As a send-off to 2007, I’m assembling my 2008 Apple wishlist, as mentioned in my previous posts. I’m not asking for new products… just enhancements that would make their products better for users like me.
Apple must be inundated with idea after idea on how to improve or really make the iPhone a better product. But, I won’t lie; the iPhone is an awesome device. I had a series of disappointing Verizon phones (preceeded by an equally disappointing SprintPCS phone) over 3 years. No matter what glitches I’ve experienced with the iPhone (and there have been a couple doozies), I actually feel empowered with my phone now… rather than crippled or limited. Anywhere I go, I have access (even if occasionally slow via the EDGE network) to my email, maps for directions, and my full address book. Not to mention some great games and my Google Reader newsfeeds.
That said, there’s room for improvement. Particularly around syncing, which I mentioned earlier as a .Mac feature. I can understand .Mac-like sync not being a feature available to every user, as someone has to pay for server storage of all that information. The following suggestions, though, would apply for any iPhone and/or iPod user straight out of the box.
- Shortcut creation (iPhone)
I can’t say I’m a giant fan of the touchscreen’s keyboard on the iPhone. While some know me for my sissy-soft hands, my iPhone knows me for a different digited issue: fat fingers. And fat fingers make it hard to type (particularly quickly) on a small keyboard. To make matters worse, Apple’s auto-correction software somehow manages to bungle both my regular English words and my old SMS shorthand. “MTG” (“meeting”) becomes “MTV,” “WFH” (“working from home”) becomes “WTH,” etc.
Worse, the software doesn’t learn. No matter how many times I type “MTG,” it keeps on thinking I mean MTV. The “S” in SMS stands for “Short.” Why can’t I send short, shorthand MSGs (not MAGS) to others? I can appreciate Apple’s efforts to make the world a more formal, English-literate place. Most of us, though, aren’t sending TXTs to the CEO. Let us use our efficient little lingua franca, please. And, show us a little love by learning it over time… make that auto-correction start suggesting the words I use. Particularly, my email address. (And, please, please stop auto-capitalizing my email address as soon as I add the “@” symbol.)
As it stands, I somewhat dread SMSing on the iPhone, as I know I’ll have to think just to send my note. That sounds like a Windows experience to me; I prefer the Mac-way of doing things, thank you.
- CoverFlow browsing (iPod… and should be an iPhone issue, too!)
iTunes 7.x and Mac OS X Leopard recently incorporated CoverFlow into their browsing experience, which provides a visual, flip-book-like approach to perusing music and data libraries. It rocks. I was sold the minute I first played with it. (After all, who doesn’t remember their LP/CD covers when thinking about their favorite albums?) It is so, so, so much more engaging than scrolling through a 12-point text list.iTunes display for music on Mac (left) and iPod (right).
Sadly, though, when I browse the music on my iPod in iTunes, I’m presented with an old-school 12-point text list of all my tracks. What happened? I was just flipping through this beautiful presentation of the limited selection of music on my Mac, and when I switch to the pimped-out, 80GB iPod, I get the limited, pre-iTunes 7.x experience. Any reason I can’t have the big boys’ experience while viewing my iPod’s content, too?
- Don’t cripple iPod functionality on the iPhone (iPhone)
Manual music management on my iPods rock. The reason I use an iPod in the first place (these days, at least) is that I don’t have to keep my entire music library on my limited-space laptop drive. By manually copying and managing tracks to my iPod, I can keep them there, and keep my hard drive free for data and work.
Unfortunately, the iPhone allows no such similar functionality. The only way to get music on the device is to sync playlists from my Mac to my iPhone. Delete the track off my Mac? Next sync, its getting wiped off my iPhone.
To make annoying matters worse, the iPhone also doesn’t let me play my music stored on it when plugged into my Mac. Why? This totally baffles me. The iPhone says “iPod” right on the package, as well as on its Home screen button. It shows up in iTunes like an iPod.
So why can’t I stash and play my music? This has effectively killed the “iPod” component of the iPhone for me… the only time I use my iPods for music is when I plug them into my many different Macs.
- Do not disconnect! (iPod)
Really?! From the company that brought hot-swapping drives mainstream? To this day, I need to manually “eject” my iPod from my Mac, waiting tens of seconds (usually 6 tens, to be precise) for my iPod to tidy up and close shop. Usually, the reason I need to remove the iPod is that I’m dashing off to a meeting, and don’t want to lug the iPod, its cable, and its charger along.
Call me naive, but I believe that Apple can provide a simple, elegant, and little-chance-of-harm means of disconnecting iPods by simply unplugging the device. What can I say? I dare to dream.
Like I said, the iPhone (and the iPod) rocks. Apple could totally ignore these issues, and I’ll keep using them just the same. Only thing, though, is that a little piece of me will die each time I do, knowing they could have done just a little bit better.