The honeymoon is officially over. With the release of iPhone 4 over two weeks ago, Apple has been hit by everything except the kitchen sink. From the 3G iPad privacy concerns to the most recent App Store hack, Apple has been in full damage control mode. This makes it the perfect time to add insult to injury. Read my 5 suggestions on how to improve iOS 4 after the break.
1- Lack of User Customization: Sure, iOS 4 adds the ability to choose your home screen wallpaper. That’s about the extent of the customization experience. What the iPhone still lacks are the basics. There is still no way to add your own custom sounds for SMS messages. You’re still limited to the default selections. There are many apps that use their own sounds for notifications but the user cannot select their own sounds for their own use. Same goes for FaceTime. There is no way to distinguish FaceTime callers without physically looking at the screen. Sure, it’s not that big a deal but it would be nice.
2- Wireless Hotspot: This is one that really bugs me. How is it that if I jailbreak my iOS device and pay for an app like MyWi, I can instantly create a wireless hotspot? But if I go the legit route of paying the additional $20 a month on top of a $24.95 data plan (assuming you’re willing to give up your unlimited plan) I can only tether 2GB of data total and I’m still not able to make a wireless hotspot. I would have to tether using USB or Bluetooth. The iPhone and iPad are obviously capable of creating wireless hotspots so why not make it easy for the average consumer?
3- Organized Notifications: It seems like Apple fails to make decent use of the lock screen. If I have multiple notifications, right now I only see the first notification on the lock screen. Once I unlock my device, I am hit by a flurry of unorganized notifications. Apple needs to take a cue from the Palm WebOS notification system. Users should be able to decide whether they want to see multiple notifications at once and also have the ability to save those notifications for future viewing.
4- Wireless Syncing: Here’s one area where Microsoft has somewhat succeeded over Apple. I remember buying a Zune in late 2007 and being able to update and manage my media wirelessly with my laptop. We are now nearing late 2010. The technology exists to accomplish this type of wireless syncing (it exists for the iPhone if you’re willing to jailbreak). It is time Apple cuts the cord and saves iPhone users a few bucks. Especially since a dock is no longer included with any of their devices.
5- Email: Yes, I love the new threaded and unified inbox but some of us need a bit more functionality. If you’re in your unified inbox, there is no simple indication telling you what inbox the current message is in. A simple color coded email or icon at the top of the email would make email much easier. There also needs to be an easier way to add media while still composing an email. If I need to add a photo from my camera roll, I have to either copy it from the camera roll or start my composing process from within the Photos app. Apple could simply add a function to the current Copy and Paste dialogue box. They could add something that says “Insert” when you tap and hold inside an email message which would allow you access to not only photos but apps such as GoodReader or even the PDF portion of iBooks. This would greatly improve an already outstanding email app.
Well, that’s enough of my ranting and raving. iOS 4 is definitely the best iPhone OS we’ve ever seen. I just think it can improve even more. Hopefully we won’t have to wait until WWDC 2011 to see some of these improvements.