Is the iPhone and iOS due for a revolution in 2013?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Has the iPhone, along with Apple’s iOS, reached that point? Is next year going to be the year that the Cupertino-based company finally, finally pulls the curtain off a brand new version of their software that looks completely different from the version before it? There are some people that I’ve spoken with recently who believe, without a doubt that it won’t be. That whole, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” phrase pops up, and the just happily point out that iOS 6 looks like iOS 5, and you can keep that train rolling all the way back to the beginning. I’m just not sure I agree with that.
Do I have some kind of proof that Apple is working on something new, fresh and exciting? Do I have some insider knowledge that this is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, going to happen in 2013? Nope, not at all. I just have hope. Hope that Apple is finally going to make a change to their software, and start adding other features that people have been clamoring for, for years.
Both Taylor and I have gone over a little of what we think iOS could truly benefit from. At the most basic, iOS should have animated icons. To go far and above that, iOS’s icons should have dynamic information that pops up on the Springboard (that screen with all the icons on it) when you touch them, based on the functionality of the app itself. Those two things, working beautifully together, would make iOS immediately different than each version of the OS before it, and spice things up quite a bit.
At the same time, Apple needs to keep combining their software platforms. Meaning, instead of seeing so many new features from iOS slipping over to their Mac OS, we need to see some of that going the other way around. It would be pretty cool if the Springboard on iOS worked more like the desktops in Mac OS X. Have an Instant Messaging client? You can put a scrollable widget right there on the homepage of your choice, along with your favorite Twitter client as well. (You could really make these stand out by having iCloud sync these applications from mobile to desktop, and vice versa. This is already done with several apps, so it’s certainly not impossible.)
Yes, there are going to be people who say this is a direct rip-off of Google’s Android mobile platform, but I feel like Apple could find a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Just, use the idea, but make it different enough that we don’t have to keep hearing about court hearings.
Now, this is where the iPhone comes in. Based on history, Apple’s history, we can expect that 2013 will see the unveiling of the iPhone 5S. Yeah, there are even rumors already circling about the device that doesn’t exist yet. Still, it’s likely that Apple will unveil another “S” upgrade from the previously released handset, and depending on what they include, that may not be a bad thing. Especially if they do indeed give the OS a huge makeover.
But, I’d like to see Apple shake everything up. Remember last year when we got the new iPad? No number. Just “the new iPad.” I want that from the iPhone. I really don’t want an iPhone 5S. How about we just “start over,” more or less? The new iPhone. Along with that? The new iOS. Yes, Apple has released new, major upgrades to iOS with their iterative hardware updates, but I think this big of an update, this mythological beast that it is, should come with new hardware, too. With a major refresh of the software, it is only fitting that Apple have a total refresh of the hardware, too.
Would that be too much new for the Apple faithful? That’s a possibility. But, I think it’s something that’s been a long time, coming. With the addition of a larger display in the iPhone 5, and the massive sales that it brought along with it, it just goes to show that the iPhone fans will accept the new device as long as they feel like it’s worth their money. iOS is due for a major upgrade. Even our very own Aaron has admitted in his 30-day challenge that the software is becoming stale. So, let’s see it happen, Apple. It may not be broken, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a brand new aesthetic.
Do you think Apple is gearing up to change iOS in a big way in 2013? If you’re currently using Apple’s mobile OS, Dear Reader, are you going to jump ship if the next version isn’t a big change from the last? Let me know!