I’ve been an iOS user for nearly eight months now having bought a 4G iPod Touch to find out what Apple’s mobile OS is all about. Having used Android for the last two years and Windows Mobile for the six before that it’s fair to say that I’ve never been a huge Apple fan. That said the point of this post isn’t to bash iOS but just to provide my personal opinion on where I think it could be improved. To be clear, iOS is a first class mobile OS and most of the following are mere niggles. But in my experience it’s the little details that make all the difference.
Apple deserve the plaudits for really bringing mobile browsing into the 21st century. Web browsing on a mobile before the iPhone was lacklustre at best and even now Safari is one of the better mobile browsers. But for me all that it gets right is almost wasted for the lack of one feature: text wrapping. In my opinion having to scroll horizontally to read text is a big fail. It’s so much more comfortable to only have to scroll downwards on a mobile device. With iOS I have to constantly rotate my iPod Touch into landscape mode in order to comfortably read text without having to scroll horizontally. I have to change my usage to fit the browser. Why can’t the browser adapt to my usage?
Searching in the App Store
I can’t for the life of me understand why the search tab in the app store defaults to showing the last search made. How is this useful? This is made even more annoying by the fact that you can’t just overwrite the previous search. You have to manually remove it. The Spotlight search gets it right by being empty every time, why the inconsistency?
Every time you install an app you get a pointless animation which pulls you out of the app store and taken to your very last homescreen where an icon for the app you’ve just installed is placed. I’m struggling to understand the point of this. It means that I have to manually navigate back to the app store to continue my browsing. Android’s background installation of apps is far more elegant and unobtrusiveness.
App Store Navigation
The app store only shows lists of apps 25 at a time. When you reach the bottom of a list you have to select the more button to load the next 25 apps. This isn’t really an issue although Android’s method of autoloading more apps when you reach the bottom of the screen is superior. The real annoyance occurs when you actually start selecting apps to get more detail. For example, I’ve reached the 70th app in a list by selecting the more option twice. I click on the app to get more information about it but decide not to install it. I then click on the back button which takes me back to… the very top of the list I’ve just worked my way down. Not only have I lost my place in the list, I also have to manually hit the more buttons all over again and wait for the apps to reload. Why Apple why?
Having used various soft keyboards I’ve found that for sheer accuracy the iOS keyboard beats all others. It’s the one that lets me type the fastest with the fewest errors. But it’s still not perfect. It would be great to have secondary functions on the keys similar to how HTC have on their Sense keyboard to allow quick access to other characters without having to switch to another keyboard. And why are the letter always shown in capitals? Even when typing in lower case.
- Not exactly intuitive
Perhaps I should have started with this as iOS’s notification system is widely derided. There are several problems with the way it it works. Firstly they’re extremely intrusive, taking over the screen and covering up whatever it is you’re doing at the time a notification received. Secondly there’s no way to ignore them, they either have to be dismissed or opened. If dismissed they can’t be recovered later leaving you the choice of either disrupting your present task or having remember to action the notification later without any prompt. It’s an awful system which desperately needs an upgrade.
One Android feature I really miss in iOS is the ability to share just about anything in countless different ways. iOS’s sharing abilities don’t really stand comparison. For example, I find an interesting article online and want to share it. My only option is email. No Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Bluetooth or Whatsapp, let alone Read it later. The lack of access to the file system also means that the things you can share are also limited.