It’s that time of year again when Apple gives folks a sneak peek at new features for the iPhone and iPad. The company does it every June at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) a forum to hype up app makers on new tools they could use in their apps.
We’ll be in attendance Monday morning in San Jose, as usual, to keep you up on the latest on what’s expected to be called iOS 13, the software that runs the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The event starts at 10 a.m. PT and will be live-streamed at Apple.com. (Pro tip: you can watch, but only via the Safari browser on your computer, iPhone or iPad.)
What’s cool about the iOS updates is that they are designed to sell new iPhones, but also to upgrade more recent iPhone and iPad models with new free software, turning them effectively into new devices.
As always, we have plenty of ideas, helped by our friends in social media, about new features we’d like to see in iOS 13. And we’re not shy about sharing them with you.
But before we do, can you name your favorite new feature from last year’s iOS 12 upgrade, beyond the general performance speedup and bug fixes? I’m guessing the answer is no, so let me give you a quick general refresher. The highlights were the ability to make group video chats on FaceTime, the ScreenTime feature that tracks how many minutes or hours you’ve been spending on your device and improved photo search tools.
With that said, here are some of the real world enhancements we’d really like to see in the upgrade.
You can forget about even better speed and performance as later iPhones are doing great there. (And besides, you know Apple will tell you iOS and the new devices are faster and more powerful, so that’s a given.)
But here’s what I want:
—Better battery management. I don’t need the extra power but could really make do with extra juice. If there is any software trick out there to give me an all-day battery, please, enlighten us Apple.
—Cancel subscription tools that aren’t hidden. The rising gravy train has ended for Apple with iPhone sales, and the company is trying to make up the difference by focusing on Services, more ways to get you to subscribe to music, news, cloud storage and the like. That’s fine, but since it’s so easy to get in and subscribe, how about one really simple way to find the button to UNSUBSCRIBE? That’s a software upgrade users would really welcome. For instance, if you want to stop subscribing to Apple Music, you need, by my estimation, eight clicks hidden in settings to stop subscribing. I have a novel idea: How about one consumer-friendly click?
—Better delete tools when you’re out of room. We’ve all gotten the nag message that our phones have run out of room. So now what? Delete every photo and video, one by one? Hunt and peck to find the downloaded podcasts and kill them? How about a stronger management tool, similar to a hard drive hierarchy, that lets us find the media and see the progress as we delete?
—Wide selfie mode. We asked for this last year too. Google Pixel 3 has it. So does recent Samsung Galaxy phones. A little wider view would really help.
—Low light improvements. Google wowed many critics, including this one, with “Night Sight” mode on the Pixel 3 phone, which let you shoot in basic almost darkness for surprisingly pleasing results. This is a software trick that Apple could easily emulate and make their customers happy.
—An all new and improved Siri. We noted 7 ways to fix the long-maligned digital assistant this week, starting with retire, please, “Here’s what I found on the Web.” Please Apple, make Siri more conversational.
And these contributions from our social media group:
—Robocall blocking. There’s nothing we hate more than those automatic calls, right, folks? So why not use the genius of Apple to figure out a way to instantly block them? “Robocall spiking to fry their autodial gear,” said Charlie Banks on Facebook.
—Apps and data. “Make a setting that allows you to turn off ALL apps for cellular data,” said Andy Williams on Facebook. “This is useful if you use an eSim or a new sim when you are traveling. Often the 2nd sim is limited for data and you just want messaging, email, web browser, maps, etc.”
—Find iPhone more efficiently. Specifically, let users opt for the “Find my iPhone” feature to track and control the phone remotely. The app serves no purposes if the phone is stolen and is offline,” notes the Twitter user known as “The Black Denzel.”
—Call recording. Click a button, and save the call – once you’ve informed the other party and obeyed relevant local laws, of course. There are apps for this now, but no one button record option. Hammad Ul Hassan made the request on Facebook.
—Split-screen. See two apps at once on the iPhone, similar to new tools introduced for the iPad in 2018. “Shouldn’t we able to watch YouTube in a window?” asked Chris MacAskill on Cake.
Many of the new features Apple will introduce have leaked to enthusiast sites. Among the expected highlights: dark mode for the iPhone and iPad to bring a black background to your screen, updates to the Mail app to help weed out promotional junk and a new look to the homepage.
In other tech news this week
Amazon said Alexa can now delete your queries, but only if you ask. The command: “Alexa, delete what I said today” and recordings from the given day will be erased. In the coming weeks in the U.S. (and later elsewhere), you will be able to say,“ Alexa, delete what I just said,” to wipe out the last request you made.
Apple updates the iPod Touch for the first time in four years. The iPhone without a phone still starts at $199, but has more oomph and the ability to play augmented reality games.
Pokemon Go brings sleep to app. The new app is called Pokemon Sleep and gameplay, according to Brett Molina, “will rely on how much time players spend sleeping and when they wake up.” The game is expected to launch in 2020.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
Facebook should delete altered videos. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.
Goodbye JibJab, hello Netflix. Greg Spiridellis talks about selling two companies in one year, JibJab and StoryBots.
7 Fixes we’d like to see for Siri. Can we start with just working?
How to deal with cracked iPhone screens. Apple Care or independent shops?
Pupdates. USA TODAY’s Madeline Purdue talks about the latest social media trend.
Finally, if you’ve been following our recent European tour, here’s the latest installment, from Lisbon, Portugal.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Talking Tech newsletter. Subscribe at http://technewsletter.usatoday.com, listen to the daily Talking Tech podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and follow me (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.