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View Full Version : iOS 7 Needs Basic Features More Than New Design


irDigital0l
May 9, 2013, 07:00 PM
Lots of people have been talking and complaining about iOS's current UI design as well as the reported flat design for iOS 7. Honestly I rather see Apple focus more on functionality in iOS and the core problems associated with it rather than trying to overhaul the entire UI and design.

A boring and out-of-date UI is a problem but iOS has a bigger problem than that and its hidden. The problem is while iOS is pretty solid it sucks at some really basic tasks.

Mail
Attaching photos and videos in Mail was painful before iOS 6. Thankfully Apple added that feature in iOS 6 but even then its still somewhat annoying to use. I don't see how a modern mobile OS doesn't have the option to attach documents easily. Organization and searching is also flawed but adding attachments is a basic feature that needs to be addressed.

Notes
Notes on iOS is really lackluster especially compared to Notes on OS X. You can't attach photos or attachments in your notes in iOS. That means even with iCloud syncing, your notes are pretty much useless if you add a photo in OS X, they won't appear in iOS. I don't want Notes to be as complicated as Evernote, but it needs at least some basic features that all notes apps have now. Rich text, folders, and tags need to be added.

Photos
Apple gets really contradicting here. All the photos and videos you take with Camera app goes into the Photos app yet you can only have photos in Photo Stream. You cannot share or stream recorded video which is hypocritical. Speaking of photos and videos, organization is a pain in the current Photos app. There's no way to sort photos and videos separately and organizing albums is painful.

Camera
Speaking of photos, I don't see how the Camera app doesn't have a timer and burst mode. These aren't gimmicks like most of the camera features in the GS4. Even Camera+ has these option so if a popular 3rd party app on the App Store can have the feature its almost impossible for Apple to not be able to do it. Think about it, Apple added panorama mode before a timer and burst mode. Its a basic feature that all cameras have. Panorama looks like a gimmick compared to a timer and burst mode.

Game Center
Probably the only app that absolutely needs a massive redesign. Other apps might have bad designs but are still unusable. The number one essential feature that Game Center is missing is an inbox for messages, friend requests, invites, etc. Apple often compares and touts on Game Center is way better than Xbox Live yet Game Center doesn't even have this basic feature for any social gaming network (a way to communicate to other players).

Files
Mentioned this in my Mail complaint briefly but iOS needs some sort of Finder or easier way to locate and access downloaded files. Using iBooks as a pdf manager is not efficient. Same with iWork, its really inefficient have to email the document within the apps. There needs to be a place where these can all be done outside of the apps.

iCloud
The hidden and real problem related to iOS is iCloud. iCloud works but also doesn't work many times. There's no interactivity between apps, developers still aren't embracing it, and syncing for iTunes Match and other things is just way too complicated. It succeeds where Mobileme failed, but fails where Apple wants to take it to.

For example, Google Docs allows for simultaneous work, something iWork suite desperately needs. iCloud isn't just about a single individual as seen with Shared Photo Streams as well as sharing options for calendar and reminders but the interactivity between these apps is completely broken. Apps suck at communicating with other apps.

Notification Sync
I honestly thought that Notification Center in iOS 5 solved this problem, but it didn't. Its really annoying when you get a notification on your iPhone but once you complete the task it disappears in Notification Center on your iPhone but NOT your iPad or other device. They don't sync. iCloud was suppose to just work, this doesn't at all.

To recap, I'm not really asking for much. This is 2013, there should be a way for me to easily attach documents in mail. Camera is one of the most used iPhone apps yet it doesn't even have the most basic features. I expect especially with Apple pushing the post PC era to have all my notifications sync properly and iCloud to work well. Most importantly, I want Apple to not stick to the past to firmly and open up apps and services and software can connect to each other. Give Siri and Notification Center APIs to developers, make iCloud easier for developers, etc.

Excited for iOS 7 but I hope Apple realizes where the actual problems and feature are.

Edit: Some of you guys had some great points that I missed, added them up on the list. Again these features aren't about customization, they're just really basic features that is lacking in iOS.

kl323
May 10, 2013, 12:31 AM
I'm also hoping there's better "sharing" of information between apps.

For instance, if I wanna share a Yelp location... I don't want to be limited to SMS or Email.. What if I have a third party messenger app, etc.

That's one of the many things I miss from Android. If I ever wanna share something, upload something, I will always have my options.

irDigital0l
May 10, 2013, 12:57 AM
I'm also hoping there's better "sharing" of information between apps.

For instance, if I wanna share a Yelp location... I don't want to be limited to SMS or Email.. What if I have a third party messenger app, etc.

That's one of the many things I miss from Android. If I ever wanna share something, upload something, I will always have my options.

I think it'll be a long time before there's even a possibility of 3rd party. Apple is already having a hard time with stock apps communicating with each other and iCloud.

Clearly since Google is a search/service company it has the advantage over Apple. The real problem is pretty much hidden but hopefully Apple finds a way to simply its services.

bollyboy
May 10, 2013, 02:30 AM
Honestly I rather see Apple focus more functionality of iOS and the core problems with it rather than trying to overhaul the entire UI and design. Just update all the icons and change Game Center.

The problem is while iOS is pretty solid it sucks at some really basic tasks.

Mail
Attaching photos/videos in Mail was painful before iOS 6. Thankfully Apple added that feature in iOS 6 but even then its still somewhat annoying to use. I don't see how a modern mobile OS doesn't have the option to also attach documents easily. I want to see an overhaul on how to attach things similar to how Sharing works in iOS 6.

Notes
Notes on iOS is really lackluster especially compared to Notes on OS X. You can't attach photos or attachments in your notes in iOS. That means even with iCloud syncing, your notes are pretty much useless if you add a photo in OS X, they won't appear in iOS. I don't want Notes to be as complicated as Evernote, but it needs at least some basic features that all notes apps have now.

Photo Stream
Apple gets really contradicting here. All the photos and videos you take go into the Photos app yet you can only have photos in Photo Stream. No videos which is quite disappointing. Again, basic feature, you can already do it for photos, Apple didn't finish the job.

Camera
Speaking of photos, I don't see how the Camera app doesn't have a timer and burst mode. These aren't gimmicks like most of the camera features in the GS4. Even Camera+ has these modes so if a popular 3rd party app on the App Store can have the feature its almost impossible for Apple to not be able to do it. Think about it, Apple added panorama mode before a timer and burst mode. Its a basic feature that all cameras have.

Game Center
Probably the only app that absolutely needs a massive redesign. Other apps might have bad designs but are still usable. The number one essential feature that Game Center is missing is an inbox for messages, friend requests, invites, etc. Apple often compares and touts on Game Center is way better than Xbox Live yet Game Center doesn't even have this basic feature for any social gaming network (a way to communicate to other players).

Files
Mentioned this in my Mail complaint briefly but iOS needs some sort of Finder or easier way to locate and access downloaded files. Using iBooks as a pdf manager is not efficient. Same with iWork, its really inefficient have to email the document within the apps. There needs to be a place where these can all be done outside of the apps.

iCloud
The hidden and real problem related to iOS is iCloud. iCloud works but also doesn't work many times. There's no interactivity between apps, developers still aren't embracing it, and syncing for iTunes Match and other things is just way too complicated. It succeeds where Mobileme failed, but fails where Apple wants to take it to.

For example, Google Docs allows for simultaneous work, something iWork suite desperately needs. iCloud isn't just about a single individual as seen with Shared Photo Streams as well as sharing options for calendar and reminders but the interactivity between these apps is completely broken. Apps suck at communicating with other apps.

Excited for iOS 7 but I hope Apple realizes where the actual problems and feature are.


You have highlighted some great points there.
As much as i love IOS and the iPhone it needs to fix/add some fairly basic features.

I really hope mainly those mentioned in Mail, Notes, Photostream, Camera are a priority.

The Phazer
May 10, 2013, 04:43 AM
Agreed. iOS could do with a more consistent visual look after the mess iOS6 left behind, but the issues are much more fundamental than that.

Internaut
May 10, 2013, 05:16 AM
I think it'll be a long time before there's even a possibility of 3rd party. Apple is already having a hard time with stock apps communicating with each other and iCloud.


Agreed. Communication between apps is a core weakness of iOS and isn't going away in the short to mid term. That's the problem with OS development in general though. I'm sure Android and Windows wouldn't be as they are (bearing in mind they're not without core weaknesses of their own), if Google and Microsoft had better crystal balls to gaze into.

scapegoat81
May 10, 2013, 05:19 AM
I was literally just thinking of this subject as I loaded MR on my 4S lol.

Couldn't agree more. Mail needs an overhaul ( Threaded view, add multimedia easier, etc)
Desperately needs easy to access system Toggles
Calendar app also needs a lot of attention
New multitasking interface would be sweet

I know lately we've all been beating a dead horse here w/ all the iOS 7 threads, but its exciting. :D

inselstudent
May 10, 2013, 07:23 AM
Agreed. Communication between apps is a core weakness of iOS and isn't going away in the short to mid term. That's the problem with OS development in general though. I'm sure Android and Windows wouldn't be as they are (bearing in mind they're not without core weaknesses of their own), if Google and Microsoft had better crystal balls to gaze into.

Are you guys sure this isn't up to the specific 3rd party app developers? For instance, I can create a PDF document using Pages, then open it in PDF expert to insert a signature, then directly open the edited document in another app to fax it somewhere. While this is pretty seamless, not all apps seem to work that way.

That makes me think that iOS actually does offer ways to communicate, but not all devs make use of them.

robjulo
May 10, 2013, 07:54 AM
Are you guys sure this isn't up to the specific 3rd party app developers? For instance, I can create a PDF document using Pages, then open it in PDF expert to insert a signature, then directly open the edited document in another app to fax it somewhere. While this is pretty seamless, not all apps seem to work that way.

That makes me think that iOS actually does offer ways to communicate, but not all devs make use of them.

Except now, you have three different versions of that same document, each in their own little sandbox. The lack of a basic file system makes workflow cumbersome and confusing.

Try the most simplest of tasks, adding an attachment (ie a word doc) when responding to an email.

JaySoul
May 10, 2013, 08:51 AM
I agree the basic functionality needs help.

But the design has gone incredibly stale, and that is priority number 1.

CTHarrryH
May 10, 2013, 09:16 AM
a phone or a table isn't a full feature computer no matter how much you'd like it to be.

I can't see Apple opening up a file system on a iPhone or similar device. Time will tell. Maybe iOS9 design is still not set and some of these features may make it there.

inselstudent
May 10, 2013, 09:47 AM
Except now, you have three different versions of that same document, each in their own little sandbox. The lack of a basic file system makes workflow cumbersome and confusing.

Try the most simplest of tasks, adding an attachment (ie a word doc) when responding to an email.

you're right with that, of course

robjulo
May 10, 2013, 10:26 AM
a phone or a table isn't a full feature computer no matter how much you'd like it to be.

I can't see Apple opening up a file system on a iPhone or similar device. Time will tell. Maybe iOS9 design is still not set and some of these features may make it there.

IMO, you don't need a full file system. One repository for all apps to pull and save a file to would be sufficient for me.

I agree a tablet isn't a full feature computer, but attaching a file to an email is something so basic, but cannot be done on ios.

luked14
May 10, 2013, 11:14 AM
Everything OP mentions needs work and I would like to add notifications. As of now, there is no clear integration between the lockscreen and notification center. Notifications don't always go away after you address them, and there should be a way to access notifications from the lockscreen after you've unlocked the device and relocked it.

Status bar notification icons would also be a nice addition, which can currently be added via jailbreak.

cynics
May 10, 2013, 01:14 PM
I agree with everything above.

Another issue I have is the basic functionality of the native apps. Which is fine, keep it simple I get it. But the 3rd party alternatives integration sucks for most apps so replacement is nearly out of the question. Apps that try to be integrated feel forced compared to their native counterparts. The lack of being able to set then as default kills it for me.

ASKendrew
May 11, 2013, 09:38 AM
Some really good points here. I couldn't agree more!

Ed91
May 11, 2013, 12:37 PM
I agree with everything you listed.

For me, the biggest issues are to do with Mail and the lack of a file system/app. It's just messy at the moment, and passing a file from app to app leaving a trail of copies in your wake is plain hackish.

As for the Camera and Notes apps, I can see how Apple would argue that they offer basic out-of-the-box functionality, and that if you want more download a specialist app. That argument may hold if you were able to remove the "basic" apps, but you can't.

I hope there's some major improvement to iOS, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

iLog.Genius
May 11, 2013, 12:52 PM
The biggest annoyance for me is the Mail.app. That thing has to be the painful thing to use outside of just opening and reading messages. I mean to select all messages requires a combination of finger gestures, like really? You couldn't have a "Select all"? And I think this sort of things extends to other areas of the iOS and is a result of Apple trying to have the interface too clean and simple.

The file system or file manager, I doubt it comes. Apple has always been the one to keep such processes away from the user even in OS X. Was it really necessary to hide the Library folder? I know there is terminal command to show it but once you repair permissions, it hides it again so the whole process becomes annoying.

iOS as a base is very competent, but I think it's mature enough that people have the grasp of the basic stuff and that Apple can afford to maybe not dumb it down anymore. I'm not saying open the whole thing up but give us a bit more in terms of control.

kdhoe
May 11, 2013, 12:54 PM
IMO, you don't need a full file system. One repository for all apps to pull and save a file to would be sufficient for me.

I agree a tablet isn't a full feature computer, but attaching a file to an email is something so basic, but cannot be done on ios.

I agree with you. There is already a perfect example of this in iOS & that is Photos. They can be accessed from any app. There should be a generic folder which can be accessed from every app (that supports this feature)

The Phazer
May 12, 2013, 05:42 AM
Another fundamental thing iOS needs to get right is fixing up copy and paste. Far too many third party developers have broken it. If Facebook and Twitter won't play ball and use the API correctly the OS needs to overrule them.