Feature Request May 11

AAPL: 92.51

-0.91
Stock Chart

I once teased an American friend about the fact that only 36% of Americans hold a passport, compared to 83% of Brits. He quite rightly pointed out that in America you can fly for six hours and still be in the same country – Seattle to Miami, for example – while Brits can fly for an hour or so and be in any one of a dozen different countries. (I later did a bit of Googling and found he could even have said 11 hours: New York to Honolulu.)

For that reason, this feature request may be most relevant to Europeans and frequent business travellers, but I think it’s one that would at least fall into the nice-to-have category for anyone who travels.

The issue is mobile roaming charges. Use your iPhone in your own country and all-you-can-eat calls and texts are typically pretty affordable, with data being the main thing that determines how much you pay for your plan. But however much you pay for data at home, that’s nothing compared to roaming charges overseas …

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Feature Request May 9

AAPL: 92.79

0.07
Stock Chart

I addressed one big issue with Apple Music last week – and was very surprised to see from the poll results just how widespread the issue was. But while discussing that issue, we happened across a Reddit thread that I thought contained a really great idea: give the iOS app Smart Playlist functionality via Siri.

I may complain a lot about the bloated nature of iTunes, a single app that tries to do way too many different things, but I do really like it as a pure music player. One of the features I love is Smart Playlists, which you can use to do all kinds of funky things.

For example, maybe you have some music you really love but haven’t listened to for a while? Create a Smart Playlist where Rating is 5 and Last Played is not in the last year. Been listening to the same stuff too much lately? Create a playlist where Last Played is not in the past month. Feeling nostalgic? A playlist where Year is a particular year …

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Feature Request April 28

AAPL: 94.83

-2.99
Stock Chart

Like a lot of new technologies from Apple these days, HomeKit isn’t perfect but the parts that work well are really useful. Apple’s home automation framework connects smart accessories from various companies all under the control of Siri and HomeKit apps like Home or Hesperus. But HomeKit is relatively young still and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit in terms of ways the framework could improve with iOS 10 and beyond. Here are a few ideas I hope we see with HomeKit this year:

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9to5toys 

Feature Request April 13

AAPL: 112.04

1.60
Stock Chart

I don’t classify myself as an Apple fanboy. I mostly prefer Apple products over competing ones, and I do find life is easier if I allow myself to be assimilated by a single ecosystem, but my opinion pieces are variously critical and supportive of Apple – and I’m certainly not blind to cool tech offered by Apple competitors.

I was particularly impressed by a feature Google released this morning: automatically and intelligently finding time in your calendar to work on your personal goals.

Most of us these days lead busy lives with packed schedules, and sometimes it can feel hard enough just keeping up with the essentials of work, family and those boring but essential chores – from clearing out the gutters to filing tax returns. When we do get some downtime, it’s all too easy to fill it with Facebook, Netflix and other time-snaffling activities.

This means those personal goals we optimistically come up with in the first enthusiastic days of welcoming in the new year – like writing a novel (gratuitous plug), learning a new language, running a marathon, or practicing a musical instrument – all too often get neglected …

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Feature Request March 20

AAPL: 105.92

0.12
Stock Chart

All the excitement for this week’s Apple announcement for the new iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and refreshed Apple Watch models has got me on the edge of my seat. Not just for the hardware, but also for the potential iTunes software changes that might be coming. Eddy Cue dropped the hint during an interview last month, saying that iTunes would be receiving a refresh this month focusing on music with the new version of Mac OS X. That’s great news, because a refresh is undeniably what iTunes needs right now. expand full story

Feature Request March 15

AAPL: 104.58

2.06
Stock Chart

There’s a new display and brightness feature in iOS 9.3 called Night Shift which “automatically shifts the colors of your display to the warm end of the color spectrum after dark.” Apple even says that Night Shift “may help you get a better night’s sleep” which is mainly why I’ve been using (and enjoying) the feature during the iOS 9.3 betas. Who doesn’t want a better night’s sleep, right?

But Night Shift has me thinking about other ways iOS could be optimized to make our iPhones and iPads less distracting at night. The foundation for what I have in mind is already there: Do Not Disturb and VIP. But both of these features are currently short of where I’d like them to be to work best for me. Here’s what I’d love to see DND and VIP offer:

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9to5google 

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