Aside from a few rumors, we don’t know much about the 2013 iPhone. But on June 13th, we’ll get our first look at Apple’s update to iOS at their annual developer’s conference, WWDC. It’s here that we’ll get to see what Apple has planned for it’s software as a whole—but iOS 7 will be what everyone is holding the breath to see.
Around a month ago, lead designer Johnny Ives went on record saying iOS 7 will include a “major facelift” for not only the operating system as a whole, but also for particular first-party apps. In other words, Google’s infiltration of the App Store has by no means gone unnoticed down in Cupertino. Here are seven iOS apps that Apple really needs to update in both look and functionality to stay relevant in 2013.
A couple years ago, Apple’s simple mail client was one of the only serious options in the App Store for email. But now, we’ve got the likes of Mailbox, Mail Pilot, and Gmail – each of which are fast and bring interesting new features to the table. At the very least though, Apple needs to include multiple account support and a Search function that actually works in its newest update. While that’ll be enough for most people, it’s going to take more than that to pull me away from Mailbox.
Apple prides itself on stubbornness and the way it hawkishly leads the industry in design—so much so that it often refuses to implement features that have become commonplace elsewhere (remember how long it took to get Copy and Paste?). We’ve been asking for this one years it seems, but when are we going to see Apple’s home screen icons be more than shortcuts? It’s simple: Let us see the current temperature outside without having to open an app. It’s time to relent and follow the lead of Android and Windows Phone here.
3. Game Center
Apple has never been known for supporting videogames in any serious way, so when they launched Game Center back in 2010, we were pleasantly surprised. But since then, GameCenter has really fallen by the wayside and many times forced developers to other platforms such as OpenFeint (not to mention the cringe-worthy felt textures). With the announcement of Google’s competing online game service, it’s most definitely time for Game Center to get a complete overhaul.
4. App Store
With Apple’s big bans on apps such as AppGratis or games like Sweatshop HD, the App Store has seen its fair share of headlines this year. But even with controversies over content aside, I think it’s fair to say that it’s time the App Store got a serious update. Whether it’s the slow loading speed, the limited and unorganized Featured Apps page, or even just not having a list of recently released apps, the App Store has fallen behind as a discoverability tool and developers are suffering because of it.
When you’re browsing the web on a device as small as an iPhone, screen real estate is of the utmost importance – that’s why having a separate bar for back/forward buttons on the bottom of the browser makes Safari feel a little outdated. Safari also doesn’t support true tabs, built-in voice command, or a unified search bar, all of which have become important features of Google Chrome’s platform. What we’d really love to see though is an update to Safari that features more swipes and gestures to make it as intuitive to use as Apple’s own desktop browser.
Whether it’s Microsoft’s Kinect or Google’s Search, 2013 has been a big year for voice command thus far. With Google’s voice command intruding the iOS market in its Search, YouTube, and Chrome apps last year, Apple has a challenge ahead of them. Siri had the benefit of being first to the game, but if it doesn’t see a big update in speech recognition and system-wide functionality, more and more iOS consumers will find themselves plugging into the Google ecosystem rather than Apple’s.
Apple Maps will always go down in history as one of Apple’s major errors with its mobile devices. Not only was certain navigation information incorrect or simple missing, the app was also just a big headache to try to get around in. When you’re in your car driving, the last thing you want to is have to load four different screens just to get turn-by-turn going. In the end, it broke the trust Apple has worked so hard to maintain with consumers. Apple’s second shot at Maps better not make those same mistakes again.