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iOS 7 wishlist: What we want on our iPhones

iPhone 2007 and iPhone 2012/2013 (iPhone 5)
iPhones since 2007 have featured the same basic home screen. Here's an iPhone from 2008, alongside the iPhone 5 currently on sale.Apple

People have been complaining for some time that iOS is getting a little long in the tooth. That same snappy grid of icons has been around since the Dark Ages (2007!), while Android has evolved apace and upstart systems like Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 have gone in new (and more practical) directions. Upon hearing that iOS 7 may well be a major overhaul, we brainstormed what we really want to see in our phones:

(And please note, if this just sounds like every way in which iPhone should co-opt Android features ... well, so be it.)

Homescreen widgets - This is probably the most obvious one. Give us search, music players, photo mini-galleries, and all the other stuff that already shows up on Android phones to make iPhone users jealous. But Apple: Do it better. Smarter scaling and placement options, and more fluid interactions, please.

Shortcuts to settings - There's no reason that Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Brightness controls are so buried on an iPhone. Put them in the drop-down notification drawer or something, but make it easier to get to them.

Alternate password options - Android's gesture passwords are great, and those photo passwords that Microsoft uses are pretty cool, too. Lots of options out there, all more secure than "1111."

More actions from notifications pane - In iOS, you can hop to an app from a notification in the drop-down drawer, but you can't initiate an interaction, say deleting emails or replying to tweets.

Bettercontact management - VIP and Do Not Disturb gave iPhone users better control over who gets the lion's share of their attention, but we still need to see more options, say ringtones assigned to groups.

Swype keyboard - Anyone who's ever used an Android phone and gone back to iPhone misses the Swype keyboard more than anything else. We still try to swype our way around the iOS keyboard, hoping it knows what our swoops and swirls mean. Apple, please license this, or build your own, because it's time-saving and ergonomically more pleasant.

Auto-updating apps - Some app updates don't matter at all, others are vital. Let us identify which apps should be auto-updated, or at least which ones should be able to notify us when an app is available.

Make Newsstand icon vanish - For some, Newsstand was a godsend, for others it's an annoyance. So why force everyone to have that stupid empty book case? It should be optional, like iBooks. And while we're on the subject, can't we please delete some of those unused Apple apps?

Moving pictures - Yes, the GIF craze is well underway, but the options for making short moving images on iOS are slim. We love Panorama ... let's keep those novelty camera features coming!

Data/power usage and alerts - We pay for every megabyte of data these days, so why not have smart tools for managing them? Android wowed a lot of people with its Jelly Bean data and power management controls — why can't iOS have something similar, to tell users which apps eat up most data and battery juice, and to get alerts when the hogs are getting ornery?

5-inch screen - Just kidding! But not really. Apple, you build very nice products, but you're not keeping up with Samsung here. People are buying on screen-size, so give us some bigger options.

And while we're on the subject of iOS and screens, please let there be a Retina iPad Mini this year. K, thx, bye.

Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.

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