October 2, 2023

It’s a brand new 12 months, which implies Apple’s Worldwide Builders Convention will begin in only a few months now. At the moment, we’re positively going to see the following spherical of software program updates for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and presumably, tvOS. On the iPhone and iPad entrance, this implies we’ll be getting iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.

However in accordance with latest studies, this can be a quieter 12 months for software program updates for present units. That’s as a result of it appears Apple is placing most of its consideration on the long-rumored mixed-reality headset, which can lastly be introduced this 12 months.

So although there’s lots I’m hoping for in iOS 17, we could find yourself with a extra refined replace that might merely be about refining what already exists, slightly than bringing large new adjustments. And, truthfully, I’m all for that.

Not each replace must be an enormous one

iPhone 14 Pro home screen with custom app icons and the Activity and Fantastical widgets
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Traits

It appears that evidently yearly Apple releases a brand new model of iOS and iPadOS, there’s some type of large new characteristic. The clearest and most up-to-date instance of this was with iOS 14, which introduced large adjustments to the house display screen, permitting customers so as to add widgets and even customise app icons with out the necessity for jailbreaking. It additionally introduced another welcome adjustments, like pinned message threads and even inline replies.

The successor, iOS 15, was extra about making refinements to the software program, but it surely nonetheless launched some new options like Focus modes, bringing FaceTime to others through net hyperlinks, and extra. This was positively a kind of quieter releases, but it surely made the general circulation of issues higher, for essentially the most half.

Then comes iOS 16, which follows within the footsteps of iOS 14 and introduced extra customization, however to the lock display screen. Apple lastly gave us a little bit extra wiggle room to make the lock display screen, which is actually the very first thing we see once we choose up our iPhones, extra customized for our particular person tastes. With iOS 16, we will change up the typeface and shade, add some informative widgets, have a number of lock screens and hyperlink them to a Focus mode, and add filters to our wallpaper picture if we want.

Wallpaper settings on the iPhone 14 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Nevertheless, as glad as I’m that we will lastly change up the lock display screen, I completely hate the interface for doing so. It’s cumbersome, under no circumstances intuitive, and it makes altering your property display screen a nightmare. I imply, have you ever tried to simply change solely your property display screen wallpaper these days? It’s a large number.

It’s such a foul instance of consumer expertise and interface in comparison with iOS 15 and older, and an enormous step backward, for my part. I used to vary my residence display screen wallpaper frequently, however these days, I do it a lot much less; it must be a wallpaper that I don’t thoughts going by such a tedious course of to vary.

It’s time to repair and refine what we have already got

The Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Joe Maring/Digital Traits

If the rumors are true that Apple is placing far more emphasis on VR this 12 months and iOS 17 will not be an enormous launch, then I’m all for it. As a lot as I like seeing Apple convey new options over to iOS to perhaps convey it nearer to how Android handles sure issues, I want to see extra enhancements with what we at present have as an alternative.

I feel Apple had the precise thought with iOS 16, however the best way that lock display screen customization was executed could be very poor, leading to a irritating consumer expertise. As an alternative of at all times serious about what the following large new characteristic is, Apple wants to try what it at present has, and work on making it extra streamlined. In spite of everything, for a model that’s identified for being “easy” and simple to know, customizing the lock display screen and residential screens has been something however.

An iPad using Stage Manager in iPadOS 16.

One of the best instance of when Apple centered on making its software program a greater expertise for everybody was the transition from Mac OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard. With Mac OS X Leopard, there have been over 300 new options, and it was a blockbuster launch within the historical past of Mac OS X. When Snow Leopard got here alongside, Apple straight-up mentioned that it could haven’t any new options. As an alternative, it simply made all the pieces that already existed from Leopard work higher, as a result of it squashed many bugs that surfaced whereas making different issues extra refined.

It appears that evidently we hardly get such releases with iOS and iPadOS. As an alternative, there are at all times new options in every of those releases, however Apple ought to actually rethink. Stage Supervisor is type of a catastrophe on iPadOS, the lock/residence display screen customization course of on iOS 16 is likely one of the worst issues Apple has executed, and notifications are nonetheless an absolute mess in comparison with Android. Can we critically simply excellent these current options earlier than including the following large factor?

Let’s return to it simply works

Close-up of the iPhone SE 2022 and iPhone 14 Plus camera modules.
Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Although I nonetheless favor my iPhone 14 Professional as my day by day driver over a few of the Android telephones I’ve been utilizing (Google Pixel 7, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4) as a result of it’s total smoother and runs higher, iOS is much from excellent. Apple will get some issues proper, but it surely additionally will get different issues incorrect. Sure, even Apple makes errors.

As a lot as I wish to see Apple add extra options to convey it nearer to its Android rivals, I feel it could be finest to make higher variations of the options we have now proper now. And it appears like which may be occurring this 12 months with iOS 17.

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