iPhone OS 3.0 Wishlist

Tomorrow, Apple will be showing a sneak peek at iPhone OS 3.0. I have a few hopes, both as a developer and as a user.

As a Developer, I really want to see:

  • UIMapView - the internals of the Maps application made available to all developers. There are significant licensing issues around this - Google only allows free use of the Maps API to free-to-access websites. If Apple could work something out with Google for its developers, that would be huge.
  • Enhancements to the interapplication URL launching system. Right now, I can't determine whether a URL will be handled before launching it, which is a poor user experience.
  • I'd like to see some way in which applications using UITabBarController can also have a toolbar. Currently, many apps abuse the notion of perceived stability to dynamically hide and show a UITabBarController. I'd like to see some new UI element to help this situation.
  • Provide a sync API to the Mac. Requiring every developer to build their own sync mechanism is an insane drain on collective resources.
  • Implement styled text rendering without requiring UIWebView.
  • Provide API for developers to lock out the Home button. This is important for games for very young children (who just love the clicky clicky).
  • Make the camera and the photo roll easier to deal with. Preserve EXIF data.

I hope Apple doesn't waste resources implementing a Dashboard-esque HTML5+JavaScript API. I don't see that it's needed, except to one-up Palm.

As an iPhone user:

  • Fix springboard. The current design of pages-of-apps simply doesn't scale. I argue for one page of icons, for the most valuable apps, and a second page of drill-down navigation into user-defined groups of apps. I don't think there's anything I care about more than this from a user's point of view.
  • Copy and paste. It's been an interesting experiment to see how long we could live without this staple feature, but that experiment has failed. Implement it.
  • Make screen rotation happen faster.
  • Make the lock screen show more information, such as appointments, missed calls, last few emails. Also provide API for this.
  • Let the user decide which app is launched with a double-tap of the Home button. I want it to launch the incredibly awesome Favorites, not Phone.

It's worth noting, too, that Apple have made some good improvements to the App Store recently. In particular, reviews are now tied to specific versions of the software and apps have "all time" and "this version" ratings.

I remain disappointed that the approval process continues to appear abitrary and capricious, but it is at least starting to become sufficiently clear where the 'safe zone' is. That safe zone has also dramatically expanded to include even bad-taste apps that let you jiggle virtual boobs.

I'm starting to think about new iPhone projects, where I can have a high degree of confidence that the app will be accepted. Don't have anything to announce, but the gears are turning again.