Can iOS 12 keep me on iPhone?

As an iPhone user, there are a lot of gripes that I have with the iOS ecosystem. I’m gonna be honest: The iPhone is not bad. It’s a very decent and very capable device. However, there are quite a few things that I wish they did differently, and a lot of this stems from Android.

And with iOS 12, some of those things may get fixed. Notifications have been a very huge reason for me to make this switch, and the same is true with Siri, the Home Screen, and the Default Browser. Now, out of those four, the home screen and default browser are being left out, however, they are improving Notifications and Siri.

With the Notifications, the complaint is very simple: Why is it that when I’m in, say, a group chat with about 20 people, each and every single individual message gets its own notification? Those notifications drown out literally every other one, leaving to miss Twitter notifications, Emails, individual messages, SMS, etc.

Now, iOS 12 is adding grouped notifications, and all I’ve got to say about that is THANK YOU!!! I’ve disabled notifications for each of the group chats I’m involved in simply because I can’t handle all those notifications, but after this update, I can finally leave them on and get involved with groups once again.

Now, with Siri, the complaint is simple: She’s adequate. She’s functional. And that’s it. She’s not good. She’s not great.

It all stems from the fact that when I ask a question, and Siri doesn’t already know the answer, I only get search results. That’s it. Contrast that with Google Assistant, who does a Google Search and reads off the result.

In this case, the system could be much better. For example, I just asked, “When did the Nexus Three come out?” I got a bunch of search results from that. However, imagine if Siri did a Wikipedia search of Nexus Three, being redirected to the Galaxy Nexus, searching for that area in the sidebar where it says “First Release”, and parsed where it says “17 November 2011” and responded “According to Wikipedia, the Galaxy Nexus was released November 17, 2011”.

How about prices? I asked Siri “How much does the Pixelbook Cost”? Instead of doing a Bing Search, why not search “Pixelbook” on Amazon, take the first result, which shows the current cost of a Pixelbook being $749 with the original price being $999, and then responded, “The Pixelbook is on sale on Amazon for $749 right now”. Maybe even report that it’s supported on Prime Shipping. “The Pixelbook is on sale on Amazon for $749 with Prime Shipping right now”.

For crying out loud, when I search how much the MacBook Pro costs, Siri doesn’t even tell me out loud: She says Apple.com can tell me the price and pulls up a button to go to the website. If I wanted to do that, I already would have!

Notice just how much better that alone would make Siri? Take questions, do a search on a relevant website, and parse the data to find what information could be helpful. If unsure, ask the user if the information was helpful. There’s no shame in collecting feedback in order to make Siri better!

That being said, however, Siri is finally being opened up in that app developers may now integrate features into Siri. Now imagine being able to request an Uber ride with your voice? Imagine if it all worked with your Apple Watch, or even Homepod when the iPhone is close enough to be seen?

The third item that I really dislike is the Home Screen, and this one is very simple: Just let me place a clock and weather widget on there. Maybe even a mail widget on one of the pages. Please?

And finally, can I please replace Safari with Google Chrome as my default browser?

Just these changes would honestly make iOS and the iOS Ecosystem nearly perfect for me. I love the Control Center, I love Apple Pay, I love iMessage, I love ARKit, and Face ID looks very promising.

To be honest, Apple should release a “VRKit” with their answer to Google’s Daydream platform. Or, in a twist, integrate the iPhone into Daydream. Then again, I’m not planning to order a Google Daydream View headset, I’m planning to go Oculus Go, which is why the device I’m switching to is the OnePlus 6 and the lack of a VR System in the iOS Ecosystem is not a dealbreaker.

However, the notifications are broken, Siri is simply adequate when she should be great, widgets are not available for the home screen, and I can’t change the default browser to Google Chrome (I’ve had a number of times when I’d enter a website like Amazon, and it’d redirect me to the Amazon app, for example, and then redirect me into Safari… PLEASE STOP DOING THAT), and they don’t even allow me to choose where I purchase my movies and my music (I DON’T WANT TO USE iTUNES). These five major gripes are honestly the reason I want to go back to Android.

However, with grouped notifications and app integration into Siri, it’s very possible Apple could hold onto me for another year. I just had a look at the Product Red iPhone 8, and it looked very good.

And if it turns out to be better than expected (especially with the shared experiences in ARKit), I very well might order their other products: The Apple Watch, Apple TV, Airpods, Homepod, and maybe the MacBook Pro (although I’m also thinking of sticking to Chromebooks for a little while longer). I’m still going to heavily use Google Software, such as Google News and Google Play Products, however.

With all that being said, iOS 13 better be absolutely amazing if you want to keep me on for 2019-2020. There are other decently priced Android Phones that very successfully rival you, Apple. iOS 12 is only lowering me from five major gripes to three, and Siri will still have problems. Honestly, letting me choose my default browser LIKE ONE CAN DO ON A MAC and allowing me to purchase digital media from Amazon and Google Play should not be that hard. This kind of thing is what Android users call the “Walled Garden”.