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My Wishlist for Santa Steve

March 17th, 2009 . by Andy (TANcast's #1 Ear-Rapist)

To Santa Steve,

I know you’re supposed to be announcing the iPhone/iTouchMyselfPod OS 3.0 later today, but I’ve been putting together a list of things I’d like to see fixed, added, improved, and/or changed at some point in the near future, and I wanted to post them before you One More Thing-ed us.

For all I know, half these things are already going to be in OS 3.0 and the rest will be rendered moot by the shining awesomeness that you will boom unto us. Hell, for all I know some of these are already in the product or possible for 3rd-party developers to do now. Still, here they are in no particular order and grouped poorly by general topic. I’ll try to bold all the ones I want most, but I make no promises.

3rd-Party Apps & App Store

  • Allow 3rd-party apps to use headphones control clicker and to keep the iPod app from opening automatically when the headphones are inserted
  • Allow running 3rd-party apps to place user controls on the locked screen, like the iPod app can
  • Add better App Store filtering (e.g. by “Star Rating”) and sorting (by score, by downloads)
  • Change App Store (and iTunes) “Star Rating” calculations to better account for ballot-stuffing by users who give every app/song/podcast/video/whatever the same score or only use 5-Star and 1-Star scores (see IMDB’s use of Bayesian scoring and per-user normalization)
  • Improve management of app listings in the Home Screens (auto-sort by category, sort in iTunes, etc.)


  • Add voice dialing
  • Allow deleting a single item from the Recent Call list without clearing the entire list
  • If any app is playing music, perform a quick (<1 second?) cross-fade from whatever is playing to the ringtone when a call comes in

Hardware & Communication

  • Enable the Bluetooth stereo profile (A2DP)
  • Have the phone’s earpiece speaker play audio like the speakerphone speaker does, allowing stereo audio without headphones (assuming it is possible to match audio levels)
  • Enable Bluetooth data transfer profile (OPP)
  • Allow iPhone to iTunes wireless sync, using Bluetooth and/or WiFi
  • Enable internet (2.5G/3G, heck, maybe even WiFi) connection sharing with any computer via USB/Dock
  • Enable simple Bluetooth printing profile (BPP) for things like notes, email, contact info, etc.


  • Display the number of characters used/remaining when sending an SMS text
  • Add a “landscape” view to the Text app, allowing use of the large keyboard
  • Place any text message sent to multiple recipients in each users’ “conversation”
  • Allow deleting individual texts from the messaging history without clearing the entire “conversation”
  • Add support for MMS (and integrate into the existing Text app)
  • Allow SMS messages to be forwarded to other recipients
  • Allow custom, per-contact (or group) incoming SMS/MMS message alert sounds
  • Display exact timestamps that text messages arrive (perhaps when user clicks and holds on the message)
  • Automatically dismiss the keyboard after a text is sent if the user does not start typing again or receive a new message within a short time (~5 seconds)


  • Add Adobe Flash (or at least FlashLite) support to Safari
  • Allow users to open links in new pages/tabs (perhaps display a menu when a link is clicked and held)
  • Integrate a Safari “keyring” with the master lock PIN so the browser can safely store site logins (like desktop browsers can) without having to remember/type them every time
  • Allow Safari to “evict” other built-in apps from memory if more RAM is needed for larger pages or for more concurrently open pages
  • Pull in Webkit and JavaScript improvements made for Safari 4 on the desktop


  • Add a “landscape” view to the Mail app, allowing use of the large keyboard
  • Highlight which mail accounts have just received new messages (e.g. change color) in the Mail app
  • Allow default email signatures to be set (or turned off) on a per-account basis

Calendar & Tasks

  • Create a real “Tasks/To-Do” list and integrate with the Calendar app and the Lock screen (see below)
  • Allow attaching Contacts to Calendar events and Tasks to enable quick access to call/text/email them
  • Link Calendar events and Tasks to Map locations, allowing quick access to driving instructions
  • Look for phone numbers and email addresses in the text and subjects of Calendar events and Tasks (and perhaps emails) and auto-link them, as Safari does on web sites, to enable one-click calling (optionally try to match to Contacts and show contact info on hold-click)

Lock/Home Screen

  • Add “unlock and launch” gestures, like Windows Mobile 7 will introduce (i.e. direct access from locked phone to apps, like Mail, Text, etc.)
  • If there are no new messages (text, email, or voicemail) and no controls for a running app to display, then show the next few Calendar items for today on the lock screen


  • Improve camera clarity (e.g. license ClearCam)
  • Make the majority of the touchscreen act as the camera shutter button
  • Allow video recording

Misc. Cleanup

  • Release the “Push Notification” ability promised last year so developers can approximate background tasks, or allow GUI-less background tasks like Palm OS 6/Palm Cobalt was supposed to include
  • Extend the predictive text auto-replacement to provide real spell-checking instead of just typo-checking
  • Allow user management of the words added to the typo/spell-check dictionary (at least in iTunes, if not in the iPhone itself)
  • Allow the Alarm feature in the Clock app to start a playlist in the iPod app
  • Add turn-by-turn driving directions (with audio prompts) to the Map app, at least for true GPS devices
  • Dump the YouTube app (it has outlived its usefulness) and allow users to migrate its bookmarks to their actual YouTube accounts
  • Update all apps that support keyboard use in both portrait and landscape mode so they dynamically switch modes when rotated eve if the keyboard is already open
  • Add multi-service (Yahoo!, AIM, MSN, etc.) Instant Messaging app (like Addium/Pidgin), styled like the Text app and iChat, allowing persistent access to the services with Push Notifications, and integrating IM screen names with the phonebook Contacts
  • Allow syncing phone Notes to Outlook/Mail.app/whatever
  • Allow Notes to be emailed or sent via Bluetooth (like vCards) to other iPhones
  • Stop resetting iTunes account information whenever the OS is upgraded, as this causes all downloaded apps to silently fail until another app is downloaded and the account authenticated again
  • Have the Weather app change its icon based on “Today’s” weather and the last current temperature for some location (user-set “Home”, pull from GPS, etc.), and auto-update this about every hour using Push Notifications

I’m sure I forgot things that I’ll later decide I can’t live without, or I included things that will make me look like a clueless asshole.  I don’t care.

I do love the phone, Santa Steve, and I hope OS 3.0 is going to make it even more awesome. Take everything above, therefore, with a large grain of salt.

You do know what is best for me, after all…

Loves and Kisses,

Mysterious Andy

PS: Also, I’d like a red Radio Flyer wagon.

4 Responses to “My Wishlist for Santa Steve”

  1. Princess Edamame - #12 Says:

    Holy shit, Myserious Andy – been thinking about this a while?

  2. Andy Says:

    I’ve got this thing about good interfaces, consistency, polish, and data reuse and extensability. Don’t ask.

    Short version is this: I have a knack for looking at a gadget or piece of software and seeing places it could/should be better.

    But nobody listens to me. Even though I’m always right… 😉

  3. Bryce (Tancasts #3 Fan) Says:

    You’ll shoot your eye out with that wagon!

  4. Princess Edamame - #12 Says:

    um, that’s always FUCKING right.

    And you probably are. 🙂

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