5 things Apple needs to fix in iOS 12

iPhone X would be even better with these improvements.

 

 

We can forget about big new features for iOS 12. Apple is focused on “addressing performance and quality issues” in 2018, according to a new report. Here are five things that should be at the top of the company’s repair list.

Siri’s voice recognition

Siri is missing features offered by rival virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, but it’s unlikely that’s going to change anytime soon. Apple’s restrictions mean Siri will never be as flexible as its rivals. But Apple can (and should) improve its voice recognition.

It’s been over five years since the virtual assistant made its debut on iPhone 4s, and yet it still has problems understanding many users. Siri still cannot perform simple commands for some users, or properly transcribe dictation. Some even say it has gotten worse in recent years.

 

 

 

 

Apple gave Siri a more natural voice with iOS 11, but that’s not enough. It doesn’t matter how convincing it sounds if its responses are way off target. Accurate voice recognition is a must for any virtual assistant, and with HomePod on the way, Apple needs to fix it now more than ever.

 

Notification Center

Notification Center has remained largely unchanged since it was introduced with iOS 5. It looks better now, but it’s fundamentally the same. In other words, it’s still a horrible mess.

Most of us get dozens of notifications every day, and if you don’t look at your iPhone regularly, the most important ones get lost among a sea of clutter. Apple really needs to fix this, and it should start by ripping off Android’s notifications.

 

 

 

 

Android lets you categorize your notifications for every app, so your most important alerts are always visible at the top of the list, regardless of when they were received. That means an important email can’t be buried under 20 notifications from a game you never play anymore.

Android also groups notifications for each app so they don’t end up all over the place, and you can dismiss them all at once. You can even color-code them so they’re really easy to spot at a glance. Again, this prevents important messages from being lost within a long list of alerts.

Apple should hire some Android designers to fix iOS notifications. They are a mess. Ideas to fix them:
* Group notifications
* Unread dots instead of numbers
* Easier way to clear all

Google even gives its users the ability to snooze notifications so they reappear at a more convenient time, while developers can issue them with a timer. This means time-sensitive notifications — like a flash sale in a shopping app — don’t sit there after the sale has expired.

 

Portrait mode

Lots of iPhone users love Portrait mode, but most agree it could be better. With two camera lenses to rely on, it should do a better job of identifying your subject and not making them blurry around the edges. Sometimes it’s awesome; sometimes it’s a complete bust.

Apple should be able to fix this with improvements in software. Google nailed it in its Pixel 2 lineup, which has just one rear-facing camera, so Apple should be able to do better.

 

iPhone X’s status bar

iPhone X’s “notch” means we can’t have a complete status bar, and Apple decides what is displayed in the space available. Not everyone needs to see cellular and Wi-Fi signal strength, however. Some would prefer a Bluetooth indicator or battery percentage.

Apple needs to make the status bar customizable — just as it did with Control Center in iOS 11 — so that we can choose what’s displayed there.

 

Bugs

I’ve already ranted about how buggy Apple’s software has become. Some of the most serious issues in iOS 11 have already been addressed, but plenty of smaller glitches remain. There’s a whole Twitter Moment dedicated to them.

 

 

 

 

Apple needs to eliminate these problems. It has earned a sterling reputation for spectacular software over the years, and there’s a risk that will be tarnished. We don’t (and shouldn’t) expect weird glitches and random freezes on iPhones and iPads.

I appreciate that smaller issues are difficult to identify in beta testing, and software will never be perfect. But it’s baffling that some of these problems made their way into public iOS releases — and still remain today. If Apple only fixes one thing on this list, bugs should be it.