Author: Alan Brown
The next release of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 10, is due soon: this is what I’ll be looking out for.
iOS 9 has been available for some time now. First revealed in June 2015, this update brought new multitasking features for the iPad, enhanced built-in apps and a smarter and more proactive Siri, along with improved performance, better battery life and enhanced security.
Apple like their routines and as usual, we can expect iOS 10 to be revealed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2016 – which takes places from 13 June to 17 June in San Francisco – and launched the following autumn.
So, when it does eventually arrive, what would you like to see?
Multi-user support on the iPad
The first feature that I’d like is multi-user support for the iPad.
If your house is anything like mine, the iPad gets used by just about every member of the household – except the dog (for now). I mainly use it for checking out my email and banking; my wife also uses it for banking, alongside Facebook and doing the weekly shop; the kids use it for watching cartoons and playing games.
The problem is that everyone can see every app, so each of us has to log in and out of each app we use. More importantly, I have no way of blocking the things I don’t want the kids to see or use.
It’s time they had their own personal logins for this shared device that only showed the apps I want them to have access to. A finger press on the fingerprint scanner is all it should take to find your tablet set up just the way you like it. Then when my mother-in-law visits and wants to book her return train ticket, I can set the device in “guest mode” and leave her to it.
I, for one, would feel more secure if my apps were fully cordoned off; if the kids didn’t even know that my banking app existed, couldn’t access my email and that the websites I use weren’t at risk from CSRF (Cross-Site Referral Forgery) attacks if I have forgotten to log out before handing the iPad to the kids.
So will Apple deliver? It’s hard to say. Samsung tried offering this in some Android tablets without a huge degree of success; but if anyone can make it work, Apple can. I won’t hold my breath though – if iPads are easier to share that might lead to a further softening of sales!
A keyboard with handy numbers
The second feature I’d really like to see is numbers on the keyboard.
Recognise the iOS 9 keyboard?
While iOS 9 did introduce the key labels changing to reflect the state of the shift key, the number row remained decidedly absent. Apple seems to have made it more difficult for us to enter a complex password or even a lowly UK postcode. Maybe if their UX engineers had postcodes instead of Zip Codes we’d get what we wanted.
If iOS 10 came with a handy number row, and long-press or force-touch access to symbols direct from the main keyboard like many Android and 3rd party keyboards, it would encourage people to create stronger passwords that combine letters and numbers, and make them easier to enter.
Will it happen in iOS 10? Maybe. After all, it would increase device usability.
Opening up near field communication (NFC)
The third thing I would like to see in iOS 10 is for Apple to open up its NFC chip to developers.
If you’re not familiar with NFC, it’s a communication technology that allows two electronic devices to talk when they’re within a few centimetres of each other. You’ll find this technology on some smartphones and it allows the phone to talk to things like NFC-enabled printers, NFC-enabled speakers or NFC-enabled ticketing machines. The London Oyster card uses NFC technology – as does Apple for its Apple Pay contactless payment capabilities.
So while the latest iPhones do contain the NFC chip and have NFC capabilities, Apple hasn’t opened it up for app developers to take advantage of.
Remember the model where TouchID was released in iOS 7 for Apple’s own iOS purposes and then opened up to developers in iOS 8? Given their support for BLE iBeacons, I’m not convinced Apple will follow suit with NFC but it would open up a whole new world of possibilities for iPhone developers and, ultimately, iPhone users if they do.
So while I continue to ponder what I would like to see in the next release of iOS, are there any other features you would like to see?
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