Friday, May 24, 2013

iOS Wish List: Apple's App Store apps

Okay so these aren't really part of iOS but since they go together I figure it's worth talking about them. Well not all of them but the six biggie's that make up Apple's classic iLife and iWork collections

Rather than break it down app by app, I want to talk about some general ideas. Some of these are applicable to even third party apps. 

There need to be more options. And preferably on the OS level so we don't have 15 copies of every font filling up space. Doesn't have to be everything. Just perhaps a top ten or so like Arial, Baskerville, Chalkboard, Courier, Gill Sans and so on. Since these would be on the OS level they would be open for any app to use from Mail, Notepad, Pages to whatever.

Plug-ins and Downloadable Content
This is a biggie for me. The apps should be open to plug-ins not unlike how Audiobus not works with Garageband. And we should be able to download more whatevers for apps. Like more sounds in Garageband, more templates in Pages, Keynote etc. More themes in iMovie, brushes and filters for iPhoto, more functions (majors built in, more unique ones as DLC) in Numbers and even things like EndNote and MathType. These last two could be very very useful for all the students at schools that are moving to iPads in place of textbooks and notebooks.
And this sort of thing could apply to the built in apps as well. Perhaps the other papers etc for Notepad I mentioned a couple of days ago could be DLC as could plug ins for sharing to social nets. 

Compatibility with desktop versions
This is another biggie to me. All the apps in general need fine tuning so they work seamlessly with their big brother versions. UI features should use the same icons and arrangements. And as much as the iOS devices have the power they should have the same features. And on top of this there is no reason why the apps couldn't be used in controller modes with their bigger versions. Adobe has created apps for this kind of purpose. At least with the iLife apps it could be a create tool. In particular say being able to use the iOS version of iPhoto to paint brushes onto photos on the desktop. Or iMovieMac being able to open trailers and not just projects from iMovieiOS and having the same themes etc across both of them. (That said, I also wish the desktop versions of these apps was more plug in friendly)

Okay I'm going to go contrary to what I said above about only talking in general ideas to address some of the other apps. 

Podcasts and iTunes U
From what I have been able to suss out there is no syncing of subscriptions between devices and desktop and I'd like to see that. Even if it's just a sort of 'in the cloud' list of what was added on the other items. Since we can now stream content why not have the whole list with some kind of 'update on this device' that would send new episode alerts or download the latest item or whatever. 

Three things in this one. 

  • First, better organizing perhaps even with tagging items with keywords either by hand or via metadata added on the store level. Some of this can be done in the List Mode but not in the Shelf Mode. It either needs to be consistent in both or dump the shelves/collections. But it needs to be more flexible, allowing items to be in more than one collection and allowing control over sub sorts. So say I want to sort by subject collection then I should be able to sort by author within each. And dump the separate 'in the cloud' view. If we choose to see purchases then we see them. In all sorts, even be able to tag them. 
  • Second, we should be able to add notes without having to highlight something. Margin notes are a common tool for students and they are cumbersome in the current version. And even perhaps create multimedia notes like audio clips, add photos. 
  • Third, linking between pages and even books. Another trick many students use is to refer to other passages of text or even other books. 
Find my Friends
I would almost rather this was just gone. I like the idea of it but I'm not sure it needs to be a separate app. Perhaps it and the control board for Game Center could be morphed into one app and the actual map display could be some kind of overlay of in the Maps app

I'm sure there's more but that's all that comes to mind today. What thinks would you like to see changed.

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