iPhone OS: 25 Things It Really Needs (Even Now)
3. A roomier dock. Quick access to four apps isn’t enough. If the OS let you optionally turn on a second row of icons (or even a third or fourth one) we could get to more of our most-used programs without having to slip-slide our way around the Home screen.
4. Help for third-party apps that want to support landscape mode. I’m not an expert on what Apple’s SDK does to assist programmers create apps that work in both portrait and landscape form, but I take the fact that relatively few do as a sign that it’s not a cakewalk. My old AT&T Tilt phone ran Windows Mobile, and just about every application that should have supported both orientations did. I’m assuming that Apple’s OS will need to go resolution-independent at some point to support new devices with different screens, so the time to make it easy is now. [2010 thought: I think the OS actually does assist with this, though I wish more developers took advantage of it.]
5. A more programmable Home button. In iPhone 3.0, double-clicking it can reportedly launch Search, your phone’s Favorites, the camera application, or the iPod features. Shouldn’t it be able to launch any app on the phone–Apple or third party? [2010 thought: Supposedly, the rumored new multitasking feature in iPhone OS 4.0 lets you tap the Home button repeatedly to cycle through apps.]
6. The ability to delay Slide to Unlock. Whenever the iPhone is shut off–either because you turned it off yourself or it timed out–you must Slide to Unlock to get back to the Home screen. That makes it hard to pocket dial the phone, but it’s annoying if the phone just turned itself off right before you wanted to do something. I’d like to see the ability to delay the autolocking by a user-specified amount of time. And hey, why not let us disable it altogether if we feel like it?
7. Access to attachments by third-party applications. No iPhone office suite will be truly satisfying until it’s possible for it to open, edit, and save attachments directly from the Mail app. The OS still sandboxes all data so apps can only touch their own files, but Apple can and should make an exception in this case. [2010 thought: It does for photos, but I'd like to see it open up a lot more broadly. The iPad has a similar, useful feature: third-party apps can sync files via iTunes.]
8. A better Notes application. iPhone 3.0 gives Notes the ability to sync with Macs and Windows PCs. It still features a lined-paper-and-marker interface that embarrasses me slightly every time I use it, though–at the very least, you should be able to switch to something more mundane and professional. I’d also like to see the ability to attach photos to a note. Maybe Apple thinks the existence of powerful third-party note-takers like Evernote eliminates the need for it to beef up Notes, but I’d still like to see something more substantial. [2010 thought: The iPad has the same wacky Notes app.]
9. A to-do list. It startles me that Apple has done ambitious, enterprisey things like make the iPhone work with Microsoft’s Exchange server, but that the phone still doesn’t ship with a task manager. I use and like Remember the Milk, but still find it odd that OS X’s iCal has a to-do list that doesn’t talk to the iPhone at all.
Product mentioned in this article
Apple iPhone 4GB
This touch-screen phone is innovative, but it's expensive, lacks 3G network access.
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