No, I’m not talking about how changing the volume takes up the entire screen on an iPhone for absolutely no reason. No, I’m not talking about lingering notifications that aren’t easy to dismiss blocking interface elements. Apple still hasn’t fixed those after 11 versions of iOS. You’d think someone at Apple would be half decent with an interface design. I honestly now think they’re keeping the volume display as obtrusive as possible to see how long Apple users will continue to put up with it before being driven mad. No, I’m talking about the biggest problem the iPad faced in iOS 10. Remember?
Yeah. No flashlight. Well guess what?
The flashlight is here to stay. Now, when you’re lost in the woods with no phone, no lighter, no flint and steel, no camera with flash, and no glow sticks, you can use the flash on your iPad to find your way home.
As a subway commuter, I quickly learned a little trick for getting service in the subway. For the uninitiated, nearly every subway station in NYC now has cellular reception. Usually it’s LTE, but sometimes it’s just 3G. But these are the only places where you can get service. In the tunnels between stations, there is no service. When the iPhone loses a data connection, it goes down the chain of potential technologies to use for a connection. First it looks for 3G, then it looks for a call-only connection, and finally, it settles on no service. When service returns, it goes back up the chain… slowly. Often you’re not in a station long enough for it to get back to LTE on its own. That’s where the little trick comes in. I have an iPhone 6s, so I’ve got Force Touch. I press hard on the Settings icon, and tap the Cellular option that comes up. Then I turn Cellular Data off for about 5-10 seconds, then I turn it back on. This causes the cellular radio to reset. When the cellular radio gets powered back on, it looks for a connection in descending order, starting with the best possible connection. First LTE, then 3G, then a voice only connection. When this happens, it goes from “thinking” there’s only a 1x voice connection to realizing that there’s an LTE connection available. It’s a handy trick, and one I’ve actually heard other commuters talking about, so I know it works.
When Apple introduced iOS 11, they put all the wireless radios in Control Center. I was probably more excited than I had any right to be. This put the cellular radio toggle just a swipe and a tap away from any app. Surely this would make my little trick easier. However, when I tried it on the subway, I found it didn’t work. The next day, I read an article that told me why: the toggle is a lie. iOS doesn’t shut off the cellular, WiFi, or Bluetooth radios when you toggle them in Control Center. This is a huge problem, it’s a UI element that claims to do something, but doesn’t do it, tricking it’s user. It’s simultaneously unlike Apple and extremely Apple-like.
Apple has never been a company to look into the past, always moving forward. However, once before, they celebrated how far they came with a brand new product that encapsulates all the greatness of their past products while simultaneously forging forward. The 20th anniversary Macintosh, released in 1997, came out just a few years before Apple released Mac OS X, a dramatic leap forward in the desktop operating system. It’s a rare moment of nostalgia for Apple before they forge ahead with new technologies. Plus, customers love these creative devices. Something else Apple rarely does? Leak their own products. 2017 seems to be a unique hear for them, because this year, they’re both looking back, and leaking their own products.
For the second time, Apple accidentally released firmware that reveals their upcoming products. Now we know for sure that the next iPhones will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and a new premium model, the iPhone X. Apple also revealed a new Apple Watch, presumably the LTE Apple Watch, as well as a secret feature of the iPhone X: emoji that track (and react to) your face!
WWDC starts on Monday, and Apple will reveal new versions of macOS and iOS. iOS is expected to undergo its first major user interface (UI) overhaul since iOS 7, released four years ago. Beyond that, leaks have been incredibly hard to come by, we just don’t know what’s coming up next. What could Apple be working on? The UI changes alone could be substantial, but perhaps Apple’s doing more, like upgrades to Siri, a dark mode, better third party integrations, or all of the above. What do you want to see next in iOS? To help you out, I’ve outlined a few ideas from my wish list below.