Apple has already confirmed that they will be showcasing new versions of iOS and OS X at the WWDC developers conference taking place later on today. We’ve seen a lot in the press about the new interface of iOS 7 designed by Jony Ive, but aesthetics aside, here are a few of the features our developers are hoping to see in the new mobile operating system.
Siri SDK access
We’ve wanted this since Siri was first released. On the iPhone 4S, Siri was in BETA and on the 5, the voice recognition software became more intelligent. Now what we’d like is to see an API that allows developers to use Siri’s services beyond the basic dictation abilities. This will allow us to do some really innovative work with our apps, in both the enterprise and consumer sectors.
We’re also hoping to see Siri become more contextual. The voice recognition software could integrate with other apps; take the clock and weather or travel apps for example, and Siri could wake you up to give you an intelligent overview of your day – “Today the weather is going to reach 19 degrees celsius and your 7am train to London is running on time.”
Business and personal split
With Apple taking a strong hold on the enterprise market and also the BYOD movement, iPhones and iPads have made their way into the workplace and are there to stay. Employees are now using their personal mobile devices for work and play, and so there is a real demand to keep personal and business apps separate. Although there are a number of companies already competing in this space, it would be interesting to see Apple tackling this as well.
This is currently one of the user experiences that Apple lags behind in compared to its competitors. For many people, when they get into the office, they require things like Bluetooth keywords, secure networks and perhaps different sound settings. Changing all of these settings means that you have to go into various menus to set them up. We’re hoping to see the ability for users to set geo-fences around set locations so they can customise the settings on their devices for different situations.
Live app icons
The weather is not always 23 degrees celsius and sunny, especially when you live in the UK. Being able to display top level information from apps in app icons will fill a gap that has been long missing from iOS. With rumours of the iWatch circulating the press, live app icons on iOS may be a signal of how information will be displayed on wearable technology as well.
Better app communication
At the moment, inter-app communication and document sharing could definitely be improved. What we’d like to see is much better inter-app communication, which will allow us to share documents and information between apps without jumping so many hoops from a development point of view and will also provide a smoother experience from a user perspective.
AirDrop on iOS
Being able to easily share files with colleagues or friends would be a great feature for iOS 7. It is an underutilised part of OS X that could be boosted to popularity if enabled on iOS devices, especially considering the popularity of iPads in business.
“Everyone in the office is looking forward to seeing the new design, even our Android developers! If Jonathan Ive can do to the software what he’s done with the hardware, it will recapture the imagination of the public. It’s hard to fault iOS on its usability but its design is now looking slightly dated. We’ve seen what is possible from a design point from third party apps, so seeing the refreshed iOS interface should reinvigorate some of Apple’s Think Different attitude.” – Mark Mason, CEO, Mubaloo