My Wish List for iOS5

Same3Guys Words from Nerds

The Apple WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) begins in San Francisco this week. Apple already announced that they would be talking about the next version of Mac OS X (aka, “Lion”), the next version of the iPhone/iPad operating system (iOS5) and a new cloud service dubbed iCloud.

One the eve of the Monday morning keynote, I thought I would take a moment to share some of my most wanted features that I would love to see announced for iOS5. In no particular order, they are:

An editable user dictionary. Typing on the glass screen will never be as good as typing on a real keyboard. I’ve tried using the iPhone and iPad with type-ahead turned on and turned off. It’s not good either way. But the most frustrating aspect to typing is when it turns a way that you spelled CORRECTLY into something completely different. This happens a lot with technical terms, acronyms and so forth. If Apple would just provide a way to let me enter my own words then I think the end user experience would be much better.

An improved notification system. How many times do you get a popup alert while your phone is locked and it disappears when you swipe to unlock the device? And then you can never find it again, depending on what app it came from. It shouldn’t be too difficult to provide a way to view notification history along with the name of the app that delivered it to you.

A customizable home screen. Android phones and even Windows Phone 7 have home screens that provide more information at-a-glance than what you get with iOS. It would be nice to be able to customize a few things (your next meeting, current temp, stock, etc). If anyone can figure out how to do it without adding drain to the battery, the guys in Cupertino should be able to.

Automatic app updates. The process for keeping my iOS apps updated is just too kludgy. Go into iTunes, click Apps on the left nav menu, click Check for Updates, click Download All, then sync to my devices. How about an option to permit automatic updates? This could run in the background on iTunes just the way I can download podcasts in the background. Then the next time I sync, voila! Better yet, provide a way to selectively disable this for certain apps if there is one that I do not want to upgrade for whatever reason.

A way to automatically shut down all of my running apps. I am often surprised at just how many apps I use on a regular basis. It feels to me like I am always using just a handful regularly. Yet, whenever I check the multi-tasking bar I find that I am closing somewhere between 25-40 apps. And I do this at least 2x a week. Closing apps that you aren’t actively using is a good idea to improve system performance. It would be nice to have a one-click way to kill all of the apps instead of having to shut them down one at a time. On a side note, when I reboot the iPhone, why do those apps remain in the list? I think a reboot should come up clean with nothing in the active app list.

So that’s my top wish list. What’s on yours?