The top five features we want to see in iOS 5

The iPhone's operating system is great, but it's not perfect. Alan Lu details his wishlist for the upcoming iOS 5.

Cloud integration

We were initially skeptical about the cloud, if only because of the initial hysterical hype, but we've now been won over by useful cloud-based apps and services such as Dropbox, Simplenote and Instapaper.

The iOS AVG LiveKive cloud storage app

Cloud services on iOS could be so much better with a little help from Apple

However, iOS remains stubbornly cloud-free. Apple's own MobileMe paid-for cloud service for synchronising calendars, contacts, email and files is only superficially integrated with the operating system. It also has, anecdotally at least, recurring reliability issues.

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Apple has confirmed that it will be unveiling details about its new iCloud service alongside iOS 5. Although much of the speculation surrounding iCloud centers on music streaming, we have high hopes its scope will be more ambitious than that if only because of the size of Apple's new data centre.

However, to make the most of the cloud, Apple should also tweak how iOS manages multitasking. Although third-party cloud-dependent apps can continue downloading new data in the background, they can't check for new data automatically you have to open the app and manually tap a refresh button. An authorised way for apps to check for and download new data in the background is sorely needed tapping half a dozen apps to check for updates is not our idea of fun.

Integrated and expanded voice recognition

One of the few impressive features in Android is its integration with Google's cloud-based voice recognition service. You can use this speech-to-text dictation for almost anything where you'd use a keyboard, from searching the web to composing a text. It's a bit finicky, since its efficacy greatly depends on a quality network connection and your phone clearly recording your voice, but it's still a feature iOS currently lacks.

Voice dialling in iOS 4

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain...

iOS 4 does currently have limited voice controls you can dial contacts and control music playback, but that's it. Hopefully Apple has more sophisticated voice controls in store, especially given rumours of a licensing deal with voice recognition specialists Nuance and Cupertino's acquisition of voice app Siri.

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