Eight fixes the iPhone 5 needs
The iPhone 5 is an excellent product, but it isn’t perfect. Here’s the good news: a lot of these issues could be addressed in an iOS 6 update.
Three weeks into using the iPhone 5, there’s an awful lot I like: the screen, the weight, the speed, and even features like turn-by-turn navigation, which has become my lifeline while moving out to the suburbs with a car. It is, without a doubt, my favorite iPhone. However, there are aspects I’d like to see addressed: Maps is at the top of the list, obviously. But there are also some small features in iOS 6 that could stand to be improved. And, there are some nonsoftware issues as well.
“Better reception or Wi-Fi quality” isn’t on my list, because I haven’t encountered those issues, although there are some people who have. Battery life isn’t on here, either, because the battery life on the iPhone 5 is about the same as on the 4S. Sure, it could be even better, but it’s on par with many other 4G phones, and good for its slim size. (I’d love to see a battery optimized model of the iPhone, like the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, but I guess that will have to wait for iPhone 6 — or at least 5S.)
So, with those caveats firmly in place, here are the top things I’d most like to see fixed on the new iPhone. (And, yes — many of them are iOS 6 issues that can extend to the iPad, iPod Touch, and older iPhones as well.)
A change to Maps, sooner than later. Search is bizarre. Locations are wrong. You know this already; Apple knows this already. The company has made promises to improve Maps. Still, throwing some bone out in iOS 6.1 — be it baked-in public transit info, or any sort of improvement — would be a good first step. No time like the present.
Fix those scratches on the black iPhone. My review model was white, and I never sawscratching problems, even when I ran keys on the aluminum back. However, I’ve seen the scuffs on the black model’s slate-colored aluminum finish on the phone of someone here at the office. I’d like to see a return to basic silver-colored aluminum if it means scratches on the all-black model’s the alternative. If I were buying a black iPhone 5, I’d always use a case. The truth is, iPhone 5 owners better just get used to it, or get the white model instead…which I’ve found doesn’t scuff much at all.
Get those Lightning accessories out there, stat. So far, there just aren’t that many accessories. I’ve started hanging onto the included Lightning cable that came with the iPhone 5 like a lucky rabbit’s foot. iPhone 5 accessories need to become cheap and ubiquitous; as it is, they’re currently unreleased or impossible to find. Also, a small proposal: please find a way for video output to work via a 30-pin adapter, if possible.
Make it easier to see and access everything I own in iTunes. You should be able to see all your videos, music, and books without continually finding the nearly hidden “purchased” tab in the App Store and iTunes. iTunes Match solves that problem to some extent for those who subscribe, but purchased content should be visible like it is on Kindles, or in the Kindle and Amazon apps.
Clean up the new App Store and iTunes Store. The newly designed versions of both of these apps feel clunky and oddly laid-out, and have been more prone to crashing. Search tools in the App Store need to be improved, too. Plus, make a clear section for “iPhone 5” apps, as opposed to ones that haven’t been updated.
Add more services to the Notifications screen. This is still a relatively wasted resource on iOS 6, and the longer-screened iPhone 5could be taking advantage of it so much better. Could shortcuts to settings and a few more baked-in apps like Stocks and Weather be added in time for iOS 6.1? I’m doubtful, but hopefully more apps will take advantage of notifications screen integration.
Explain Passbook, and integrate it better. Passbook remains the “mystery app” that most people I know have no idea how to use. True, it relies on other apps and services to provide the digital tickets and coupons that fill Passbook’s virtual wallet, but how about an explanation, or even a starter coupon? It’s not intuitive. The Starbucks app now supports Passbook, and apps like Fandango do already. Hopefully that gets the ball rolling.