8 things we’d like to see in iOS 7

It's that time of year again. Later today, Apple kicks off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, and we'll get a taste of what's to come with iOS 7 and Mac OS X.

With iOS 6, we got Siri on the iPad, as well as Facebook integration, and FaceTime video chat over cellular. There was also Passbook, shared photo streams, and voice commands for apps. Unfortunately for Cupertino, iOS 6 also ditched Google Maps in favour of Apple Maps, a release that proved to be a tad premature. We also lost the pre-installed YouTube app, but Google quickly released an iOS version of the video service.

This time around, the biggest rumour about iOS 7 is that it will feature a completely redesigned interface thanks to Apple's design chief, Jonny Ive.

However, we've had our thinking caps on as to what we want to see in iOS 7, and design really wasn't a top priority. As far as we’re concerned, it’s not what the OS looks like, but what it can actually do that’s important.

And to that end, we’ve put our head together and compiled this rundown of features which we’d like to see appear in iOS 7.

It won’t be long before we find out what Apple will unveil, and indeed you’ll be able to watch the keynote unfold later today with our live coverage here (the proceedings start at 18:00 BST). Until then, check out our wishlist for iOS 7…

Browser choice

While a number of companies have released versions of their browsers for iOS, they are not as full-featured as they could be. As a result, software analyst Michael Muchmore requested "the ability to install true browsers from third parties like Firefox." Others want to be able to pick a browser other than Safari as their default browser when opening links.

Multi-tasking

With the snap feature on Windows 8 and the Multi-Window view on Samsung Galaxy gadgets, users can multi-task and use two apps at the same time. Michael Muchmore would like to see this come to iOS, though it would probably be more feasible on the iPad than the iPhone.

Easier access

While passcodes are necessary for security, they can get in the way of swift access to things you need – like Siri. "I'd like instant-on Siri, with voice recognition for authentication so it can't be used by somebody else," said security analyst Neil Rubenking. Meanwhile, Eric Griffith wants easier Bluetooth access: "I hate constantly going into settings to turn off that battery-hogging Bluetooth that I typically only use for an hour a day or so with a wireless speaker or in the car." Similarly, Max Eddy requested a Wi-Fi/Airplane mode toggle in the notification centre.

Better integration across OS X, iCloud

Mac OS X Mountain Lion adopted many iOS features to more tightly integrate the mobile OS with the desktop. But it could still use some work, according to Max Eddy. "I should be able to seamlessly move files between my device and computer," he said. "Despite improvements, the iPhone is still kind of an island." To that end, Michael Muchmore also asked for remote app installation from a web app store.

Expanded VIP features

Jill Duffy requested an improvement to the VIP feature within iOS. She wants it to be available across the OS – "not only on Mail, but across communication channels for any contact," she said. That includes auto-filling phone numbers when you start to key in a recently dialled number.

Widgets

Android fans asked for the ability to customise widgets on the home screen. But when it comes to design, Apple is not one to embrace customisation, so this will likely remain in Google's domain.

Improved iMessage

"Who doesn't like free texting? iMessage rocks for that purpose, but it's also surprisingly unreliable," says Jamie Lendino. "Unlike texting, it should work fine when connected over Wi-Fi, but it doesn't. That's not to say regular cellular texting is bulletproof on this phone, either. Why do text messages get hung up and eventually say 'not delivered' all the time? I suspect it's iOS related, because Galaxy S3s and S4s don't seem to have this problem."

Support for higher resolution displays

Jamie Lendino also notes: “Apple pulled it off twice so far, with the jump from 480 x 320 to 960 x 640, and again to 1,136 x 640. It's time to go full HD (1,920 x 1,080). And of course, hopefully that will come hand-in-hand with larger hardware.”