iOS 10 Wishlist: More Keyboard Shortcuts and Improved Photos Support

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  ‘Tis the season: it’s getting closer and closer to June so people are unwrapping their biggest wishlist items. The funny thing is that we’re really close enough to the beta of iOS 10 (usually released just after WWDC in June) that our wishlist items couldn’t actually have any effect on development at this point. They’re either in development now, or they won’t be in iOS 10. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to write up a wishlist anyway.

Better Photos Support

I’ve already talked about the lack of decent RAW support, so I won’t re-hash that. However, as I test Lightroom 2.2 on my iPad, I arm starting to realize what else is missing from the Photos app.

For one thing: the thumbnails are still quite small on a 13–inch screen. Photos on OS X has the option of resizing the thumbnails so that you can have a better idea of whether a photo is sharp before you even load it up. The iPad, especially the iPad Pro, needs this sort of functionality because there are really only two sizes for photos right now: full screen and tiny thumbnail. Having a few extra sized in between there would really help, and we’ve already got the pinch-to-zoom gesture that would be perfect for resizing the thumbnails.

One other thing that’s slower on the iPad is editing photos in batches. I’d like to be able to tap the Edit button, make edits to a single photo, and then just swipe to the next one. iOS 9 (and every version before it) require you to tap on the Done button, swipe to the next photo, and then tap Edit again. Repeating that for every single photo in a series is just unnecessary extra work for the user. There really should be a way to move from one photo to the next while editing.

Another great way to facilitate moving between photos would be more keyboard shortcuts. Photos is still one of the curious first-party iPad apps that has no keyboard shortcuts whatsoever. You can’t move between photos with arrows, press enter to edit, or backspace to delete a photo. It’s all on-screen controls or nothing.

Even More Hardware Keyboard Shortcuts

Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, there are a number of other use cases that have felt like low-hanging fruit for smaller patches (like iOS 9.3). I made the choice to buy Apple’s Smart Keyboard over Logitech’s Create Keyboard, and I still miss the dedicated brightness and volume keys that the latter provides. These could easily be brought to iOS via a few extra keyboard shortcuts. Cmd + Opt 1 and Cmd + Opt 2 could alter brightness, and Cmd + Opt – or Cmd + Opt + (that’s the + key) could alter volume to mimic the placement on standard Mac keyboards.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve also been thinking about a few other iOS features that would be great to summon via quick shortcuts.

Control Center would be nice, but I can see how it wouldn’t really be necessary. After all, it’s close enough to my hands that it may as well be on the keyboard. However, I think there could be a case made for calling Notification Center down with a shortcut. Cmd + Opt + Space could do the trick since it’s an easy shortcut, and could save reaching all the way to the top of the screen just to check on widgets or recent notifications.

The final thing I’d like to be able to do is bring up the SlideOver or even SplitView app via keyboard shortcut. I work most of the time in full screen mode nowadays, but I would use SlideOver apps a lot more if I could just bring them in quickly to type out a message, and then dismiss them to get back to work. This is a new kind of functionality that actually pre-dated the equivalent Mac feature, so I don’t have a good keyboard shortcut in mind for it yet, but that really would be the easiest part of integrating it.


One of the things that keeps me on the iPad is the joy of feeling physically close to the software. Because you’re tapping things on a screen instead of tapping on a trackpad or moving a mouse, the software can feel a little more personal. That element will always be one of the most integral and enjoyable parts of the iPad experience, but I think the iPad is on a pretty good trajectory right now.

I like that Apple is concentrating on adding more power features and more powerful workflows. I may get caught up on the limitations of photo and video while working on this giant tablet, but for things like emailing, writing, watching, and surfing: it’s still really fantastic. I’ve gotten to the point where I can finally do enough on my iPad to work, but there’s still a big enough gap between the power of the hardware and the limitations of the software that I can’t help but want it to do more. Here’s to iOS 10.


Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

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2 thoughts on “iOS 10 Wishlist: More Keyboard Shortcuts and Improved Photos Support”

  1. It’s lame, but I’d like Siri to be able to turn the flashlight on.

    Can do that with WiFi, Bluetooth, and several other things. But not the bloody flashlight. :)

    1. Nope, that’s not lame. Makes sense to me! Except it would only work on iPhones, as no iPad has the same flashlight capability.

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