WWDC 2023 was one of the busiest Apple announcements in recent memory, not only unveiling the upcoming iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, tvOS 17 and macOS Sonoma updates but a slew of Mac hardware including the MacBook Air 15 and the long-awaited Apple Vision Pro AR/VR headset.

iOS 17 looks to be a particularly exciting update with a swathe of new features coming to iPhones later this year including Live Voicemail, Check In, Standby Mode and a new Journal app, but there are a few crucial features that would vastly improve the iOS experience that Apple didn’t announce on stage at WWDC 2023.

With that in mind, here are four big features I wish Apple added in iOS 17. Hey, maybe I’ll have better luck with iOS 18 next year…

New ring and notification sounds

This one might not be on many people’s wishlists, but it’s certainly on mine. The iPhone has a decent, if not slightly bland, selection of ringtones and text tones that users can choose from, but that selection hasn’t changed at all since the introduction of iOS 7 way back in 2013 (with the one exception being a new ringtone for iPhone X users in 2017). 

We’ve all been in the scenario where we’ve heard an iOS text tone and reached for our phones, only to find it’s someone nearby, right? That wouldn’t happen as often with a larger library of tones to choose from.

Apple’s decision to not introduce new tones over the years could be a tactic to force users to head to the iTunes Store and pay for other ringtones and text tones – the problem is that it’s full of those horrendous early 00s ‘comedy’ tones and alerts that are anything but funny in 2023. What about more nuanced, pleasing text tones and ringtones? It’s an understated addition that can really refresh the iPhone experience.

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RCS support in Messages

iMessage is undoubtedly one of the highlights of iOS, and the debate of blue vs green bubbles (when texting an Android smartphone) has been raging for years. Apple is adamant that iMessage won’t be available for Android anytime soon, so what’s the alternative? According to Google, that’d be RCS support.

broken iPhone android messaging

In its simplest form, RCS offers all the kinds of features you’d expect from iMessage, including sending high-res images and videos without MMS fees, the ability to text without a live cellular connection, end-to-end encryption and much more. It even includes small things, like the ability to leave an iMessage group chat – something not currently possible for Android users, resulting in a slew of (sometimes unwanted) messages they can’t do anything about.

If Apple were to integrate RCS in place of the standard SMS system, it’d make talking and sharing content with Android users much easier and more secure. C’mon Apple, be brave.

ChatGPT integration

Siri has a bit of a reputation for not being quite as clever or helpful as competing virtual assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, often serving up web results for fairly simple queries that the competition have no issue answering. Apple has worked on Siri’s capabilities over the years, but even in 2023, it’s still not the go-to personal assistant.

ChatGPT, or some proprietary version of the natural language chatbot, could vastly improve just how helpful Siri could be on a daily basis. Not only could it converse more naturally with you, but it could provide more detailed responses without the need to display web pages. 

It’s something we’re already seeing in text form from Google Bard and Bing’s ChatGPT-inspired assistant with fairly impressive results much of the time, and it’d be great to get this moved onto voice-to-voice chats. If anyone could do it in a privacy-focused way, it’s Apple.   

ChatGPT

Third-party app stores

Alternatives to Apple’s App Store on iPhone may sound confusing and a bit pointless, especially given that the App Store has over 1.6 million iPhone and iPad apps available to download at the tap of a button, but the idea does have some appeal. Some have argued that Apple are essentially the gatekeepers of iOS and the App Store and, as such, anything that goes against their stringent rules isn’t allowed on the platform. That’s great for security, but not great for competition.

Third-party app stores could help get around this issue, allowing companies like Epic Games (who famously had a falling out with Apple resulting in Fortnite being removed from the App Store) to get their popular titles back onto iPhone. 

In fact, the EU has outlined such rules for smartphone markets ahead of legislation going into effect in 2024, so I’m surprised that it wasn’t announced as part of iOS 17 at WWDC 2023 – though Mark Gurman believes that, initially at least, it’ll be limited to users in Europe with the US and the rest of the world still locked to Apple’s official App Store. 

If that is the case, it might be a quiet addition to the software during the beta process. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled!

What would you have liked to see introduced in iOS 17? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter





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