Remove background/ make background transparent in images
It would be really great if we can provide a feature to remove background and make objects transparent within Illustrator. There are users who import pictures in Illustrator but in order to make the background transparent, they have to use other application and, image trace would be complicated.
In recent version Illustrator made some changes to simplify this process. You can click Edit in Photoshop button (in Properties or Control panel) to quickly edit a linked image.
You can force Illustrator to use a different program associated in your OS with the format of a placed image, if you toggle the Use System Defaults for 'Edit Original' in Preferences > File Handling.
Finally, if you want to edit an embedded image, there is an external solution, Rasterino, from AstuteGraphics plugins pack. The workaround would be to de-embed the image first (using the dedicated button), that is save the image to disk, and use the first button to edit it.
As for the general idea of having a raster specific tools inside of vector editing software — hell no :) Illustrator should stay what it is — a vector program. Keep raster things to raster apps, but streamline the integration process — hell yes.