Don’t fix what isn’t broken. I saw that reiterated a few times after the unveiling of iOS 6. I can understand the sentiment. That’s essentially what Apple showcased. iOS, previously known as iPhone OS, hasn’t changed much at its face value since its start in 2007. Back then, iOS’s grid system was hailed as a revolution, helped entirely by its smooth and quick responsiveness. Five years later, and iOS looks the same as iPhone OS.
That isn’t to say that Apple hasn’t made changes or added improvements to iOS over the years. Obviously there has been, or iOS would have gone the way of other extinct mobile operating systems. That doesn’t change the fact that when you turn on your iPhone 4S, it looks like the original iPhone from way back when. The screen technology is significantly better, but the OS itself looks the same.
Each new iPhone, and subsequently each new version of iOS, has been a smash hit. Apple makes a ridiculous amount of money from the iPhone, so that’s why that old saying, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” comes into play with iOS 6. For all intents and purposes, even if iOS hasn’t changed at face value over the years, it’s still selling like hot cakes thanks to the features under the hood.
But, I think it’s time for a change.
I’ve asked in the past what you would change about Windows Phone's notifications, and here recently Taylor Martin told you what it would take for him to stick with Windows Phone. So let’s reposition the microscope at Apple’s mobile operating system, and talk about what you think Apple needs to change.
I was speaking to a few of my colleagues, and reached out on Twitter to get a better feel for what people would change as a whole in Apple’s mobile OS. I’m honestly not at all surprised at the responses I received.
A few people suggested that Apple should provide access to the file system on their iPhone. This is something that I’ve heard repeated over the years, and it’s become a louder source of contention with Android’s presence on the market. Apple’s view is that you don’t need, as the end user, to have access to the file system. Apple believes they’ve created the perfect device for you, so why would you want to go into the file system? For a lot of people, they may not want to, but obviously there are people who want to be able to access their phone’s file system.
In that same vein, people want modifications. Or, more importantly, want the ability to add modifications to their phones. This is one area that Android certainly has going for it, but where Microsoft’s Windows Phone shares a huge similarity. There aren’t many ways to differentiate your iOS-based device, as your home screens are predominantly filled with icons. Some folders, maybe. But there are always more icons. People want to be able to change stock colors on the launcher, or whatever else. There are folks out there who want to be able to change their phone in any way they can, because they own it.
But the most common change I heard? The most dominant addition that people want in iOS? A major change to those homesreens. (I find this ridiculously ironic, and it makes me laugh a little bit.) It doesn’t even matter if Google’s Android pioneered the mainstream widgets on our smartphones these days, or that people would see Apple as copying them. People want widgets. It’s a quicker way to information within an application. They just make sense. And, let’s face it, the widgets that developers would create for iOS would be pretty amazing to look at, right?
I think one way that Apple could actually expand on that thought would be dynamic icons. The only dynamic icon that Apple has right now is the Calendar icon. It changes the date to match the current date. Other icons, like the Weather icon, don’t change depending on the temperature. I find this strange, especially in the case of the Weather icon, because there’s weather information displayed on it. A sun and a temperature. Why can’t that change depending on the weather? And location? Dynamic icons would be a great inclusion to iOS. Yes, it would be similar to Windows Phone’s Live Tiles, but again, this wouldn’t be a bad thing.
So how would you change iOS? And, here’s a big one: are you leaving the iPhone due to the lack of changes in iOS 6? Or are you sticking with it? Let me know in the comments, Dear Reader!