The iPhone 6 and iOS 8 are two of the most anticipated announcements from Apple in 2014. We could see a more refined software experience and an iPhone with a bigger screen. iOS 7 was about a new look and design, but with iOS 8 Apple is able to make small refinements and focus on features. These iOS 8 features could play a role in making an iPhone 6 with a larger display easy to use and about more than just more space to watch a movie or play a game.
If some of these iOS 8 features seem familiar, it’s because they come from the iPad and from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, best-selling big screen smartphone on the market.
Apple will very likely show off the iOS 8 software this summer where we will likely see the first hints of new features that will come on the iPhone 6, and some that may come to older smartphones.
Read: iOS 8 Rumor Roundup
Apple typically keeps a few of the best features exclusive to the new iPhone, and keeps them secret until the announcement. If Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a bigger display there are several features we want to see arrive with the devices.
The latest iPhone 6 rumors point to two iPhones with larger screens. An iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch screen may not be much larger than the iPhone 5s overall, but an iPhone 6 with a 5.5-inch display could come with some special features to make using it more enjoyable.
One of my favorite Galaxy Note 3 features is the ability to use multiple apps on-screen at once. I use this to talk to multiple people at the same time in Google Hangouts, to write on one side of the display and check email or a website on the other. The video below shows how this works on a Samsung device.
In iOS 8 I would love to see the ability to use apps side-by-side on the screen at once. If Apple is able to pull this off we would probably see some limitations about which apps would work, but even the option to use a few apps on-screen at the same time would be amazing. Apple doesn’t offer this feature on the iPad, so odds are iPhone 6 buyers will be left wishing.
Smart One Hand Mode & Gestures
A 4.7-inch iPhone 6 should be easy enough to use with one hand, like the HTC One, but a screen that is 5.5 to 5.7-inches in size may need a few tweaks to make using it with one hand easier.
If we see an iPhone 6 with a 5.5-inch display, I would really like to see Apple offer a preference that developers can use to position buttons in different locations based on which hand I am holding the device with. If I have a large smartphone in my left hand hitting the upper right corner can be a stretch, but if I can tell Apple to prefer buttons on the left a dynamic design could help. This of course may be more trouble than it is worth for developers to implement and a usability problem if not executed perfectly, so I may need to make do.
I would like to see Apple bring the gestures from the iPad to a larger screen iPhone. On the iPhone we already have one gesture in place that makes using a bigger screen easier, a swipe to go back. What Apple could add on a big screen iPhone 6 are the following gestures. The iPad lets users swipe with four fingers and pinch with multiple fingers to go home, access multitasking and switch apps. With more screen space it would be nice to see a two or three finger swipe to switch apps or to access multitasking.
The iPhone keyboard remains fixed in place and pretty similar in functionality to previous versions of iOS, except an annoying change to the shift button. With iOS 8 Apple doesn’t need to allow third-party keyboards to make a bigger screen more useful, but it would be nice to see an option to detach the keyboard like on the iPad.
Apple already allows iPad users to detach and split the keyboard, and on an iPhone 6 with a bigger display this option could allow users to move a keyboard and or split it while using it in landscape mode for an easier typing experience that lets more of the screen stay in view.
More Reliable Siri
Siri is better than when Apple launched the service in 2012, but still remains unreliable for many simple tasks. If I am going to carry a larger iPhone 6 I will want to use voice control more to handle routine tasks, especially if I am on the go.
If Appel can bring some of the Siri features local, perhaps with a more powerful Apple A8 processor, users might never need to hear that Siri couldn’t create an appointment, call a contact or send a text message. If Apple can’t move parts of this service to the iPhone, hopefully iOS 8 will bring a more reliable remote service to users.
Better Use of Space
One of the things many iPhone 6 concepts miss is how Apple could use the bigger display. Not only would a higher resolution be a nice touch, but so would a better use of space on the home screen and the dock. The iPhone 5s allows 5 rows of four apps and four apps in the home screen. This is a good fit for a 4-inch display.
With a bigger display it would be wonderful to add another column and another icon to the dock so users can keep six more apps on the home screen. Currently I have 24 icons on my iPhone home screen and dock, but I regularly need to go to a second page or spotlight to get to other commonly used apps. Sure it is possible to use folders right now, but that’s an extra tap and extra press of the home button that add up over time.
For the latest on the iPhone 6, check out 10 important details from iPhone 6 rumors this month, including camera information, details on a bigger screen, the size of the iPhone 6 and more.