Wednesday, May 22, 2013

iOS Wish List: Native Apps

In my last entry I talked about trimming the fat and removing non essential utility apps. Today I'd like to talk about the apps that would be sticking around and some things that could stand a change. 

This one is a biggie for me. Probably because I use it all the time. And there are a couple of things that rather irk me about how Mail is handled in iOS. 
First is setting up accounts. There doesn't seem to be a logic to the whole 'pick an account type' screen. The plain 'enter your email address and password' of the Mac OS version is much less confusing. And they need to update their settings lists including perhaps some warnings for things like ISPs that don't always work if you aren't connected to their network (road runner I'm looking at you). It should be that hard to have a more complete list as they can put it on a server that the device connects to (you have to be online anyway to set up email). 
Second, rules. Now this could be tricky with all the various email services. Especially if you want something that can sync to other devices and computers. But at the least they should be able to do it with their own icloud email. The rules are there if you log into the web version so how about letting us make/edit them on our devices. Included in this would be junk mail tagging, not unlike how Mac Mail handles it. 
Third, mailboxes. This one irks me both on devices and Macs. When you have multiple accounts the Inbox becomes a kind of folder in which all the account Inboxes live. You can either look at each one, one at a time, or all of them together. But if you try to look at Sent, Drafts, Trash, you have to go each account at a time. It would be nice if  they would pick one system and make it universal (my vote goes for the way Inbox is set up). Or even get rid of the idea of rules and moving things into folders by hand and go for something like the Smart system that appears in many apps. Messages could be tagged with keywords and views would be created on the fly, either all keywords or allow us to choose those keywords that would create a 'view'. 
And last, the interface. There's a lot of press about various third party apps that use swipes rather than tapping icons to perform various actions. I find that notion appealing although perhaps only as an option at least for now. Those that would rather the toolbar would be able to  have it. To me the idea might be a swipe from the left to pull up reply, forward, save images, print. A swipe from the right would give you delete, label, etc. And perhaps even a way to remove attachments and keep the message as computer based mail programs can. 

Couple of peeves in this program. First is that it isn't compatible with 3rd party services like AIM. But that's minor to me compared to the other bits. One is that you can't see the time stamp on any message. Yes if there's a bit of a gap in time it will toss up a stamp but that gap has no rhyme or reason. The other biggie is how group messages get split up in odd ways. Both iMessages and SMS. If you send something to a group it doesn't always stay with the group. Also you should be able to attach new names or only reply to select members of the group and have all that info available to review. Sure it might require some kind of Chat Heads marking but to me there seems to be no logical reason why they couldn't do it. Plus how about the ability to sync SMS to Messages on the computer as a form of backup.

Most of Safari is okay as far as it goes but one that pops out is the Reading List. It would be great to select a size for how much goes into the list memory. When you are getting close to the limit a warning pops up so that a user can't add more without cleaning some stuff out. 

Big one here, which as I recall was actually in iOS 5. Creating and editing groups. Add to this moving contacts between groups (Exchange for security reasons would likely be excluded). Real merging of information to the same card. And better support for including social accounts like Flickr, Instagram etc. And a big big one, being able to input a group name in Mail, Messages etc and have it auto resolve to the member info. 

There's a bunch of stuff in this one. Handwriting support. Making folders, moving things between them and even accounts. Support for images. Choices for paper color and type (blank, lines, grid) for each note. More font choices and even a few color choices for letters/drawings. Ability to include voice clips (even the melding of the two apps) would be a nice touch perhaps even with the ability to record and have time linked written notes. Might be a bit much this time around but as a future development it wouldn't be bad. Or go the other  route and ditch a notes app all together. It's basically independent and there are tons of options in the App Store. 

Much of what these two apps need comes from the store side but there are two things that jump straight to my mind for the local apps. One is the same 'show purchases in the cloud' option from desktop iTunes for Movies/TV and purchased music for those not using iTunes Match. The other is support for LP and Extras at least for iPads and Apple TV

My big thing with the photo app is albums. First and foremost is that they don't sync to the computer. Utterly annoying. Fix that and it fixes a lot. Another thing that would be nice would be separating things that were taken from the camera and things that are saved/Screenshots with controls about what goes up to Photo Stream. 

Game Center
Okay a lot of folks don't like this particular service but when developers fully support it I don't find it that horrid. But there's a couple of bits that could be better. For starters, being able to see Challenges we send as well as what was received and beaten. And how about a little messaging. For those that really dislike Game Center, how about being able to disable the whole thing so it's not cluttering up the home screen rather than just disabling adding friends etc.

Rather like Game Center, many folks would like to see this icon disappear. But for those of us that use it, how about some sorting options and real searching for new titles. When you go to the Store you are going to the whole App Store. Once in that category there's no sub categories. Pain in the butt finding anything. 

Aside from wishing more companies would support Passbook and even just have apps so I can reduce my paper junk mail, coupon clipping etc (really Ralphs with your member card you still print my rewards coupons) I wish there was a way built into the system to add cards that don't have an app

One general note for several apps that i would love to see is a swipe to reveal and hide the lists screen. I'm talking mailbox lists, note lists, even the bookmarks pop up. I'm not a big fan of the pop up myself so I'd like to see that changed or us given an option so the popup folks can pop and I and other like minded can swipe. 

I'm sure there are other things but these are the ones that stick in my mind the most. 

1 comment:

  1. Here's a simple one for Safari. How about getting rid of the dedicated search box? I cannot tell you how many times I have typed my search terms in the address box. Desktop Safari got rid of that search box. Chrome never had it. Opera still has it but you can search from the address box too.