Concept: 50+ ways Apple could refine the iPhone experience with iOS 15


iOS 14 was a major release for the platform, adding things like widgets, the App Library, updates to Messages, a redesigned Siri, and so much more. It was lauded as a key feature update so it would only be natural for iOS 15 to be a smaller update focused on refinements. While brainstorming what made the most sense for an iOS 15 concept, I had to weed out lots of ideas. I chose to focus on small changes to existing apps and features.

In 2021 Apple’s mobile platform is incredibly polished, but there are still some important features missing from it. Apple’s enhanced focus on privacy, changes they made to the Home Screen last year, and apps like Weather and Stocks could use some updates.

iOS 15 appears to finally be on the horizon, this morning 9to5mac found references to “iOS 15.0” in the latest version of Apple’s open-source WebKit framework. While we wait for WWDC 2021 to be announced, let’s talk about what we might see in the next release of iOS.

Home Screen

The Home Screen was huge piece of iOS 14, and with iOS 15, it’s more than likely that Apple will polish some of the enhancements they made. For me, it starts with the ability to resize widgets already on your Home Screen. It’s a small but important thing missing from the current widget set up. The App Library has become integral to the iPhone experience, but the alphabetical list of apps needs to be set free. I’d like to be able to swipe down from any page and access it.

The new page overview was a nice hidden feature of iOS 14. With iOS 15, I’d love for them to make it even more useful. I’d love to be able to rearrange Home Screen pages and remove entire pages of apps. It could even be useful to have a button that adds a new blank page.

Privacy

App privacy labels are a major component of Apple’s privacy strategy. But they aren’t any help if a user never sees them. If a user has already installed an app and has had it for a long time, they likely won’t see the privacy labels or the data that’s being collected.

What if after every software update or app update from the App Store, a new launch screen would show up with the release notes? It could also offer customers the ability to view privacy labels after every update in case changes are made by the developer. This could apply to both Apple’s apps and third-party apps. If a developer adds a new label, the user will see it highlighted in the launch screen after updating. The labels would only be shown automatically one time and there’d be a button to view them after every subsequent update.

FaceTime

Apple has let FaceTime fall behind the competition, especially amid the pandemic that has forced us all to use video calling platforms more and more. With iOS 15, Apple could add the ability to schedule FaceTime calls with other Apple IDs and attach them to calendar invites.

Screen sharing is another thing missing from FaceTime. You can already share your screen on your Mac using the Messages app, but with FaceTime on iOS Apple could add a new share toggle to the control panel. Indicators in the status bar would tell you if your iPhone is projecting its display.

Screenshots over FaceTime could be a problem, so Apple could require you to approve screenshots remotely if someone attempts to take one.

Stocks

The Stocks app rarely gets updated, but there’s been an explosion of stock interest among the general public with the Gamestop phenomenon. It would be incredibly useful if Stocks could let you enter your actual positions and track the value in real time.

Even better, Apple could create a new API so that you can connect the Stocks app with trading services like Robinhood and E*Trade and have your positions automatically added to the app.

Keyboard

Emoji are one of the most popular features on iOS, but it’s still missing the ability to save your favorites for easy access. A new favorites tab in the emoji keyboard could be separate from recently used. You could easily tap and hold on an emoji and slide your finger over to select the start icon. It’d be just as easy to remove a favorite.

One feature of the popular Gboard app is haptic feedback on key presses. Apple could add a new toggle so that when typing you’d have physical feedback.

Keychain

Passwords are stuck inside the Settings app as of now, but they deserve to have their own home and app. The Mac already has its own Keychain Access app so why shouldn’t iOS? A new Keychain app could let you organize your passwords by category and get quick access to frequently used ones.

Apple could also add a new authenticator to the app so that users wouldn’t need to download apps like Google Authenticator or Authy. With one tap, you could copy a code or generate a new one. Autofill for passwords could even include the code generator so you wouldn’t need to switch apps to generate a code.

Nightstand Mode

Apple Watch’s nightstand mode could come to iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models with MagSafe. When an iPhone detects it’s connected to a MagSafe charger or stand, it could display a large clock. Below the clock you’d see the date and any upcoming alarms.

If you wear an Apple Watch to sleep and it detects that you are awake, it could tell your iPhone to illuminate the display so you don’t have to touch it to wake it up.

Nightstand mode could serve as the first feature of an always-on display in the next-generation iPhone and be a foundation for which users could build their understanding of its use cases on.

Weather

The Weather app hasn’t received a redesign since iOS 7, and with the acquisition of Dark Sky last year, it’s time for it to finally happen. The new design could be modeled after widgets and show more glanceable data at once. Tapping on a location would expand out to the current full-screen animated view.

Information could be more accurate and sourced from Dark Sky instead of the Weather Channel. The same awesome notifications about upcoming precipitation that made Dark Sky so useful could come to the built-in Weather app as well.

Home

HomePod and HomePod mini are important pillars of Apple’s HomeKit strategy, and the Home app should reflect that. A new HomePod tab could let you access settings for all of your HomePods in one nice place. But a new feed called “What’s Happening” could show you all of the audio playing on your HomePods as well as things like alarms that are currently set.

You could even see what’s playing on your Apple TVs in the new What’s Happening feed and access the remote directly from there.

Since the HomePod has no display to show you what you’ve requested of it, a new Siri History page could be added to HomePod settings so you can see any request that has been made. Apple wouldn’t record any audio and all of the transcripts would remain local on your HomePod, although projected to your iPhone.

MagSafe

The animations that appear when you connect a MagSafe accessory to the back of your iPhone 12 are really nice, but they can be cumbersome. A new toggle could let you reset them if they stop appearing or disable them completely. You could even see all the details of a connected accessory like the color, release date, and more.

There’s so much that I’ve considered for iOS 15 so you can check out the release notes below and get all of the details. Let us know what you think in the comments below and what other features you might want to see later this year!

“Release Notes”

  • Home Screen
    • Swipe down on any page for the App Library
      • See all installed apps in the A-Z list
      • Combined Siri suggestions and suggested apps
      • Tap and hold an app to drag it to any page
    • Resize existing widgets
      • Tap and hold for the context menu and tap resize
      • Choose from all available size classes for that widget
    • Edit Home Screen pages
      • Rearrange pages on your home screen
      • Delete entire pages and send all apps to the library
      • Add new pages with a tap
  • Launch Screens
    • Release notes upon launch
      • When you launch an app post update, you’ll see the release notes
      • You can create custom bullet points with icons in addition to standard release notes
      • Privacy labels are accessible for users who never see the App Store listing
      • Updates to privacy labels are highlighted to the user after an update to them
      • Works with Apple apps and third-party apps
  • Facetime
    • Schedule Facetime calls
      • When creating a new calendar listing you can create a future call with invitees
      • Checks for invitees’ Apple IDs before confirming the future call
    • Share your iPhone or iPad’s display
      • Tap the new share button to project your device’s display to a friend
      • Take screenshots of callers’ devices remotely with their approval
      • Status bar indicator tells you when you’re sharing your screen
  • Stocks
    • Track your personal positions
      • Enter stocks you own manually and track their value in realtime
      • New positions tab separates stocks you own from stocks you follow
    • Connect with stock trading apps
      • Like TV channels, connect to apps like Robinhood & E*Trade
      • Automatically adds stocks you own
    • News tab
      • The new News tab lets you follow your favorite business news sources
  • Keyboard
    • Favorite emoji
      • Scroll over to the far left page of your emoji keyboard for favorites
      • Tap and hold an emoji and slide your finger over to star it
      • Tap and hold favorite emoji and slide your finger over to remove it
    • Haptic taps
      • Enable haptic feedback for every key press on your iPhone
  • Keychain App
    • Standalone app
      • Removes passwords from Settings and sets them free
      • Organize your passwords by category
      • Quickly access your frequently used passwords
    • Two-factor authenticator
      • Add services you use two-factor codes with to Keychain
      • Quickly copy the code with a tap or generate a new one
  • Nightstand Mode
    • Alarm clock
      • Large clock displays the time when your iPhone detects movement
      • Shows your next alarm
      • Lets you know if your iPhone is connected to wifi and how much battery is left
      • Only appears while your iPhone is on a MagSafe charger
    • Apple Watch integration
      • The display will illuminate if your Apple Watch determines you’re awake in Sleep mode
  • Weather
    • Completely redesigned
      • Modern design shows you more information at a glance
      • Tap a location to expand the animations full screen and see more information
      • Quickly add a location to your Home Screen as a widget
      • New app icon reminiscent of Dark Sky
    • Dark Sky integration
      • More detailed precipitation graphs sourced from Dark Sky
      • Notifications for upcoming precipitation
  • Home
    • New HomePod tab
      • See all of your HomePods at once
      • What’s Happening feed with playback, alarms, and more
      • Drag and drop HomePods to create and remove stereo pairs
    • Siri Request History
      • Read transcripts of what has been asked of Siri on your HomePods
      • The transcripts remain local on your HomePod but are projected to your iPhone
  • MagSafe Accessories
    • New Settings panel
      • Enable or disable MagSafe animations when you connect accessories
      • See information about your MagSafe accessories
      • Check if an accessory is genuine

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