9 dumb differences between iOS and OS X Apple should fix

Many apps and services work almost the same, so the differences that do exist become major frustrations

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Photo albums. OS X and iOS both let you create albums in the iPhoto and Photos apps, respectively, but albums created in Photos in iOS don't sync to iPhoto in OS X. Yet you can set them to sync in the other direction, from iPhoto to Photos via iTunes. (From there, iPhoto in iOS sees the albums in Photos.) That's a real frustration for travelers and other photographers who organize their photos on their iPads and expect to have them available on their Macs when they get home. Also, why can't the iPhoto app in iOS be used to create albums?

Styles in Pages. The latest update to iWork Pages in iOS assigns paragraph styles to the standard headings available in the Formats pop-over, so the document uses actual paragraph styles when opened in Pages on a Mac or in Word on any computer -- a step in the right direction. But you can't use other styles (paragraph or character) defined in the document when working in iOS nor create or apply them in iOS. Styles are a critical part of document workflow, and they need to be both retained and available as you switch devices. The beta version of iWork for the Web has me nervous because it doesn't retain much of the metadata in documents, such as styles and tracked changes; that would make it unusable for most business purposes -- so far, it's even less compatible with document features than iWork on iOS is.

Passbook limited to iPhones. The Passbook app is a great way to collect boarding passes and tickets in one convenient place: the Passbook app. But Passbook is available only on iPhones; if you want to check in for a flight from your iPad or Mac, you can't have the ticket routed to Passbook on your iPhone -- you have to check in from the iPhone to be able to add it to Passbook. That's dumb, as you're likely to do trip prep from a Mac or iPad, then use your iPhone to manage and access your travel info after you've left home. Plus, Apple sells cellular iPads that would be very convenient to use for checking into flights and other sorts of transport -- an iPad Mini, for example, makes sense for such use. Passbook should be available on them as well.

Exchange support in Notes. For some bizarre reason, Apple dropped support for Exchange notes in its Notes app in iOS 6, and it remains MIA in iOS 7. Yet it is still available in OS X's Notes app. This issue may bee related to a bug or compatibility issue in iOS and/or Exchange. Reader Bill Spry tell me he can sync notes in iOS 7 (but not iOS 6) with his Exchange 2010 server; my testing has been with Exchange 2007 and Office 365, and in neither case do I get the option to sync notes with Exchange, though I used to have that option in iOS 5 with Exchange 2007.

Location-based reminders. The Reminders app is one of Apple's weakest standard apps, but it does have a cool feature: the ability to set reminders based on approaching or leaving a location. That is, it can do so on your Mac or iPhone. This feature is unavailable on the iPad, which also means you can't set up a location-based reminder from your iPad for use on your iPhone.

There are also unnecessary inconsistencies across iOS devices.

For example, there's no included calculator, weather, or stocks app on the iPad, but there is on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Yet the iPad does show the current weather in iOS 7's enhanced Notification Center. These aren't critical omissions, as you can get the data easily from other apps or websites, but if the goal is to have a unified fabric, why aren't these widgets universally available? (OS X has a calculator app, but not weather or stocks app, though it has widgets for these. Widgets are an awkward and little-used technology that Apple has had for years in OS X but has let languish.)

In addition, the convenient four-finger sideways swipe to move among open apps is an option for the iPad but not for the iPhone or iPod Touch.

All of these inconsistencies seem both arbitrary and unnecessary. Current and recent-generation iOS devices certainly can handle them all. Apple, please fix the tears and holes in your otherwise highly compelling compute fabric.

This article, "9 dumb differences between iOS and OS X Apple should fix," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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