My iOS 5 wishlist

Sure the next iPhone will be exciting, but I most anticipate the next version of iOS.

The first iPhone debuted in 2007. The operating system was groundbreaking at launch. Updates each year have brought exciting new features including push notifications and more options for apps to integrate with the phone.

But now, five years after the debut of iOS, I see a need for a major overhaul of the operating system.

Here’s my wish list, inspired by a MacRumor discussion. * Shows my most-wanted improvements.

*Better looks: iOS looked cool and flashy at launch, but I’m growing tired of the light blue and pinstripes

*Push notification management / Manager bar: A bar at the top of the screen that you can drag down (like in the Android OS) that lets you change various Settings (rather than putting this at the bottom in the multi-tasking bar) such as Brightness, Volume and Orientation lock. This bar would include a history of notifications. Touching a notification would take you to the related action in an app. Option to hide all notifications.

*Faster processing: The various animations between functions all add up to a frustrating experience – particularly if you start paying close attention. Why do I need to see the homescreen zoom in every time I open the phone?

*Dynamically-updated app icons: One of the coolest apps out there is Calvetica. But, the app is forced to show today’s date by using the badge counter. Sure, it works – but wouldn’t it be better if the icon could actually change every day? This is inspired, in part, by the latest Windows Mobile system that lets you quickly glance at your screen and see what you need to know – rather than forcing users to spend time going into each app to understand why a badge counter showed up (or worse, no badge at all and you have to manually check to see what is new).

*Dashboard: I’d like the option to use and customize a dashboard. Something that quickly shows me what I need to know – without the need of opening the apps. I’d like for this to be the lock screen and maybe it could scroll vertically or horizontally to allow for whatever I want to see, including the time, date, my next three upcoming calendar appointments, the latest 3 mail message subject lines, weather, to-do items, missed calls, etc.

One central scanner: An Apple-made app that can scan barcodes and QR codes. Sure there are free apps out there, but it would be great if the camera app added this as an option and then you could be sent to the applicable app – be it a calorie counter, Safari, Twitter or something else. I’d be ridiculously excited if there was also a text scanner that could convert images into text that could be pasted into any app.

*Wireless sync: I’d love to be able to sync to my phone to my Mac without a cord.

Custom SMS tones: For a good laugh check out the alert section in Settings. Apple added sounds beyond the traditional six, but they all make me laugh. Come on – please find a way to be able to add or create custom alert sounds without rooting.

*App and screen manager: Allow for side-scrolling within a folder so you can add more than 12 apps per folder (less repeating of folder genres). Allow users to choose an image to use as the icon for folders (rather than showing mini-images of the apps within the folder). Let users also modify the icons of any app.

*Automatically push application updates: Have application updates for my apps get pushed to my device and alert me via the app icon and on my dashboard.

Documents manager: Could function similar to the Camera Roll that is embedded in the Camera app. Would be particularly useful for iPads. Could offer auto-backup to iDisk or your choice (Dropbox, SugarSync).

*Voice command mode: Make it easy for users to operate the phone via voice. Improve the voice recognition. Allow apps to integrate with this. Would be a great opportunity for Apple to market the new operating system as making it easier for people to be safe drivers while still using the phone. Let users use the manager bar (idea below) to turn the phone into “Drive” mode to make everything voice-activated. Automatically turn off the voice-activation mode while talking on the phone (so you don’t say “off” on a phone call and the phone turns off).

Improved keyboard: Look at making a Swype competitor – the No. 1 thing I wish I had on my iPhone.

Live wallpapers: Wallpapers that change throughout the day with more available for sale from the iTunes App Store.

Allow FaceTime over 3G/4G: This is on the carriers but it should still happen if they want FaceTiming to be the next big thing and if they want to remain competitive over Android devices.

*Allow app downloads and installs in the background: I cannot stand downloading an app or an app update, getting forced to “watch” the download and then I have to navigate back to look at other apps or app updates.

Kill all background apps: Option in Settings to kill all apps currently running in the background.

*Improve Game Center: Require all “Game Center” apps to include achievements and/or leaderboards, improve the load time (so, in part, that people can use Game Center as an easy game launcher). Add a Game Center tab in the iTunes App Store so you can see only Game Center-enabled apps by category and rating and downloads and most recent.

Better mail app: Option to “star” or bookmark e-mails. If you are offline and cannot send a message add it to a queue of actions to perform once back online. Option to create and use an HTML-based signature. Option to add content such as photos from within the Mail app rather than only from the Camera Roll.

Better calendar app: Option to choose the color per calendar type. Improved “day” view that looks like an agenda for faster viewing, turn phone horizontal to see a week-agenda-view of your calendar (like in Calvetica).

Better camera app: Separate the camera roll from the camera so that you can still have lots of photos and the camera takes much less time to load. In the Camera Roll app automatically add links to all the user’s photo manipulation and manager apps. From the Camera app automatically add links to all the user’s photo-taking apps.

Better iPod app: iTunes Cloud. Access to all your music without downloading the music to your device. Should include the option to star certain music as available Offline. Ability to delete, rename and add news songs form your iPhone and it automatically syncs back to your iTunes. Built-in AM/FM tuner (especially good for emergencies when you need to tap into the public service emergency stations).

Better Phone and Messaging apps: Option to add photos for your favorites for faster visual recognition and dialing. Auto-response option when in “drive” mode.

Better YouTube app: Option in Setting so that videos can play within Safari on the page rather than always opening the YouTube app. Options to like or dislike videos. Ability to comment. A tab of recommended videos for the specific user.

Better Safari app: Option for apps to connect with Safari by adding extensions/plugins such as bookmarking services, enable Flash, etc.

Option to hide or remove pre-loaded apps: Not everyone owns Stocks. Letting users hide or remove the stock apps means someone could only have their own apps of choice and not have a folder of unwanted apps.

My favorite iPad entertainment (so far) includes Plants Vs. Zombies and Netflix

My favorite iPad entertainment apps (so far):

My top 2:

  • Netflix!
  • Plants Vs. Zombies

My other favorites:

  • Fruit Ninja HD
  • Angry Birds HD
  • Doodle Blast HD
  • Harbor Master
  • Dizzypad HD
  • Godfinger
  • Pac-Man
  • Scrabble
  • Sneezies HD
  • Skrambler X
  • Words with Friends HD
  • Zen Bound 2

Multi-tasking coming to next-gen iPhone OS?

AppleInsider: Apple this summer will go a long way towards silencing critics and catering to one of the most prevalent demands of its iPhone user base, when it introduces a multitasking solution through the handset’s 4.0 software update that will finally allow several third party apps to run concurrently and in the background.

theAppleBlog: The iPhone has a number of advantages over its smartphone competitors, but one thing it hasn’t had that users have been clamoring for is true multitasking. Push notifications were intended as a workaround designed to give users the ability to stay up-to-date with multiple apps without having to actually run them at the same time.

TechCrunch: Apple has set the standard that once every year they will release a new version of the iPhone. It stands to reason that this year will be no different, with a new model likely coming sometime this summer. But arguably just as important as Apple’s hardware refresh is the accompanying software refresh that comes with it as well. And that’s why it shouldn’t be surprising at all that whispers of iPhone OS 4.0 are starting to grow.

Mobile apps for journalists: Share and discover

Here goes a fun project I thought up after being asked for lists of cool apps.

Sure I’ve used a slew of apps, but who am I to be the best source of the best mobile apps? What would be best is if any one could add to one central list the best apps. And, let’s do this for journalists specifically (though others are free to use this list as well).

Thanks for joining in this fun mobile journalism project!

Used a smartphone for a while?

Pick a form and fill it out for an app other journalists should use. Explain why. If you have lots of apps to suggest, fill out the form several times – once for each app.

Did you just buy a smartphone?

Pick a results page and browse to find cool apps you should check out.

ANDROID

Form: http://bit.ly/journappsandroidform

Results: http://bit.ly/journappsandroidresults

BLACKBERRY

Form: http://bit.ly/journappsblackberryresults

Results: http://bit.ly/journappsblackberryresults

IPHONE

Form: http://bit.ly/journappsiphoneform

Results: http://bit.ly/journappsiphoneresults

PALM

Form: http://bit.ly/journappspalmform

Results: http://bit.ly/journappspalmresults

WINDOWS

Form: http://bit.ly/journappswindowsform

Results: http://bit.ly/journappswindowsresults

AdMob founder: Mobile is the present, no longer just the future

If you haven’t already heard, Google announced today that it will acquire AdMob – a mobile advertising company.

Such a significant investment ($750 million to be exact) is a significant sign that mobile is the present, not just the future.

In a letter about the acquisition by AdMob Founder Omar Hamoui, he writes that “until now, it has always felt like those of us involved in this space played second fiddle to our online brethren. I believe that time is over.”