11 ways Apple could learn from Windows Phone and Android for iOS 7
Apple's new iOS 7 is expected to be unveiled at WWDC in June. And with longtime Apple designer Jony Ive taking the reins, rumours suggest that the new iOS will take on a much "flatter" design. While it is still in the planning phase, however, can Apple learn anything from its two main competitors: Windows Phone by Microsoft and Android by Google? Here are 11 things we like from both operating systems that we would love to see in the new iOS 7.
1. Windows Phone People hub
The People hub is Microsoft's contacts app and is a really easy way of keeping track of what your friends, colleagues or family are up to. You can create groups of people to see quickly what they are doing on social networks without having to open each individual app like Facebook or Twitter. Android offers similar integration. Apple has all the right elements, iOS 7 just needs to pull them together.
2. Windows Phone contact cards
Another great Windows Phone feature is Microsoft's way of joining all the dots when it comes to social on your phone within the contacts card. We aren't just talking about linking the relevant emails and Facebook addresses to the right person, but the ability to dive within that contacts card and see a history of the emails you sent, the photos you shared with each other, and even the social messaging you've done. At the moment iOS 6 isn't very share friendly.
3. Android's Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth toggle buttons
Turing on or off Wi-Fi on Bluetooth can be a faff on iOS because you've got to dive into the settings to get things done. On Android it's usually simply a case of swiping down to switch stuff on and off to save battery, with both Motorola and Samsung making this really easy. For iOS 7 we would love to have the ability to place an icon on the homescreen that shortcuts to power settings.
4. Windows Phone and Sony Xperia Z power-saving modes
Both Android and Windows Phone offer power-saving mode to ensure you've got just enough juice in the phone to make that call for the taxi when you've missed the last train home. For iPhone all you've got is Flight Mode, which turns everything off.
5. Windows Phone's clean look
We believe Sir Jony Ive already has this one covered, but it's 2013. Apple needs to ditch the faux leather and yellow legal paper. Why is it yellow anyway? Windows Phone's interface is clean and sharp, and while Android does still have its "shame" moments, the Roboto typeface makes it a lot cleaner.
6. Android's multi-tasking
Single screen apps are great, and we aren't suggesting Apple should opt for the Samsung two apps per screen approach in iOS 7 - especially not on the iPhone 5 - but coming up with a better way to switch between apps other than double tapping on the home button would be welcomed by heavy app switchers. If you have ever tried to use Skype, email, Safari and maps all at the same time, you'll know what we mean.
7. Windows Phone smart tiles
Letting your app do something more with the icon than show you just a number when there is a notification is one of the great tricks of Windows Phone. Apple, yes please.
8. Windows Phone's interactive homepage
The Windows Phone ability to change the lock screen image on a daily basis is really nice, especially if you are bored of looking at the same pics of your kids day in day out. With great apps like Flickr, Instagram and others, Apple's iOS 7 could really benefit from this here to keep things fresh and interesting.
9. Android's quick sharing
Apple lets you share certain things with certain services, but only if it's approved them first. Android, on the other hand, lets you share virtually anything with anyone all by a simple button that can adapt to how you share. Whether it is SkyDrive, G Drive, Dropbox, Box.net, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, Android doesn't care. Just think of the sharing possibilities you would have if iOS 7 offered the same thing.
10. Android Widgets
If you've used Android, or even seen it, you'll know how Android users love their Google search bar, or that big clock with the weather on it. iOS doesn't have any of this, and while some will say it's a big waste of space, the idea of having widgets letting you see information for a specific service is welcomed by many. Just think, iOS 7 could have a big Siri button on screen all the time. Would that make you use it more?
11. Windows Phone and Android Notifications
Both operating systems offer a better notification method than iOS at the moment. Something that will hopefully change in iOS 7. Please.
What features would you like Apple to introduce in iOS 7? Let us know in the comments below.