iOS8 features I’d love to see on Windows Phone
Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 9 “Threshold” at the end of the month, and while we’ve seen a number of leaks showing off various new features, the internet has been pretty mum on what we could expect on Windows Phone 9. Meanwhile, Apple recently released iOS8 to the world which brought along with is a few new features that, while not huge, still greatly improved the overall OS experience. I’ve been playing around with iOS 8 and came across a few features that I would LOVE to see happen on Windows Phone in the near future. Microsoft, I hope you’re listening!
I’ve wanted this for a while now, and at one point it was even rumored that Microsoft would implement it in Windows Phone 8.1. The update came and went, and while the Action Center was a welcome addition, this would be the logical next step for Microsoft. On iOS, users can respond to texts, accept of decline calendar invitations, manage email and reminders, and 3rd-party apps like Twitter can use them. It certainly saves a lot of time, instead of having to open the app and then close it again to return to whatever it is you were doing. Instead, you never have to leave the app you’re currently in (unless absolutely necessary).
In my opinion, Apple just got it right. iMessage is incredibly smooth and works wonderfully. You have ability to send other iOS users messages for free, you can send messages over WiFi, and you even get little receipts that let you know when your message was delivered or even read by the recipient. And when they start replying, you’ll know that they’re typing. Those are all features that I would love to see on Windows Phone, but Apple just made their messaging app even more appealing by streamlining the media sharing experience.
By just holding the microphone icon on the right, you can start recording a voice message, and either slide your finger up to send it or to the left to delete it and try again. And in addition to clicking the camera icon on the left to access your photos, you can press and hold it to either take a photo (slide up) or record a video (slide to the right), and if you wanna start over just slide your finger back to cancel the action. It’s just that simple. On Windows Phone, it takes a few taps to get to the camera or send a voice note, and it’s not nearly as attractive as Apple’s implementation.
Also, being able to text from a PC would be a welcome feature as well, especially with the next feature.
This feature I haven’t had the opportunity to use, mainly because my MacBook Pro doesn’t have the proper hardware for it to work, but the idea is still cool. To just start writing a text or email on an iPhone and pick up right where you left off on your Mac. It even works with Safari, so if you find yourself on a website that you’d rather see on a bigger screen, you can simple hand it off to your Mac and Safari will seamlessly continue your browsing experience.
Even cooler, you can receive phone calls on your Mac. So if you find your phone buried in your backpack, as long as both your iPhone and Mac computer are on the same WiFi network, you can make/receive calls using the number stored on your iPhone. It even works with text messaging!
This was probably my most anticipated feature on iOS8, mainly because this is the first time there has been a change to the iOS keyboard, other than the visual redesign it got when iOS7 was released. Now, don’t get me wrong, Word Flow + Shape Writing on Windows Phone is probably the best typing experience I’ve had on any device, but at least Apple is finally trying to match it.
QuickType is Apple’s answer to Word Flow, providing choices of words or phrases you’d probably type next, based on your past conversations and writing style. It’s a nifty feature, and I’ve found myself using it only a few times these past couple days. The only downside is that it only gives you 3 suggestions and while you’re typing, that word takes up one of them. Windows Phone offers a myriad of suggestions on a list that sometimes seems never-ending. We also get Shape Writing, which is Microsoft’s answer to Swype, letting users simply swipe through letters to make a word, all without lifting your finger. Apple doesn’t have this natively, but that’s where 3rd-party keyboards come in.
Now, I would argue that generally, Windows Phone doesn’t really need it at this point because they keyboard is already amazing. I would often find myself swiping a mile a minute on Windows Phone, and moving to iOS7 I would feel incredibly hindered and slowed by the fact that I had to individually press each key. But now with 3rd-Party apps, I’ve been able to continue my swiping and now I feel like I can’t be stopped! I’ve been using SwiftKey as my main input method (I’m not paying $.99 for Swype), and it worked fairly well, though there’s still a few hiccups here and there, like it takes a few seconds to bring up the keyboard, and sometimes doesn’t register words I’m trying to type. Otherwise it’s great that Apple has finally opted to give us a better experience by letting developers take over.
The main reason I would like 3rd-party keyboards is due to PopKey (see above video), which is the world’s first animated GIF keyboard for iOS. It lets you choose from thousands of GIFs already included, or you can upload your own. And a double tap lets you add GIFs to your favorites, for quick and easy access. This is definitely something I would like to see on Windows Phone, either via a 3rd-party keyboard or natively if Microsoft can figure that out. But really, with 3rd-party support I feel like the possibilities are endless, and Apple apparently saw this too (Android has been able to do it for a while).
So there you have it, just a few things from iOS8 that I would love to see in Microsoft’s next major Windows Phone update (WP9?). We’re bound to see many welcome improvements when Microsoft announces it, so hopefully some of these make the list.
For those of you who have tried iOS8, are there any new features that you would like to see on Windows Phone? Sound off below.