Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is only a month and a half away, and interest in the impending iOS 8 announcement is starting to surge across the Internet. iOS has come a long way since its original version in 2007, and it's quite mature now. It's no longer missing any major features on the scale of copy and paste and third-party apps, so what can Apple offer in iOS 8 to deliver an exciting new revision?
As rumour has it, Apple is incorporating the functionality of the popular Shazam app directly into iOS 8. Bloomberg has reported that Apple is working with the folks at Shazam to integrate the music recognition engine into iOS devices, and it has two inside sources confirming that information. Considering that the iTunes music store still plays a major role at Cupertino, a partnership with Shazam makes complete sense. Spotify, Rdio, and Pandora are breathing down Apple's neck, so a return to innovation in the music space would be a smart move right about now. If Shazam's song detection feeds directly into iTunes Radio, even better.
Beyond that most recent rumour, a number of potential improvements for iOS 8 immediately spring to mind. First and foremost, we need real competitors in the browser space. If Apple would lift the ban on third-party rendering engines, we would most certainly see some stiff competition from Mozilla, Google, and Opera on the App Store. Apple's WebKit is perfectly fine, but iOS users would undoubtedly benefit from the competition. Android already has access to a number of high quality rendering engines, and iOS is missing out on all of the action.
While we're on the subject, Apple needs to allow users to choose their default web browser as well. When I tap on a link in an email, it always loads in Safari. If I want to open the link in Chrome or Atomic instead, I have to long-press, copy, switch to a browser, and paste in the URL. It works, but it's much more complicated than it should be. Apple already allows users to configure default applications in OS X, so there's seemingly no legitimate reason why iOS shouldn't have the same functionality.
iOS has had the ability to select text, copy, and paste since version 3.0 was released, but it's still not exactly up to snuff. Selecting the exact string of text you want from a website or PDF can be incredibly frustrating, and we all know Apple can do better. If nothing else, the addition of on-screen arrow keys would be a huge step forward in terms of usability.
Come to think of it, many different aspects of the OS could use some polish. An offline mode for Siri would be appreciated, app switching could be much easier, and the home screen hasn't really seen a major update in years. Whatever whiz-bang additions Apple has up its sleeve, let's just hope that Cupertino improves the platform's existing features as well, when it comes to the release of iOS 8.