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5 Features iOS 5 Needs to Make Me Switch from Android [WWDC]



WWDC 2011 iOS 5 FeaturesSteve Jobs will take the stage at WWDC 2011 on Monday to announce a collection of new software updates and features. While OS X Lion is expected to be a big part of this announcement, we also expect Jobs to talk about the future of the software that powers the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — iOS 5.

5 Features iOS Needs To Compete With Android

There has been much speculation about what changes we will see on Monday, including a few of the features mentioned below. These features are iOS 5 additions that I want to see before I can jump from Android to an iPhone. Having used an iPad since shortly after it launched I have been a firm believer that Android is for my phone and iOS is for my Tablet, but if Apple can address these issues with iOS 5 I might be able to make the switch.


Notifications in iOS are downright awful compared to Android and one fo the biggest reasons I can’t make the jump to iPhone. Whenever I use my iPad I feel disconnected from email and communication tools because I have turned off all the notifications I could. I would rather miss out on a notification than get a popup while I am working, reading or playing. This works fine on the iPad, but on an iPhone this solution to horrible notifications won’t work.

better iOS notifications

There have been numerous examples of how Apple can do iOS notifications better, but really, at this point, anything would be an improvement.


If you haven’t been able to use widgets on your smartphone you don’t know what you are missing. It’s downright absurd that Apple hasn’t given users the ability to see their weather, inboxes, appointments and a thousand other things on the home screen. If you look at my Top 50 Android Apps, Widgets and Shortcuts, you’ll see that there are an amazing number of widgets to customize and extend the user experience.

android widgets

Apple may be concerned about the impact of battery life of constantly updating widgets, but with numerous Android devices using widgets and lasting all day we expect Apple to come up with a solution.

Non App Store Installation

I don’t expect apple to deliver this feature in iOS 5, or ever, but in order to switch to the iPhone I would need the ability to install off market apps without jailbreaking the iPhone. Apple’s past stance doesn’t give me any hope that they will deliver on this, but I can always hold out the hope.

alternate app stores

Why is this so important? Three reasons. Selection, Deals and Access to beta and community apps. Currently iTunes is the only show in town for apps without jailbreaking which limits selection, deals and early access to community apps that will eventually make it into the app store.

Turn by Turn Directions Baked In

Right now if you have an iPhone and want turn by turn directions, you need to shell out for an app that could cost $30 to $50. On Android, Google Maps has built in turn by turn directions that are downright amazing. Even jumping to an old $49 iPhone 3GS is expensive if you want any type of turn by turn navigation.

Of all the features we want to see, a better navigation and maps app on the iPhone and iOS 5 is one of the most likely announcements to come at WWDC.

The Ability to Install Alternate Keyboards

How would you feel if your new computer came with the same keyboard as every other computer and you couldn’t change it to fit your typing style or needs? You wouldn’t hesitate to look at a more open manufacturer. When the iPhone arrived the keyboard was adequate, but being able to switch between numerous keyboards on Android has shown the huge benefit to installing new keyboards.

Personally I prefer the SwiftKey keyboard because it can learn from my Gmail account, Facebook and Twitter messages, but other users like the Swype keyboard that lets you glide across the screen to type. Others may like the Nuance FlexT9 keyboard. The point is, we all type differently, so why not allow us to “think different” when it comes to keyboards.

How Likely Are These Changes in iOS 5?

Apple isn’t likely to make me feel like Christmas and deliver all of these features in iOS 5, so I’ve weighted the likelihood based on my opinion and news chatter regarding the features.

  • Better Notifications – 90%
  • Widgets – 60%
  • Non App Store Installation – 0% (but I can wish)
  • Turn by Turn Directions – 99%
  • Alternate Keyboards – 30%

What features must you have to switch from Android to iPhone?



  1. Alex Dugger

    06/01/2011 at 7:10 pm

    Great list.  I totally agree.  Turn by turn directions is a killer feature for my Droid, and a must have in any phone I buy now.  The keyboard isn’t a huge deal to me, and side loading apps is a dream that will never happen on an unrooted iPhone.  

  2. Michael Anderson

    06/01/2011 at 7:58 pm

    In general I agree (though I am not switching away from Android *regardless*) … but you could replace #3 with ‘better opportunities for malware’!  iOS vs. Android seems to be going towards Mac vs. PC in terms of ways hackers look to trash users with their malware garbage …

    • ted keefe

      06/01/2011 at 8:23 pm

      He who holds the market share gets the virus’s 

      • Michael Anderson

        06/01/2011 at 8:43 pm

        That explains why BlackBerry / Nokia / iPhone got all of those viruses … oh, except they didn’t.  It is a security thing.  Just like the dreadfully insecure WIndows, Android has so many holes to please so many different carriers / handset makers that it is a hackers delight …

  3. Shaun

    06/01/2011 at 8:10 pm

    There are plenty of turn by turn direction programs on the iPhone that you can get for free. Mapquest is a good example of a free turn by turn direction app that works just fine

    • todd

      06/01/2011 at 8:36 pm

      I have used mapquest on iphone many times, not as good as google map navigation but certainly useable and gets the job done.

    • Michael Anderson

      06/01/2011 at 8:41 pm

      I agree with Todd – I’ve tried others, but nothing I’ve used on any other smartphone (Palm/WebOS, iOS, WiMo) compares with what is built in on Android.

  4. Hyung Lee

    06/01/2011 at 11:56 pm

    Coming from a BB, there are a few simple features that I think Are essential to make this more business friendly.

    1). Unique signatures for each email account with the ability to imbed graphics or rich text. so far there is only 1 highly rated app for that, and it’s limited and it sucks.

    2). Flash support. If you can wish for your #3, i can wish for Flash.

    3). Allow to use my iPad’s Video Out dongle for HDMI mirroring.

    2). Ability to attach

    • Hyung Lee

      06/01/2011 at 11:59 pm

      Disregard the second #2 appendage. I couldn’t scroll within the text box on my iPhone.

      • jhaagmans

        05/23/2013 at 2:30 am

        Safe to say #4 is the ability to scroll within text boxes?

  5. Ed Canloe

    06/02/2011 at 12:15 am

    I really don’t think widgets will happen, it would change the whole look of the ios into that of any other ‘common’ device.

  6. Video Messaging Service

    06/02/2011 at 9:04 am

    Gud job done……..
    thanks for sharing..:)

  7. Len

    06/06/2011 at 2:10 am

    This has got to be one of thee stupidest lists I’ve ever seen…first off, iPhone’s have widgets already…they’re called APPS, duh!  I have three weather apps on my ipod touch, and they all work flawlessly.  When I touch one, it opens, and I get the weather in my area…what could be faster or more convenient than that?  Keyboards…wait…you are comparing an actual physical keyboard to a ‘virtual’ keyboard?  Please, give me a break.  There are plenty of options for keyboards on the iphone and ipod touch, but who cares…are you writing a dissertation on your iphone?  Google Maps comes built in with iphones and has since the first one…not sure what you mean by ‘turn by turn’ directions…and finally, non-app store installation is just silly.  First off, you think it’s an accident that so many droids have bricked because of a*holes out there trying to be cute and funny?  Guess how many un-jailbroken iphones?  I’m guessing zero.  I’d rather have a secure device that isn’t prone to crappy, faulty or otherwise malicious programming thank you very much.  You can keep your ‘open’ system.  The only thing on your list in the least bit valid is the notification topic, which definitely should and will be addressed.  I’m guessing when it is, like other things Apple does, it will be right and reliable…unlike its competitors…

    • J_matherly

      06/06/2011 at 2:30 am

      Apps are not widgets, your android won’t get bricked if you treat it right, I prefer swype to the default keyboard on android because it is faster. I wish I had it on this thing. Open systems are great unless you’re the mainstream, technologically uneducated moron. Apple does very little, if anything, right,

    • J_matherly

      06/06/2011 at 2:30 am

      Apps are not widgets, your android won’t get bricked if you treat it right, I prefer swype to the default keyboard on android because it is faster. I wish I had it on this thing. Open systems are great unless you’re the mainstream, technologically uneducated moron. Apple does very little, if anything, right,

      • J_matherly

        06/06/2011 at 2:33 am

        Sorry for the double post but turn by turn directions are pretty self explanatory, this plus your inability to discern a widget from an app means you are a moron and your opinions and arguments are invalid.

      • J_matherly

        06/06/2011 at 2:33 am

        Sorry for the double post but turn by turn directions are pretty self explanatory, this plus your inability to discern a widget from an app means you are a moron and your opinions and arguments are invalid.

    • Kaseykhunt

      06/06/2011 at 3:48 am

      Dude you are retarded. Their is a huge difference between widgets and apps. I sort of agree with you about they keyboard but I think he meant making them look different. He was completely valid asking for new features. You are just such an apple fanboy thinking they can do no wrong. Please educate yourself before you yell at other people.
      Ps it’s a god damn phone Chill out.

  8. Ena300

    06/06/2011 at 2:51 am

    Bluetooth file transfer, sms delivery report, swype and mp3 ringtones would be nice to see on my iPhone 4

    • Mohamedsaber2004

      06/10/2011 at 7:07 pm

      same here. this is what i’m really missing with Iphone.  

  9. Element

    06/06/2011 at 8:35 pm

    I type faster on the stock apple keyboard than with Swype. Also, why does it matter if you have to jailbreak to install non-Apple apps? Jailbreaking/Un-jailbreaking both take 5 minutes… Jailbroken iPhone kicks Android’s ass anyday.

    • J_matherly

      06/07/2011 at 2:03 am

      How? A rooted android can do everything a jailbroken iPhone can do an then some, albeit it is a bit tedious. You do not however need to root the android in order to get apps outside of the marketplace and believe me, once you get used to swype, you can type waaaaay faster. Also, I completely agree with Ena, those features plus widgets and notification upgrade would almost convince me to switch, almost.

  10. chetan82

    06/07/2011 at 2:42 am

    well ios 5 as it has been announced it has most of those features that you want plus a hundred more now don’t get me wrong here i love apple and have macbook pro and iphone 3gs and ipad 2 but android is more open source but now ipad has tabbed browsing u do not need a computer to activate your i device  u have wifi sync tabbed browsing OMG the new notifications is mind-blowing same as android lock screen is now more engaging and news stand for news subscriptions i think this new ios that is going to be released is a bitbetter than android btw this is unjailbroken iphone


    06/07/2011 at 9:33 am

    just installed ios 5, fantastic!!! – for udid registration

  12. Sam

    06/08/2011 at 2:37 pm

    It is amazing how threatened the Andriod zealots feel when Apple comes up with a new product.

    Andriods fans are like religious zealots who resort to logical fallacies to prove their religion is better than other guys.
    IOS is a much more mature and stable platform than Andriod and therefore does everything better than any andriod phone. Nobody cares about the number of handset models are available for the platform. That is not a choice people care about because ultimately they just buy one phone and want to have a choice in the applications and that is exactly where IOS provides a better choice. And most people buy an Andriod just because it is cheaper and no other reason.

    Besides isn’t Andriod just an illegal piracy of Linux and Java? People who really care about opensource should hate Andriod just for the reason that it steals credit from Linux and Java communities.

    Google fans makes no mention of the fact that it remotely reads users mail and serves up ads that are correlated to the content. Like that? I don’t.

    But then as Google’s Eric Schmidt put it, if you have nothing to hide, why are you averse to having your personal files read by all and sundry? Had someone asked Schmidt if he was willing to sleep with his partner in public, he probably would have backed down – but then the Google faithful only stand in awe when such pronouncements are made. For them, Google can do no wrong. Even if it sends Google Street cars to steal data from unsuspecting wifi users. Actually the only people who love Andriod are those who love to steal music and applications and find it difficult to do that on IOS and therefore complain that it is a closed platform. Apple developers have made billions while Andriod developers make next to nothing.

    Andriod is an platform by the thieves, of the thieves and for the thieves.

  13. Ray Jacobsen

    06/14/2011 at 4:24 am

    It depends on the user, do you want “it just works” or “I like to customize my smartphone my way”
    For me I like “it just works”, yes I rely on Apple and it’s app developers to come up with ways use my phone and it’s kinda surreal that the simple ability to use the volume up button to take a picture gets a rousing round of applause when introduced (see the IOS 5 keynote presentation).
    The Android will clearly have more flexibility I think it’s great they will come up with stuff iPhone can’t or won’t do. As an iPhone user I cheer for Android innovation, I just don’t have the interest in diving into smartphone details anymore, I’m sticking with iPhone bliss.
    (Yes you Android fan boys, let just post this now l’m fully aware “ignorance is bliss”)

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