We're just under a month away from Apple's WWDC 2012 and with it, an expected preview of iOS 6. Last year, we had a list of features available through jailbreak that we wanted Apple to make mainstream in iOS 5. Apple listened, and we got everything from Notification Center to Wi-Fi sync. This year is no different -- once again we have wants. Here are my top jailbreak concepts Apple should implement in iOS 6.
Developers don't currently have the ability to develop widgets for Notification Center. If Apple would open up API for widget access and allow developers to integrate them with current app offerings, it could open up a whole new world of possibilities. This ability is already available on Android and other mobile platforms.
Jailbreak apps have been taking advantage of widgets since iOS 5 was released. There are several widgets that allow access to contacts, system toggles, music, battery info, quick Google searches, and more. Having access to all kinds of settings and apps right from Notification Center is much more convenient than digging for an app or system setting.
Notification Center enhancements and quick replies
While iOS 5 was a huge improvement over the way notifications were handled under previous versions of iOS, there is still room for improvement. Jailbreak apps like IntelliscreenX and LockInfo offer much more control over notifications than stock iOS does. You can fine tune notifications down to the tiniest detail. Do all users need this ability? Absolutely not. But a compromise would be nice.
First, find a way to make the Lock screen more intuitive. Right now all Lock screen notifications are dismissed the moment you swipe to unlock. By all means, clear the screen, but why not keep the notifications available in the window shade until they've actually been viewed, like they are in Notification Center proper.
Second, add the ability to clear app badges the same way Notification Center can be cleared. One little X gets rid of an entire list in Notification Center, but there's no way to get rid of badges in an app without hunting down and viewing every alert individually -- if you can find them.
Thirdly, make in-app banner notifications actionable. Right now if you tap them you're ripped out of the current app and sent into the source app. Having to exit one app to respond to something as simple as an SMS or iMessage, or tweet, is irritating. BiteSMS and Messages+ for jailbreak have offered this functionality for a long time. Enhancements of this nature would make the entire experience of using the iPhone or iPad much faster and much better.
While Siri is great at dictating notes, punching out emails, scheduling Reminders, and sending messages, it can't do anything beyond that. Yet. And even if Apple expands it to support other integrated services, like Twitter, it still wouldn't enough.
Having options like sending out a tweet via Tweetbot, or adding a task to Clear, or otherwise letting App Store apps integrate with Siri directly would be a welcome addition. Jailbreak apps such as AssistantExtensions add tons of functionality to Siri. It'd be nice to see that become official in iOS 6.
Better multitasking gestures and shortcuts
Right now the iPad has limited multitasking gesture shortcuts but the iPhone and iPod touch have none at all. Jailbreak apps like Zephyr have brought gesture shortcuts to iPhone and iPod touch, but this is really something Apple needs to slap a coat of paint on and release as stock in iOS 6.
Tabbing through apps should be easier. Sure there's the iOS 4 fast app switcher, but swiping is faster. Custom gestures for favorite app access would be great as well.
Mail has previously been given a unified inbox, threaded messages, and flags. Otherwise it's not much different from the days of iOS 1. Mail Enhancer allow jailbreakers to better handle and sort mail on their iPhone or iPad. You can color code different mail accounts so you know what account a message is from when in the unified inbox.
And for the love of all things that are good in the world, can we please have multiple signatures for mail accounts? For users with separate accounts that they use for different purposes, editing signatures can be a huge pain. I may not want a client having my home phone number but I want my friends and family seeing that in my signature. Allowing multiple signatures is the only feasible solution and hopefully it's on the slate for iOS 6.
In addition to per-account signatures, per-account mail tones would be a nice bonus. Sometimes work mail needs to stay on when personal mail does not (or vice versa).
Better Folder functionality
iOS 4 brought the addition of Folders but their functionality remains limited.. The iPhone only allows you to place 12 apps within a folder while the iPad allows 20. Sure, the iPad screen can show more apps at one time, but the difference harms users who want a consistent Home screen setup between devices. For example, if I have 15 productivity apps and keep them on both my iPhone and iPad, on my iPhone I have to have 2 folders while I only have one on my iPad.
Jailbreak apps such as Infinifolders and Folder Enhancer have been around before iOS supported folders. They've also been more functional. Both allow you to stick as many apps as you want in a folder and either page through them like you would Home screen apps or scroll vertically, whichever you choose.
Nested folders is also something jailbreak apps allow for. I frequently use this feature for game folders. I have my strategy, puzzle, adventure, action, and other types of games inside of one main games folders. Unfortunately, it's probably far too hierarchical and "file system-like" for Apple to ever consider.
Themes or Home screen refresh
It's about time for Apple to re-design the Home screen or give us a way to customize it if we want to. iOS 4 introduced the ability to set a picture as your Home screen background but besides that, the Home screen we all know hasn't changed much since the inception of iOS. There's always an argument for familiarity and experience which Apple prides themselves on but it's beginning to look a bit dated.
Jailbreakers have been theming their iPhones for years. While I don't necessarily want my iPhone looking like an Android phone, apps like Shrink allow me to change icon size while apps like Winterboard give me the ablity to change up fonts and status bar icons.
It's highly unlikely that Apple will ever integrate even an Apple exclusive Theme Store into iTunes, but at the very least it would be nice to see iOS 6 bring with it a newly designed Home screen or a few options for customization.
Your iOS 6 want list
What jailbreak apps can you not live without that you'd really like Apple to add stock? Are there any quirks or oddities in iOS that you really can't stand and use jailbreak as a solution?
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