Concepts

iOS 7 wants: Just put the damn filters in Photos.app already

A while back I joked on Twitter that if Apple put filters and tilt shift into the built-in Photos app, I'd never use Instagram again. A lot of people maintain Instagram isn't about the filters or effects, but the community, but frankly there are already way too many communities for me to keep track of, and I'd just as soon make as many as possible as redundant as possible.

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iOS 7 wants: Siri access via Spotlight

Apple greatly expanded Siri in iOS 6, adding a host of new features including sports, movies, and dining results, far better language support, and even an Eyes Free driving mode for when hands-free usage is paramount.

But what about Voice Free? Having a conversation with your iPhone or (soon) iPad is something straight out of science fiction. But voice isn't always the best or most appropriate way to query data, and sometimes it's not even possible.

Apple could address a lot of problems by allowing text queries into Siri via the existing Spotlight interface.

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iOS 6: Is it time for Apple to revamp the multitasking fast app switcher?

At Macworld 2007 Steve Jobs showed off mobile Safari's Page switching interface, but despite the operating system as a whole crying out for similar treatment, to this day Pages haven't expanded beyond Safari. At the iOS 4 event in the spring of 2010, the iPhone added limited 3rd party multitasking and a fast app switcher interface, but rather than Pages or even an Exposé-esque grid interface, it locked to the Dock.

And as far as showing currently open apps, making those apps as visually distinguishable as possible, and making them as fast as possible to switch between, that's where iOS has remained. Even on the iPad's far larger screen.

Is it time for something more?

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The 4 inch iPhone

If Apple changes to a 4-inch screen in the next iPhone (iPhone 5,1), how could they do it while minimizing impact on users and developers? Assuming everyone wants a bigger screen, how does Apple implement it without breaking existing applications, causing backwards compatibility problems, and otherwise fragmenting the platform and frustrating stakeholders? Let's try to figure that out.

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On iOS text editing concepts and the keys to consistency

The video below shows an interesting concept, excellently rendered, for improving the speed and usability of text editing on iOS. Currently, to edit text in iOS, you have to poke at the screen until the right word is highlighted or the correct popup menu appears, and the drag handles to properly refine your selection. Like democracy, it sucks, but it sucks less than every other mobile implementation.

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The challenges of bringing Siri to the iPad

Siri on the iPad would need to address connectivity, user interface scaling, and some long missing apps

I would love to have Siri, Apple's voice-controlled virtual assistant, on the iPad 3. I wrote in my iPad 3 event preview preview that I anticipate it, and not a day goes by that I don't instinctively reach for the Dictation button on the iPad 2 keyboard and then grumble when I realize for the umpteenth time that it's just not there.

But as much as I love the idea of Siri on the iPad, there are some challenges Apple would need to overcome.

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iPhone 5 concept designs start up again

Now that iPhone 4S has come and launched, iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple ends up calling the next generation iPhone), concept designs are once again starting to pop up. This one comes from designer Antonio De Rosa, who created the above iPhone concept and has given it the title of iPhone SJ, as it is Steve Jobs inspired. He imagines it having an A6 processor, a 10 MP camera, and a polycarbonate body. I don't particularly feel that an A6 processor or a better camera are out of the question for the next iPhone.

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Microsoft Office team shares vision of the future

The Microsoft Office team has put out a video showing a vision of the future where edge-to-edge, interactive, multitouch and gesture-based panels are everywhere. We've seen things like this before in movies like Minority Report and Iron Man, and even ye old Bill Gates CES Keynotes of yore. Apple would never produce a video like this -- they want to surprise us with "magical" technology shipping in weeks and month. That's why it's great we have more players in the market than just Apple. You have to make the future, you can't dream it. But you can help inform and inspire it.

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iPhone 5 renders [Speculation]

MacRumors commissioned CiccareseDesign to make some renders of what the iPhone 5 just might look like based on the case leaks we saw earlier this month. And... I like it. It gets rid of the glass back of which I was never a fan, and adds back in some thin new -- and yes, sexy -- curves.

The designs show manufacturers what areas need to be open or exposed for cases, but reveal little else. In the past, this has caused some misunderstandings about future features. iPad 2 cases seemed to suggest an extra port at the top of the device, but that turned out to be a space for a microphone hole. Similarly, there are a few areas on the iPhone 5 case designs that are open to interpretation.

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Mac OS X-style Dashboard App for iPad

TechCrunch links up Carnegie Mellon student Richard Hong and his pretty much pixel-perfect looking rendition of Apple's Mac OS X Dashboard widget platform... on the iPad! The video shows not only the widgets working, but being added from the web and managed on the iPad as well.

We don't know if Hong will submit this to the App Store, and given that the rights to many if not all those widgets are owned by other people, we're not even sure if it could be submitted, but we do know we'd like to see something like that from Apple. Hey, it's been rumored. If not, an old-school "desktop" style app using another, open widget platform would be nifty to see as well.

Video after the break. (Tap the link below the box if you're on your iPhone or iPod touch).

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