5 Tiny Tweaks Apple Could Make to Improve the iPhone BEFORE 3.0
No, we're not talking cut/copy and paste, nor MMS, video recording, or any other of the slew of major feature omissions tech pundits can't go an article without kicking, dead-horse-like. (There must be songs and drinking games about them -- enough already!) We're talking the minor stuff, the small things, the tiny little tweaks Apple could roll out in a 2.2.2 or 2.3 OS update that would make our iPhone experience just that much better and more enjoyable on a day-to-day basis.
Apple has done it before, of course. Double-space to add a period. Double-tap Home to get to favorite phone numbers or the iPod app. Tap Home to slide back to the first/primary/main App screen. Having Apps update in-place rather than shoving them back to the first empty slot.
And they could do it again, perhaps even with minimal effort, and sooner rather than later.
iPhone OS 3.0 will be previewed next tuesday, March 17, but likely won't be delivered to users until June or July. Here's what we'd like to see from Apple in the meantime, after the break...
1. Page to End
System wide, we can currently tap on the very top info-bar to hyper-jump to the beginning of that page. Whether it's a long list like our inbox or reams of text like a web page, we can save ourselves immense "flick to scroll" time with a single tap. Jeremy would like to see this applied to the other extreme as well. Granted, not every app has a constant and consistent bottom-of-screen element the way they do the top info bar, and many also have controls arrayed down there, but if the geniuses at Apple could figure out a way to distinguish a quick bottom of the screen tap as a jump-to-bottom it would save just as much time "flicking to scroll" down. Jeremy wants it, our commenters want it. Make it so Apple.
2. Home Button Triple Click and Click-and-Hold
Click the lonely hardware Home Button and we go back to the Home Screen app launcher (or return to the primary home screen). Double click it and we go to Phone favorites or the iPod app. What about triple-clicking? We've seen Apple pull out all manner of morse-code inspired control schemes with their new headsets and the new iPod shuffle, so Chad wants them to work just that kind of magic on the iPhone Home Button and let users assign it to whatever app we'd like.
Triple-click to go straight to Mail, or SMS, any extra quick-launching ability would be appreciated. As another example, Dieter would also like to see some extra Home Button functionality -- click and hold to toggle Airplane Mode. Rather than turning on, swiping to unlock (perhaps entering a passcode), clicking or swiping to pull up the home screen with the Settings icon, tapping on Settings, and then flipping the Airplane Mode, this would be a one-step solution. Of course, click-and-hold could also be more than just Airplane Mode, but user-assignable like the triple click.
3. Landscape Lock
The iPhone is the best iPod Apple's ever made. They've said so themselves. But when it comes to traveling with an iPhone in the car, the rotation activated by the accelerometer combined with the lack of fine controls available in landscape mode, can make it a frustrating experience. Also on Dieter's list, then, is a Settings toggle to disable the accelerometer rotation in the iPod app for those times when you want to experience your media the way you want to experience your media. Of course, no need for this to be restricted to iPod -- it would be welcome in Safari at times as well.
4. Turn Off Notifications During Call
This one comes straight from CrackBerry Kevin's round robin review, where he was flabbergasted (and almost scared out of his bright orange socks) to find his iPhone 3G pinging and buzzing repeatedly in his ear while he tried to have a phone conversation. While not everyone would agree with him, it would be nice -- more than nice -- if Apple gave us a a toggle switch for "turn off notifications during call".
A vibrate only mode for event notifications would also be appreciated. Sometimes when we're talking to people, having an iPhone ping away in our pants every few minutes isn't exactly the epitome of cool...
5. Add Search to iPod App
We know, you want search in Mail -- heck, we want it in every app, system wide, leveraging Apple's Spotlight technology. However, that's likely not a small change. Why would iPod search be easier to implement? Apple has already added it to the Apple Remote app.
Why should searching your iTunes or Apple TV library be possible and not the potential 16GB of media you've loaded up on your iPhone? (Especially for hardcore songsters who may have thousands and thousands of tracks filling their iPhone -- or iPod touch).
So there they are, 5 small changes we think Apple could make in iPhone OS 2.2.2 or even 2.3 before we eventually get iPhone OS 3.0 next June or July (or whenever it is released).
Did we miss any? If so, let us know what tiny tweaks you'd like Apple to give us sooner rather than later.