TiPb breaks down the must have apps we want to see from Apple, Adobe, Google, Microsoft, and RIM/BlackBerry for iPhone and iPad
Despite hundreds of thousands of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps in the App Store, there are still some huge gaps, and major apps missing from the big players, including Apple themselves, Adobe, Google, Microsoft, and BlackBerry maker RIM. Some of the best known software on the market simply isn't available for iOS. We're hoping that changes in 2011, and after the break are the apps we're hoping help make the change!
I wrote at length about the need for a Finder app and amended it to a Files app in 2010 and now, at the beginning of 2011, it still tops my list for new iPhone and iPad apps I want from Apple. The reason is simple: document access on iOS as it currently stands is a nightmare. Apple's own iDisk and third parties like DropBox and Box.net offer functionality that really should be native and as off-line as it is on. Again, the Photo app is the model. It preserves the sandbox by providing a central repository for files, and allows them to easily be opened via the Picker in any other app. What Photos does or images and video, Files should do for documents (and both should do via Safari so we can upload to the web, just saying...). Apple, make it happen.
- iWork for iPhone. We have it for iPad, we've seen it teased for iPhone, it can't possibly not be released in 2011.
- iPhoto for iOS. Create albums, move photos between them, do basic editing like crop and red-eye removal, and sync selected photos. We got iMovie for iPhone (and hopefully for iPad 2 soon), give us iPhoto.
Adobe: Flash Player
For years people have been angry at Apple for the lack of Flash support. And that's ridiculous. It's entirely Adobe's fault for coasting on shoddy code for the last five years and only delivering a workable mobile Flash, in beta, near the end of 2010. But deliver it they have. It's not great; I've disabled it on my Nexus One, but Adobe is working on it fearfully hard, and Google and Palm and RIM have chosen to support it (and in so doing slowed the switch to HTML 5. Jerks.), so it'll get good enough. I don't think Apple would allow a Flash plugin like on other devices -- it's a security risk and a user experience hit -- but a Flash Player? Apple could work with Adobe to create a Flash app much like the YouTube app. A single app that, if it detects Flash video anywhere else on the device, especially Safari, it can take the handoff and play it in its own little, highly optimized, hopefully hardware accelerated, Flash-cookie-free sandbox. (Much how the QuickTime player handles H.264 video). It's not 2007 anymore, and 2011 isn't Flash free, so it's time to bite the bullet on this one.
- Creative Suite Viewer That I can view AutoCad docs on my iPhone and iPad and not Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign is a disgrace. Get on that, Adobe!
I don't want to come off as greedy, since my mind is still blown by getting Google Voice and Google Latitude in 2010, but in 2011 I really, truly would like a native Gmail app that can handle things like attaching pictures and video (and Files.app, right Apple?). In a perfect world Google would have made Gmail more compatible with other mail systems, seamlessly handling labels as folders and stars as flags. In a perfect world, Apple would actually handle things like stars/flags in the built-in Mail app. But keeping with the pragmatic theme of this post, and acknowledging how annoying separate email apps are on Android, I'd still like a native Gmail app for iPhone and iPad. If it gets decent push notifications built in, like the Google Mobile app, I won't even have to worry about iOS not having a "set default mail client" setting.
- Google Navigation When Android got this for free we heard rumors iPhone would be getting it as well. Then not. Then again. Then not again. Google, just do it.
(If you could somehow get Apple to add those newfangled vector graphics to the Google-powered, built-in Maps app, we'd appreciate that as well).
Documents to Go is great. QuickOffice is grand. Even Google Docs is usable over the web. But Microsoft, baby (can I call you baby?) none of those are Office. Sure, Office is a beast of a suite, as frustrating as it is fantastic, but it's the standard and it belongs on iPhone and iPad. You've built it for Windows Mobile. You've built it for Windows Phone. You've even built it for Mac and are working on it for Nokia. You know how to do Apple and you know how to do mobile, so it's time to do Mobile Apple. Sure you lose a differentiator for your own OS, but you had no problem doing that for Exchange, did you? Microsoft, stop teasing us and make 2011 the year of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad. Okay?
- Outlook ActiveSync is okay but for hard core Exchange users a native Outlook app is every bit as important as a native Gmail app is to Googlers. Let's get that sync'ed.
- Zune Pass Apple hasn't done subscription music yet but they have sold a gazillion iOS devices. Get those users on Zune Pass before iTunes.com launches.
RIM: BlackBerry Connect
CrackBerry Kevin already laid out why, in a post Kik-world, RIM would be better off owning the cross-platform instant messaging space than sitting on the sidelines while some third-party service breaks the crack off from the berry, so I'll just echo his sentiments here. BlackBerry Connect used to bring BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to other devices; it could do the same again. Do I expect to see Big Mike bound across a WWDC stage any time soon? No, but Apple did announce a Microsoft ActiveSync license at the iOS 2 event in 2008, so announcing a BlackBerry Connect license in 2011 wouldn't be unprecedented.
- BrickBreaker. Kidding! Give me BBM and I'm good.
Those the top 5 big name apps I'd like to see come to iPhone and iPad in 2011. What are yours? (Besides Facebook for iPad, of course!)