Look­ing ahead to 2018

What the iPhone, iPad, and iOS need in 2018. Ja­son Snell re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

2 017 was a pretty great year for iOS. A whole lot of my wish-list items for iPhone and iPad got checked off. And yet, like a kid who got a bike un­der the tree and still im­me­di­ately be­gins as­sem­bling a birth­day wish list, it’s my job as a colum­nist to im­me­di­ately ask Ap­ple what it’s done for iOS lately. Un­grate­ful, I know, but life goes on: Here’s what I hope to see from Ap­ple in the world of iOS in 2018.

More iPhones

The iPhone X was the ban­ner prod­uct of 2017, but it’s still just a first take on a whole new gen­er­a­tion of iPhone hard­ware. In 2018 I’d like to see an up­grade to the iPhone X, sure – ideally re­tain­ing the iPhone X name, be­cause who wants to buy the iPhone XI? But I’d also like to see an iPhone X Plus, with a huge OLED screen. Per­son­ally, the iPhone X is about as much iPhone as I want to carry in my hand or pocket, but I know a bunch of iPhone Plus users who would love to use a larger iPhone X.

I am not sure I ac­tu­ally wish for there to be a fol­lowup to the iPhone 8, but I sus­pect there will be, prob­a­bly called the iPhone 9. Ideally it will add Face ID, though prob­a­bly not an OLED screen, since that would ba­si­cally make it an iPhone X. I ex­pect that this will prob­a­bly be the last gen­er­a­tion of the older iPhone models, but who knows? Ap­ple keeps older iPhone models kicking around way past their usual ex­pi­ra­tion date.

The one ‘old’ phone I re­ally want to see in 2018 is the iPhone SE. It’s been a cou­ple of years since the iPhone SE was re­leased, keep­ing a 4in screen in the iPhone prod­uct line, and at a low price. This is a model that doesn’t need to be up­dated, but it’s about time for a ver­sion with iPhone 7 or 8-level specs.

iPads with less around the edges

The iPad Pro had a good year, with up­dates across the board. It may be too much to ask for an iPad Pro up­date in 2018, but what’s the fun in that? Whether it comes this year or next, it’s ob­vi­ous that the next iPad Pro should fea­ture re­duced bezels and re­move the home

but­ton, re­plac­ing it with Face ID. (The trick with the iPad Pro, as well as any pos­si­ble iPhone X Plus, is that they’re de­vices that can be used in ei­ther por­trait or land­scape ori­en­ta­tion – re­quir­ing an ex­tra de­gree of com­plex­ity from Face ID.)

As some­one who is a fer­vent be­liever in the iPad Pro as a pro­duc­tiv­ity de­vice, I’m also go­ing to con­tinue beat­ing the drum for im­prove­ments that make the iPad Pro more like a ‘real’ com­puter, such as a USB-C port and broader sup­port for ex­ter­nal USB de­vices, most no­tably on the stor­age side.

The iPad Pro is in many ways de­fined by the two ac­ces­sories that only work on iPad Pro models: the Ap­ple Pen­cil and the Smart Key­board. Both of them could use a re­fresher. A new Pen­cil could po­ten­tially be shorter (the bet­ter to use it with an iPhone X Pro?), sup­port in­duc­tive charg­ing, and in­clude a side but­ton

or eraser. A new Smart Key­board could add a row of func­tion keys for me­dia con­trol.

But what I re­ally want is for Ap­ple to fully em­brace the iPad-as-lap­top con­cept and build an even smarter key­board, an at­tach­able key­board with real, tac­tile keys and a hinge that lets the iPad Pro be used like a lap­top. I’m us­ing a ver­sion of this prod­uct right now, but it’s made by a third-party man­u­fac­turer with a poor track record for re­li­a­bil­ity. The con­cept is solid; Ap­ple could make it a re­al­ity.

It feels like a re­quest from ages ago, but my chil­dren loved the iPad mini. I’d like Ap­ple to give it an up­date. It doesn’t need to turn into an iPad Pro, but re­vis­ing it and keep­ing it around along with the low-end iPad would be nice. I don’t ex­pect this to hap­pen, hon­estly, but I hope it does.

iOS 12 wishes

This au­tumn we’ll see an­other re­vi­sion to iOS. First and fore­most, I’d like the iPad Pro not to be for­got­ten. The iPad had to wait two years for an up­date to its mul­ti­task­ing fea­tures, and that slow pace of up­dates is not go­ing to help the plat­form get stronger. I’d like to see iPad mul­ti­task­ing get more re­fined, with the abil­ity to pair the same app with dif­fer­ent part­ners and eas­ily cre­ate two in­stances of the same app at once, a la Sa­fari.

The dis­con­ti­nu­ity be­tween the iPhone and iPad in­ter­faces needs to be ad­dressed at some point, hope­fully this year. Right now they’re sim­i­lar, but not the same, and it means that us­ing both an iPhone and an iPad drops can leave you in an un­canny val­ley of

in­ter­face con­fu­sion. If you add Face ID to the iPad, what hap­pens to the swipe-up ges­ture, which cur­rently kicks off both mul­ti­task­ing and Con­trol Cen­tre?

More broadly, the move of Con­trol Cen­tre to the top right cor­ner of the iPhone X seems like the weak spot in Ap­ple’s recon­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of the iPhone in­ter­face for a but­ton­less de­vice. I used Con­trol Cen­tre all the time when it was a flip away, but in the top right cor­ner, it’s largely for­got­ten. Maybe Ap­ple can merge mul­ti­task­ing and Con­trol Cen­tre on the iPhone as it’s done on the iPad, or in­te­grate 3D touch some­how. Heck, I’d take a cus­tom­iz­a­ble set of Con­trol Cen­tre icons on the lock screen, in the vein of the cur­rent flash­light and cam­era but­tons.

Fi­nally, a cou­ple of items that have been on this wish list for a few years now, and yet never seem to get done. I’m not ready to give up. The pol­icy Ap­ple uses to grant

a small amount of free iCloud stor­age space needs to change. The free 5GB just isn’t large enough to do al­most any­thing use­ful. Ap­ple could raise the al­lot­ment, al­low an ad­di­tional amount per every de­vice at­tached to an Ap­ple ID (or set of fam­ily IDs), or even of­fer a year of a larger data plan with pur­chase of a de­vice. I firmly be­lieve that Ap­ple doesn’t need to nickel and dime peo­ple with its iCloud stor­age plans – once peo­ple use them and get used to them, they will pay for more stor­age. But the up­sell hap­pens way too soon, be­fore users can see how use­ful iCloud stor­age can be.

And then there’s iCloud Photo Li­brary. I use it, I wrote a book about it, and it’s so frus­trat­ing that fam­ily mem­bers can’t choose to share full-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos with one an­other. My wife and I have to go through a ridicu­lous rig­ma­role to im­port her iPhone pho­tos into my Pho­tos li­brary, and a sim­i­lar process so that she can ac­cess the master li­brary. My daugh­ter should have an easy way to choose what pho­tos she takes get added to the fam­ily photo li­brary. Google Pho­tos has taken steps in this di­rec­tion; it’s sev­eral years past time for Ap­ple to do it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.