iOS 6: What Could Happen (updated)

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With WWDC approaching in a month, I've thought about the future of iOS, and what features would be announced––actually, the features I wanted to be announced. We won't officially know until Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, and Scott Forstall take the stage, but for now we can have fun speculating.

Here's my little wish list:

Lock screen

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The infamous lock screen has been pretty much the same in all 5 iterations of iOS. The glossy overlay, to me, has become a bit dull and a little unnecessary. My wish is that Scott Forstall and his team clean up a little. Taking cues from Windows Phone and even Android, I would like to see the lock screen become just an image with text on top of it. As you can see in my quick sketch above (thanks, Paper!) the date and time are the two biggest items on the screen. Notification icons are next, and are easily glanced at when simply checking your phone. Just like with iOS 5, you can slide-to-unlock directly to the app. Next is the all-too-important slider. Still maintaining the charming gesture, the interface is just cleaned up a little, replacing squares for circles. Camera access is still available, but instead of sliding up, I chose just a button that resembles the capture button on the iPad's camera app.

Gesture(s)

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Next up is gestures. The iPad has great gestures that allow for quick transitions and easy multitasking. It's easy on an iPad due to the large screen real estate, but a challenge on a 3.5-inch iPhone. I was thinking maybe just a simple two finger swipe up from the bottom would be required to bring up the multitasking tray. (As you can see, I borrowed brentcas' simple, yet sophisticated idea improving to the multitasking tray. Just to note, in brentcas' concept, there were eight icons per page not six; that is my error and I apologize. If you haven't read his post, go check it out.)

In iOS as a whole, I would like to find myself swiping instead of tapping all the time. Apps like Sparrow or Clear are good examples that take advantage of the fluidity of swiping.

I couldn't think of creative or cool gestures, so add yours in the comments!

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Landscape Multitasking would be a nice addition

Improving Notification Center

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The notification center was a much needed addition in iOS 5, but there could still be improvements overall that could occur. First and foremost: TONE DOWN THE LINEN, IT'S EVERYWHERE. Perhaps just the screen could be blurred while the notification center is overlaid, or maybe just a solid transparent color can be overlaid on top of the window below the notification center. Today, notification center has a weather widget and a stocks ticker. Apple could allow for more widgets to be displayed, and to accomodate many widgets, I have drawn pages in the concept. This will allow you to just simply swipe back and forth to see recent Facebook, G+ posts or tweets. In addition to viewing recent messages, I drew in a quick reply button that allows you to reply directly to a text inside notification center instead of tapping the icon and waiting for the app to open and then type your response. Another thing, instead of having the little clear (x) button, why not just swipe and delete?

Smart Sense

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Recently in my pathophysiology class, my teacher showed a lecture by Dr. Bonnie Bassler that spoke about bacteria and quorum sensing. If you are not familiar with quorum sensing, basically bacteria release auto inducers that help bacteria communicate with each other. By sensing the concentration of auto inducers, bacteria can approximate how many of their fellow bacteria are around them. When enough bacteria are together, they perform different functions in groups rather than individually. Just a quick example (I hope you're not bored) Vibrio fischeri bacteria that reside in the bobtail squid are luminescent, in other words, they glow. Alone they do not glow, but when enough bacteria come together, they glow and at night allow the bobtail squid to avoid predators as they blend in with the cerulean moonlit waters. This got me thinking how we can transfer this to the technological world. What if technology sensed their surroundings and behaved differently and operated differently in certain surroundings? The Nest thermostat would be a good example of how it senses the amount of individuals in a room and either lower or raises the temperature. For bacteria, it's quorum sensing, but for technology, I call it Smart Sense. Smart Sense basically is the phone's ability to change settings based on location, surrounding noise and light. The iPhone already has auto brightness, but what if when you walked into your office your phone would automagically go to vibrate or silent? What if you were in a noisy room, your ear speaker would automagically increase the volume in order for you to hear better? I believe the Motorola Droid RAZR has some of these functionalities, and I see no reason why the iPhone shouldn't become smarter. Smart technology, like smart people, should always strive to become smarter and more efficient.

AirDrop

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Not much to talk about here. I just thought it would be a nice feature to have for easy file sharing between Macs, iPads, iPod Touches and iPhones.

Maps

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It's been long rumored that Apple is creating an in-house remedy to Google Maps. There is not much conceptual work done here besides the icon. This new icon, I believe, would better reflect the new functions of maps such as 3D and voice navigation. The current app icon contains Google Maps coloring and design, so I would expect some change or tweaking to the icon.

Siri

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Siri had been in Beta since October 2011. Japanese language support was added in the iOS 5.1 release, but other than that, Siri has remained pretty much unchanged. I hope and expect to see Siri come out of beta with iOS 6 and add new Facebook and Twitter integration. Hopefully with iOS 6 apps will speak to each other and be smarter and more efficient about handling our needs. Perhaps Siri will change settings or open apps. Maybe Siri will be constantly listening for commands so we don't have to press the home button. But we can count on one thing with Siri: change. It is guaranteed Siri will become a better, faster more powerful and efficient tool with the expansion of the API.

UPDATE: Just some more little tidbits

Apple YouTube App Redesign (And Card-like "Levels" UI)

As requested by commenter PCG1, I have redesigned the Apple YouTube app. Now, this redesign(thought up by myself, not the original commenter, so don't blame him or her!) for me is iffy, but thinking about it led me to add a few touches to iOS which I will mention later. This is STRICTLY conceptual.

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The first thing I though about was Channels. As you can see, I have borrowed––I admit––heavily from the Facebook Timeline profile (now you know why I thought it was iffy). On the YouTube site, certain channels (YouTube partners) are customized such as backgrounds and colors. So, the background in the "cover photo" here while the channel thumbnail is the "profile picture." Then below the images is a subscribe button, and then the videos underneath. Another with YouTube app is the comments. It's hard to see who responded to who and the top comments; in addition, you can't even respond to other people's comments (that I know of). I'd like to see a hierarchal commenting system along with easier ways to respond, rate, or flag videos and comments.

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Alright, so as I was thinking of the channels addition to YouTube, I though about a new UI. So again, inspired by every app out there( including Facebook) with the cards interface––and my love of swiping––I drew this up. Basically you have all your categories on the "bottom" panel (which would be garnished by linen). As mentioned by commenter nutbunnies, linen is supposed to represent the "bottom" of iOS, so this would sort of make sense. For YouTube, you'd have your profile or account below as seen in the image. I don't know if this would work for the entire OS, but the card interface is much more fluid.

Little Touches

After doing the YouTube app redesign, I was in the drawing mood so I thought of just some small touches that could help iOS out a lot.

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iOS still has the light blue bars from version 1.0. To me they look a little aged and dated compared to new designs made by app and software developers. Instead of the blue bars, I thought that darker, less shiny bars would be more elegant and cleaner. In the example above, I swapped the pencil and paper button for a simple plus button for writing new messages, emails and notes.

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I'm sure by now you have recognized my love for more fluid gestures rather than tapping. One thing that's really great about the Twitter app is the "Pull to refresh" action( Twitter acquired Tweettie who originally had the idea). Since its introduction, apps like Sparrow, Facebook, Pocket, and Flipboard(sort of) have adopted the action. Why not make it pervasive all throughout iOS? It's much better to pull down than to tap on the little refresh button. Now, some apps like the App Store and YouTube have a "Load More" button at the bottom of a long list of videos or apps. When you're in the process of scrolling down it's much easier to keep swiping up than to stop the motion and tap on the button, which is why I included the "Pull [up] to load more" action.

iTunes and App Store icons

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Just a maybe...

Conclusion

That's pretty much all I got. If you have any other thoughts (Facebook integration? Photo stream social network?) just leave them in the comments. Just a note, I am a high school student. I think we can all benefit from constructive ideas that can help us improve that technology that continues to change our lives everyday. Thanks for reading!