other, effectively eschewing the local system entirely in favor of one whose API affords them more flexibility.

But those aren't desirable hacks, and many cases simply cannot be handled well at all. Tools such as 1Password and TextExpander come off as more cumbersome than their Mac counterparts through no fault of their own. Moreover, when integration is available, it is often limited to hardcoded, specific apps; you'd have a hard time launching a TextExpander competitor now simply because so many third-party apps have already been integrated with TextExpander itself in particular. You cannot, as an app, offer your services to other apps.

So, wanted: a means where app A (e.g., a word processor) can ask the OS for available apps of a type of service X (e.g.: text expansion), where app B in turn can register itself to offer just that, and where A can launch B with the special "bring me back my info when you're done" parameter. Workflow-wise, it may make sense (and be less confusing to the user) to show the app's relevant bits in a sheet; in particular, no navigation in the app's UI should be possible.

Defaults:

The built-in apps are hardly bad (unless you count Reminders, the UI of which clearly only happened in some nightmare of mine), but Apple won't and shan't try to cover all situations. Some may prefer using the GMail web interface as their mail client, iCab as their browser, or Calvetica as their calendar. There's APIs for accessing some or all of the same data, but there aren't ones to set defaults. Most jarringly, opening a web link in some app will still launch Safari, unless the app happens to provide its own means of choosing a different browser.

This doesn't affect me much, but one scenario where I recently saw this as a problem is wanting a locked-down browser for a kid without relying on Safari's own rather limited Parental Controls, but rather by using a third-party browser that's designed around kid use. Making that the default browser, and preventing app installation as well as launching of Safari itself through Parental Controls, ought to do the trick.

Plug-ins

I know plug-ins go against Apple's "everything is an app" grain that they're apparently carrying over to the Mac as well, but they've already violated that principle in a few ways:
  • Apps can provide their own preferences that show up in the Settings app. This is effectively just a hierarchy of data, rather than a means to run code, so it's limited (e.g., you wouldn't be able to provide a button), but it is nonetheless arguably a form of hooking into the system.
  • iOS 4.1 added a VPN API, which to my knowledge is sadly still undocumented, but (by necessity) has code of yours running system-wide.

In addition to wanting an OpenVPN plug-in (sigh), there's various obvious places where plug-ins would help:
  • You can already search for your app in Spotlight (and, to my knowledge it takes advantage of keywords developers can provide in the App Store, so searches don't have to be exact matches), but being able to search its data (and to tap on an item to launch the app straight to that very item) would be great.
  • 5.0's Notification Center has two widgets for Weather and Stocks, which scream for extensibility, but alas, that currently requires a jailbreak. Here, too, the problem of default apps becomes clear: if you prefer a third-party weather or stocks app, tough.
  • A "Quick Look" of sorts — tapping an attachment in Mail works for some formats, but what if your app could provide viewers for additional ones?
  • Safari Extensions.



So, what are your wishes?
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2012-03-13, 18:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Defaults:

The built-in apps are hardly bad (unless you count Reminders, the UI of which clearly only happened in some nightmare of mine), but Apple won't and shan't try to cover all situations. Some may prefer using the GMail web interface as their mail client, iCab as their browser, or Calvetica as their calendar. There's APIs for accessing some or all of the same data, but there aren't ones to set defaults. Most jarringly, opening a web link in some app will still launch Safari, unless the app happens to provide its own means of choosing a different browser.
This is one I'm hoping for as well. Namely, the ability to set a default camera app for the phone that isn't Apple's. I love the slide to unlock the camera on the lock screen, I just would rather it be a different camera.

I'd also like the ability (that I've wanted since iOS 1) to choose which default apps sync and which don't. If we're given the ability to set other defaults, then there isn't a reason to keep the unused former apps on the phone.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2012-03-13, 19:49

I'm hoping for Siri / turn by turn navigation capability. Also, increase Siri's ability to turn phone features (like Bluetooth) on and off.
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Wyatt
On twitter: @bwyatt
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
 
2012-03-14, 06:45

The first three things that come to mind are pretty basic. I'm sure I have more, but these are the ones I want most:

1) Unified address/search bar in Safari. I think it's pretty likely that we'll get this one. Mountain Lion's version of Safari has it, so we'll probably see it in iOS 6 as well.

2) Notification Center widget API (probably much less likely). I'd like to have custom widgets in notification center (and maybe on the lock screen). For example, it would be great to have an ESPN widget that scrolls through current scores for my favorite teams. I can see this in the app, but a widget that basically shows the same info as the on-screen score graphics would be amazing. Apps like Launch Center would really be improved by widgets too. You could create easy-to-access buttons for everything you have launchers for. You should also be able to disable an app's ability to run widgets.

3) Maybe this one should have been first. Can I please have a faster way to turn WiFi and Bluetooth on and off? PLEASE? It's not a big deal on my phone, but I typically leave my iPad in airplane mode so it lasts longer between charges. I'd sure love to be able to switch it in and out of that mode more quickly. It's silly that I have to think about jail breaking just to get something as simple as that.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2012-03-14, 08:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
The first three things that come to mind are pretty basic. I'm sure I have more, but these are the ones I want most:

1) Unified address/search bar in Safari. I think it's pretty likely that we'll get this one. Mountain Lion's version of Safari has it, so we'll probably see it in iOS 6 as well.
Yeah, it's probably simple enough to port it over. (Unlike, say, Extensions, which haven't made it to Mobile Safari yet.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
3) Maybe this one should have been first. Can I please have a faster way to turn WiFi and Bluetooth on and off? PLEASE? It's not a big deal on my phone, but I typically leave my iPad in airplane mode so it lasts longer between charges. I'd sure love to be able to switch it in and out of that mode more quickly. It's silly that I have to think about jail breaking just to get something as simple as that.
I mentally included this in the Notification Center plug-ins bit. In iOS 5, SBSettings will (optionally?) let you use the Notification Center to place settings widgets, so if they were to provide such an API, that might work without a jailbreak. With that and OpenVPN added, a jailbreak would be virtually pointless for me.
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addison
Formerly “AWM”
 
Join Date: May 2009
 
2012-03-14, 08:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
3) Maybe this one should have been first. Can I please have a faster way to turn WiFi and Bluetooth on and off? PLEASE? It's not a big deal on my phone, but I typically leave my iPad in airplane mode so it lasts longer between charges. I'd sure love to be able to switch it in and out of that mode more quickly. It's silly that I have to think about jail breaking just to get something as simple as that.
Absolutely. One of the nicer features of Android is the power control widget which allows you to turn on/off BT, WIfi, GPS, and sync. No digging into the settings menu.

I think the notifications could use some work too. I find it too easy to forget about messages in iOS. You get the initial notification but after that all you have is the badge which is easy to overlook in my opinion. I still like the way Android does it by leaving an icon in the status bar which stays there until you address it. Maybe it's just what I'm used to but it seems better.
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2012-03-14, 10:12

I would like the settings bundle information to be encrypted. I hate having to keep a settings panel within my apps because of passwords/usernames/etc stored in plain text. It would be really nice to get these screens out and reduce the number of view controllers.

Also, more granular notification settings for audio/vibrate/etc.

I want the following configuration but cannot get it currently:

MUTE SWITCH OFF:
Phone audibly rings and vibrates
Notifications vibrate

MUTE SWITCH ON:
Phone vibrates
Notifications are silenced and do NOT vibrate

...and calling/e-mailing/texting ex-girlfriends on the off-chance they'll invite you over for some "old time's sake" no-strings couch gymnastics...
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Wyatt
On twitter: @bwyatt
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
 
2012-03-14, 10:53

I'd love that same audio setup, but with alarms sounding regardless of the switch position. I use my phone was my alarm clock, but this setup would let me use notification sounds, which I can't really use right now. I'd be pissed if I woke up in the middle of the night because of an ESPN notification.
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-14, 11:43

I want the mute switch to mute ALL SOUND. For example, right now with the mute switch on, if you go to the youtube app and watch something, you get sound. Or any kind of video.

It's not too much to ask, right?
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hmurchison
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LV 426
Send a message via ICQ to hmurchison  
2012-03-14, 12:24

1. New Mapping technology based on recent Apple acquisitions

2. Turn by Turn GPS using new Maps API

3. Location aware profiles giving me the ability to change landing pages based on location (home, work)

4. AirDrop

5. Text Engine -so that I can have a unified subset of text editing features

6. Big email changes. Group support, better searching facilities, password protection,

7. Auth API - My Apple ID should be able to authenticate against FB, Twitter and most other auth systems

8. Siri API and control of basic settings (Wifi, Bluetooth, Location Profile etc)

9. Scrollable folders that hold 20 apps via simple UI to invoke dragging the window

10 Notification Centre- VIP, iCloud support, more widget support. Side display on iPad

11. Easier way to move apps to different landing pages. I'd prefer to target folders by name.

12. Services X - Sand box friendly inter-app communication

13. Universal wish list and customization settings in all iTunes stores.

14. Improved options to allow a small list of preferred apps to open a given file (PDF, JPEG, etc)

15. iCloud file browser - apps, IIRC, can only view the documents assigned to their own unique app ID. I want an Apple tool that gives me a wide view of all iCloud data

omgwtfbbq
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-14, 12:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
The first three things that come to mind are pretty basic. I'm sure I have more, but these are the ones I want most:

1) Unified address/search bar in Safari. I think it's pretty likely that we'll get this one. Mountain Lion's version of Safari has it, so we'll probably see it in iOS 6 as well.
No thanks!

But speaking of search. How about an option to use a search engine of you own choosing, such as DuckDuckGo? Now that Google and Apple aren't BFFs anymore I see no reason why us loyal Apple customers shouldn't gain this benefit.

Another simple feature that I would love to see, would be if the maps app could have feature were it would put your location co-ordinates in a text message so that you could easily text someone your location. This should of course be complemented by iOS being able to recognise said location coordinates in a text message and show them in the maps app. I've seen so many movies and TV shows where characters casually tells the guy they are talking to "come to my coordinates" and I'm terribly jealous. Also, this looks just like a job for Siri to handle.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2012-03-14, 13:02

I only have a few things I'd like to see:
1. Improved stability (although 5.1 seems good)
2. Maps app using GPS rather than requiring data connection (ability to preload a trip for example). I currently use TomTom app, but it would be nice if the maps showed landmarks the way the Maps app does.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2012-03-14, 13:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
No thanks!

But speaking of search. How about an option to use a search engine of you own choosing, such as DuckDuckGo? Now that Google and Apple aren't BFFs anymore I see no reason why us loyal Apple customers shouldn't gain this benefit.
Because Apple likes to keep things simple, and because, presumably, they also don't mind the money they make in search engine deals.

I'd love to see DDG support from some browser maker, but I'm not holding my breath. After all, even the allegedly "free" Firefox makes most of its money through Google.
  quote
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-14, 13:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Because Apple likes to keep things simple, and because, presumably, they also don't mind the money they make in search engine deals.

I'd love to see DDG support from some browser maker, but I'm not holding my breath. After all, even the allegedly "free" Firefox makes most of its money through Google.
DDG support as in "inancial support? Yes, that would be very nice.

On a related note. One of the things I like about Apple is that it is me, the customer, who pays Apple and therefore Apple build products that serve my interest firstly. This whole sponsored search deal is the worst exception from that rule and I would really like to see Apple put an end to it. So let that be my primary feature request to Apple as a company:

Only take money from me! I won't mind premium prices if I also get premium privacy.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2012-03-14, 14:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
DDG support as in "inancial support? Yes, that would be very nice.
No, I meant as in Safari technically providing DDG as a feature. DDG isn't going to financially support Apple; it's essentially a one-man operation. Far more likely, Apple might decide to support DDG instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
On a related note. One of the things I like about Apple is that it is me, the customer, who pays Apple and therefore Apple build products that serve my interest firstly. This whole sponsored search deal is the worst exception from that rule and I would really like to see Apple put an end to it. So let that be my primary feature request to Apple as a company:

Only take money from me! I won't mind premium prices if I also get premium privacy.
Luckily, Google still happens to deliver a pretty damn good search experience, but that's in part chicken-and-egg. If more people were to use, say, DDG, they'd have an opportunity to refine it (much like millions using Siri while in "Beta" will let Apple tweak its quality before it goes final, too).
  quote
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-14, 15:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
No, I meant as in Safari technically providing DDG as a feature. DDG isn't going to financially support Apple; it's essentially a one-man operation. Far more likely, Apple might decide to support DDG instead.
I meant it the other way around. It would be nice if Apple supported DDG financially. I'm perfectly aware that this doesn't make sense thinking along the current lines of search engine business, but if you pretend that a search engine with good privacy offers extra value to your customers then it might make sense. My argument in favour of this would of course be to reiterate what I wrote in my previous post: Only take money from me! I won't mind premium prices if I also get premium privacy.

Ah, I'm being too idealistic here.
  quote
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2012-03-14, 15:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
if you pretend that a search engine with good privacy offers extra value to your customers
There's precedent for that: Safari was the first browser to ship with stricter cookie defaults, and the first browser to introduce Private Browsing.

So, I guess, maybe?

I think they're just not willing to take the risk of having an engine with such poor (at the moment) results.
  quote
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-14, 15:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I think they're just not willing to take the risk of having an engine with such poor (at the moment) results.
Then they could just make it an option for those willing to make the tradeoff.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2012-03-14, 15:45

Sure, but even the three-options thing seems like a concession they made to avoid antitrust trouble, rather than something they liked to do. It's an awkward preference to offer. The average user, at best, will respond: "Why is the computer asking me what search engine to use? I don't know! You tell me!"

(The EU-enforced Windows browser choice app, of course, is far worse. How are 90% of people supposed to answer that in any meaningful manner?)
  quote
Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-14, 16:27

It doesn't need to prompt anyone and Google can remain the default option. The ones who know what DDG is will also be smart enough to find the relevant menu in the prefrences app.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2012-03-15, 17:25

A couple more nice to haves in iOS 6:

Multi user support - I've seen many people use their iPads both for work stuff like email and then handing it over to the kids once they get home, so the little ones won't bother mommy while she's busy with the brandy. Or perhaps someone is using their iPad both for private stuff and want's to use it to play music at a party where all their friends are going to use it to pick tracks. In both cases some sort of user discrimination would be advantageous.

Allowance for 3rd party apps that replicate Apple app functionality - Personally I think Apple's apps are just fine, but I acknowledge that other users might think differently. Case in point; Ars' review of Sparrow for iOS. This app could have been a lot better if Apple wasn't guarding Mail's privileged position so jealously. Sure this will add some confusion, but as the iOS platform matures, I think more users will begin to ask themselves why they are forced to use Safari as their only browser.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-04-04, 12:41

After listening to the most recent episode of Hypercritical (John Siracusa's podcast with Dan Benjamin) at 5by5, I see where Mugge talks about the same thing Siracusa was calling for...user accounts.

I know the iPad is "affordable" for those with disposable cash lying around, but for many in the real world, an iPad is often shared by a single household. In fact, that's all I've ever seen, the past couple of years.

I'm sure Apple is aware of this. And with things like games or logging in to various sites, the current approach can be a bit messy and cumbersome.

But I'm not sure how it could be implemented easily and efficiently. However, I trust Apple to rise to the challenge...

But I'm sure daddy would like his Angry Bird and Draw Something scoring kept separate from junior's and the wife's. And the same goes for everyone else. And the same for Facebook, Twitter, etc. usage.

Some sort of tight, lean "fast user switching" where, if desired, a multi-user household could each have their own accounts, where game scores, app data, Safari bookmarks, e-mail, login to various sites, etc. could be kept separate and maintained for each user. They've mastered this in OS X, so it couldn't be too hard to bring something similar to iOS, as these things are only increasing in popularity.

I can see that happening, heading into this post-PC existence and with the hardware and OS becoming more powerful and capable with each passing year.

And if not a full-blown "everyone gets their own account", then perhaps some sort of "child-proof setting" so when junior wants to play with the iPad after dinner, you can log into this special area/user account where he/she only has access to certain apps, websites, etc. And they can't go in and delete your photos or send out crazy-sounding gibberish e-mails out of your account? Right now if you hand an iPad to a kid, unless you go in and tweak/change a bunch of things in separate places (then remember to switch them all back when he's done), you're pretty much handing him the world...for better or worse. He can see or hear anything, or have full access to your stuff...some of which might be important and, ideally, not messed with.

Logging into some sort of controlled, restricted "kid" environment (where you can set up access, privileges and the like in a single place, beforehand) might save users a lot of hassle or grief. Every time I'm around my niece or nephew or a friend's kid, and they want to play with "Paul's phone", I fall on my knees and beg for this feature...



I'd love to just be able to flick a "monkey-proof" switch in Settings, where, beforehand, I've disabled texting, emailing, access to photos, some barriers on websites and just have it to where music, specified apps and allowed websites are about the only things the little cookie-cruncher can use or access.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2012-04-04 at 12:55.
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