The iPhone is a very awesome palm-sized computer and phone and is the catalyst of a new generation of smart phones, but there are certain things it lacks that would greatly improve it. Some of these features are even already available to those willing to jailbreak their phone and install unauthorized 3rd party software, so Apple should take the hint and build them in to the OS.
- Lock Screen Display
There’s some useful information already displayed on the screen when you first wake your phone from its slumber, including battery life, date, time, wireless signal and, “slide to unlock”, and of course, whatever picture you chose for your background. Some of this comes in handy, but there is just so much wasted space. The improvements needed are pretty straight forward and, at least in my opinion, obvious. Display upcoming calendar events, quantity of unread emails (if push/fetch is enabled), and the weather. Some or all of this would obviously eat in to the battery life a bit, so allow users to enable/disable which they want to see and how often it is updated.
- Home Screen Improvements
Generally, I like the home screen and the way it works, but it still feels like a cluttered OS X Desktop after doing “View -> Clean Up”. First and foremost, flipping it over to landscape mode would be nice. Just about everything else can change orientation, so why not the iPhone OS’s equivalency of a desktop? On top of that, how about cleaning things up by organizing apps in to folders. The Palm Pilot had this a decade ago. It was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now. Last, but certainly not least among home screen improvements would be the ability to add more rows to the dock. It’s nice to have 4 icons on every screen, but doubling or tripling that would be terrific.
- Enable/Disable Default Applications
My guess would be that very few iPhone users actually use every single default app. Most, like myself, probably just put the unused ones all the way to the back screen where they sit and collect dust. All I’m asking for is a simple setting that allows you to toggle these applications on and off so the unused ones don’t take up space. I’m not a programmer so I don’t know this for sure, but that seems like it would be easy enough to implement.
- To-Do App
I realize that there are approximately a thousand different options for a to-do list on the app store, some free and some not so free, but there’s really no reason Apple should have their own. This has been a staple application of PDAs and smart phones since their inception and for Apple to not realize that and write there own (perhaps with a syncable Mac OS X counterpart) is a bit embarrassing. Just like pretty much every other default application, something simple and easy to use yet fully featured would be terrific.
- Improved Home Button
The home button is under-appreciated. I’m not saying it needs any physical changes, as I like the button itself just fine. It just needs the option to double click it and open any application you have installed. Currently you just have the options of Home, Search, Phone Favorites, Camera, or iPod. Those are all useful, but it would be nice to be able to double click it to open up that default or 3rd party app that you use more than any other.
Got other ideas for future improvements? Feel free to leave a comment and share them with me.