5 features iOS needs, in order to sway me from Android

Here are 5 iOS features Apple should implement, or I'll be severely tempted by Android.

With Apple preparing to talk about the future of iOS at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and the rumor mill churning, it's time for an old tradition: the iPhone feature wish list.

But this time, it's personal. Nearly two years ago, I bought an iPhone 3GS, back when Android was an insignificant speck on the mobile scene. A lot's changed since then, and the iPhone's missing features have left me with a case of Android envy.

I understand that Android has some features that the iPhone probably never will, such as Adobe Flash support, apps from outside the native store, and the ability to set third-party Web browsers as the default. So let's focus on the realistic things. Here are five features that could make or break my decision to stick with the iPhone:

More Voice Commands

Lately, I've been using Internet radio services such as Pandora and MOG for music, but the iPhone's voice commands can only access my crusty old local music library. Android's voice commands can access third-party music services. They can also dictate e-mails and text messages, and while the iPhone has an app for that, I'd rather have a full range of voice commands built into the OS.

Built-In, Voice-Guided GPS

Even though I've downloaded Mapquest's iPhone app, which includes turn-by-turn voice navigation, I inevitably fall back to the iPhone's Maps app. It's hard to avoid when tapping an address in the Web browser or another app, because there's no way for them to send you directly to Mapquest. The iPhone's been without voice-guided GPS for too long.

Wireless iTunes Sync

In a perfect world, iPhone users wouldn't have to rely on iTunes to update their software and sync their media, but I'd settle for OS updates and multimedia sync over a local wireless network. This is technically possible -- Apple has rejected an app that does it -- we just need an official solution.

Better Notifications

iOS's big blue box for text messages and other notifications has got to go. It's intrusive, and offers no way for users to view notifications in the order of their choosing. Android's pull-down notification bar is better, but iOS could use something a little more noticeable without being impossible to ignore.

Better Multitasking

I thought about putting home screen widgets on this list, but I doubt that Apple would mar its home screen with that kind of clutter. Instead, how about multitasking that's more fluid than the current method of double-tapping the home button, selecting an app, then double-tapping again? Android smartphones could use a better system as well, but with Android 3.0 tablets using a software-based menu and snapshots to show open apps, I think Google is moving in the right direction. I hope Apple does the same.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

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Tags mobileGoogleAppleAndroidiossoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsapple iphoneMobile operating systems

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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