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It can be said that Apple was once the world's most advanced mobile operating system. The original iPhone (and its four successors) sported a 3.5-inch touchscreen, an Internet browser, and a multitude of native apps. iOS was quite simply what many people wanted. Such is the mentality of present day Apple that iOS has redeemed a similar look and feel throughout its evolution. But this delay in updating iOS is purely intentional.

You can bet that iOS under the new direction of Jony Ive (the man responsible for the hardware designs of the iPad, iPod, iPhone, and many Mac computers) will look a bit different while retaining similar qualities of past versions. And with Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference quickly approaching, it's a safe bet that we'll see how much influence Ive has had over the new iOS very soon.

According to 9to5mac, a few people who have seen and used iOS 7 said the new OS is redesigned, but should still be attractive to everyone who likes iOS in its current state. These same sources also claim iOS 7 is "very flat" like Windows Phone's Metro UI. iOS 7 loses "all signs of gloss, shine, and skeuomorphism seen across current and past versions of iOS," reports 9to5mac.

The word "flat" is what the rest of 9to5mac's exclusive report details setting a tone that attempts to describe the change, and why the change is favorable, but it really doesn't matter if iOS 7 has flat icons with a purple and pink polka dot theme.

Familiarity is Apple's best bet in retaining its installed base. Skeuomorphic design elements may have been the reason Apple ousted former Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall, but you can be assured Apple's next move won't veer too far away from what has worked for them.

Setting aside the drop in stock prices, investor forecasts, strong competition from Android, and the infamous icon grid gracing iOS home screens, Apple need not diverge from its recipe which landed it $9.5 billion in profit last quarter. Pleasing a minority of customers who are looking for a drastic change simply can't be a company's priority when the majority of their customer base already appreciates current products for what they are: easy to learn and simple to manage.

Apple recently posted their first year-over-year quarterly earnings decline in almost a decade. The real kicker is Wall Street's expectation that they needed to profit more than $9.5 billion to meet investor expectations. The truth is, Apple has gotten this far with their lineup of computing devices and is sitting on a stockpile of $145 billion in cash. They may be in the process of selling bonds of $15 to $16 billion to finance a $100 billion in capital dividend to shareholders before year-end, but they have an AA+ credit rating by Standard & Poor. Apple is financially secure despite investor skepticism of their products.

And a simple theme update to iOS complete with new icons, a color scheme, and some hardware improvements is an option for the next version of iOS. Here's why.

In an article posted by AllThingsD, John Paczkowski brings to light a study by the Yankee Group which says iPhone ownership in the U.S. will exceed Android ownership by 2015 despite the dominance Google currently enjoys in the mobile market. The Yankee Group conducted a survey of 16,000 consumers over the past 12 months and asked them which smartphone they currently own and what they intend to buy in the next six months. The result was similar to the current state of mobile with half of the sample owning Android devices, and 30 percent owning an iPhone.

However, customer engagement which is driven by consumer loyalty heavily favored the iPhone. 91 percent of iPhone owners planned to buy another iPhone, with just 6 percent admitting they'd be willing to switch to an Android device. As AllThingsD's Paczkowski points out, "nine out of 10 iPhone owners are loyal to the platform."

And this is based on the current crop of devices running iOS 6, so I'm inclined to believe there really isn't any change required of iOS at all. Likewise, you can bet Apple is well aware of the consequences that will accompany a complete overhaul of iOS 7. 

Apple need only look across to BlackBerry to see what happens when a completely new mobile OS is introduced to a target market with certain expectations. I love BB10, but it's unclear how people are reacting to it. Evolutionary updates to the BlackBerry OS over time may have helped usher in acceptance of the new gestures and home screen layout of BB10 OS, but that's not what the Waterloo company did. As a result, there is speculation surrounding return rates of the Q10 and Z10 exceeding sales. BlackBerry denies this and is currently seeking review by the SEC and Ontario Securities Commission.

"The face of this is the software, right? And the face of this iPad is the software," Cook told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Elegance, intuitiveness, and simplicity will drive the next wave of Apple products. I fail to see why Apple needs to extensively change iOS 7 for them to do well. A flat look and similar functionality might not be okay with me, but it should be enough for their loyal fans presuming the next iteration manages to retain that friendly and familiar home screen.

I just won't be convinced of the magic. Apple might not be doing as well as they once were but they aren't going anywhere, and it may very well be at the expense iOS 7.

Image via Macworld and Softonic.


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63 Reactions to this post

"There is a rumor that iOS 7 will be "very flat." Is a major update imminent, or would you rather see something evolutionary? Which is a safer bet for Apple?"


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Dominic DeLaurentis Most people I know are switching from the iPhone to Android... They are getting bored. If Apple doesn't do something soon, they are going to lose a lot of people.
Thomas Hadley it's too simple
Eric J. Powers Android is for nerds with small penises.......Apple is so boring, what do they have that is so great? A guy I work with has an iPhone 5 on the same network as me, speed tests are slower, battery dies quicker, screen is small and dinky and overall very unimpressive.... so come suck my small pecker Jose.
Jo Jo More like your dad then who abuses little girls. CREEP
Jo Jo @Jose Caldero do oneu stupid SCUM BASTARD. YOU ARE A TROLL
Jose Calderon Very convincing argument...not.
Jose Calderon This is the stupidest pro android argument I've ever heard. Are you listening to yourself?
Jose Calderon Android is for nerds with small penises.
Jose Calderon Your reasoning is impeccable, sir. I am thoroughly convinced by your shallow insight.
Jose Calderon Are you expecting a hardware overhaul? Exactly how fast do you think technology advances a year?? Tech advances pretty fast, but not THAT fast, geeze. Even Samsung is releasing a similar shaped Galaxy S 4. Get over it.
Jose Calderon Windows phone is beyond flat. I'm sure apple will find a balance.
Jose Calderon Because...?
Jose Calderon You really think Apple would copy Microsoft?!! Lol. Apple is NOT Samsung. Fandork...
Jose Calderon Tim Foutz, there is clearly something wrong with your brain, please have that checked. Thank you.
Jason Angeles Nothing i mean nothing can crack on its own Lol... It can't magically just crack one day. Something probably dropped on it or someone dropped it and just placed near you and said it cracked on itself.. You must be absolutely retarded if you believed something cracked on its own.. Every device with a glass display will crack on a slight drop. its glass for eff sakes
TuCan Dan I doubt the phone just cracked on its own. I have had fabulous customer service with every iphone ive purchased. Most of the time Apple will just give you a new phone if a problem cannot be resolved after a re-install of the OS.
TuCan Dan Mr. Foutz, I'm thoroughly NOT convinced your screen cracked on its own. Are you trying to say the phone was just on a table or something and just decided "hey....I think I will crack today".....I think not
Tim Foutz Dream on iSheep. Your POS overpriced self-destructing unfixable phones will never overtake Android. I trash Apple's junk devices at every opportunity to everyone I talk to about tech. I have hated them since the screen on my 3rd gen Ipod cracked by itself. Never been dropped in any otterbox case. Looked at it one morning and it had a crack side to side. No warranty coverage. I gave the POS away and will NEVER buy anything with Apple's name on it again. I hope Google drives them into the ground it is sad Microsoft didn't buy them when they were riding high and shut them down.
Mark Belkowski anything metro UI sucks.
Ian Walker I recently traded my iPhone for a note 2 which is fantastic BUT I do like apple and there products but I did feel a little cheated with the last three phones 4 4s 5 with being very similar and decided it was time for something new. But if or when apple start to innovate again I would not be opposed to try again.
Dustin T. Robles Another reason why i will keep my iPad mini (love this thing) but switch to android for phone I currently have an iPhone 4S I have owned an iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, then I switched to an HTC EVO 4G loved it iPhone 5 and Samsung galaxy s 3 were out when my contract ended and I made the mistake of getting the iPhone 4S (my current phone)
Dustin T. Robles I'm one of the ones who want a complete overhaul I love my iPhone don't get me wrong and personally I love the look and animations of windows phone however I plan in the next year (2 year contract) to buy either HTC or Samsung because android is is just better more freedom so to speak
Stephen Victor I hope the new iOS 7 gives me magical feelings to validate my existence.
Aaron Martell It sad that people bash windows phone but if apple brings out a similar design people will call it revolutionary, praise it for being different.
Camar Green Apple always plays it safe. Nothing will be a WOW moment when it comes to IOS. Add something here add something there and we have a small upgrade to IOS 7 that will have a battery bug that takes more than 3 months to fix.
Taylor Allen Jody, I agree with you 100% I switched from Android to the iPhone. i felt just like your friend did when he fell in love with Android. After years of talking trash about the iPhone, I fell in love with it... Funny how things change. I have NOTHING against Android, iOS and Apple's eco-system just works better for me personally.
Jody Warrick Sidebar: ANYONE that makes fun of you for the phone you use, is a moron.
Dino Dimakopoulos Former iPhone user. To answer, its deeper than that. It involves blind american consumerism, lack of consumer education, and support for a company that fights competition with court, not new innovation (and in turn can hurt new innovation and most of all, consumers). Everyone copies each other, always has. From the start Apple was never an exception, they just did a good job making it look like they were.
Jody Warrick The lack of an open mind on anyone's part is wrong. To be loyal to a company because of the name is stupid if it no longer suits your needs whether it is Apple or android. But after leaving Apple and going over to Android, I see what all the fuss is about. I love Android phones.. the screen size fits my needs and the software finally rivals Apples standards. That being said, I don't care what phone anyone uses, but don't be so closed off to trying something new. I had a friend of mine that (Apple fan) that kept calling me stupid for switching to Android and making fun of my phone.. Really? After about a year of his abuse.. I finally put my phone in his hand and MADE him try it.. His wheels started to turn.. He started looking at Android.. When his contract was up, he switched.. he LOVES it now and says he was stupid to not try something new. Although I am in LOVE with my NOTE II, if Apple came out with a better phone with bigger screen, I would be willing to try it. Stay open people.
R.j. ONeill I always needed an OS that was as flat as I am!
Jo Jo Android is Linux Based.
Thomas Hadley But everyone has their own choice
Charlie Ebner We also have to consider that this is just the iOS, not a new iPhone. If Apple is going to be changing the design of the iPhone, which I doubt, the new iOS may actually compliment the new design. As always, we will have to wait and see what they unveil.
Thomas Hadley Iphone sucks
Francis Alain Konan Very flat is fine but they should add some improvements like bringing tags and folders to Notes
Charlie Ebner I would rather see something evolutionary. When the iPhone first came out, it changed smartphones. When the iPhone 4 came out, it changed things again. Apple needs to get back on track and quit doing minor changes. Apple needs to do something that no one else has thought about yet.
Carl Dale ansheep xD
Eric J. Powers I'm not really an Apple hater, i had an iPhone and was bored with it, I felt restricted so I went back to Android.
Jeff Griffith George Millhouse, talk about a moron!
Brendan Breakdown Is this Ive's first OS?? I think it'll take him a few years to get into his zone. Lots of trial an error
Taylor Allen Also, what does it hurt you if Apple fans buy Every.Single.Product. Apple puts out...? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just don't get the hostility between brand loyalists.
Chase Ros Not sure. Like the world, maybe?
Chase Ros They suck 145 billion times over.
Chase Ros That's what the 9to5mac article said.
Danny Chavez Well if iOS 7 only focuses on the UI, that's a total fail.
Taylor Allen The S4... That was sure an innovation... I but things Apple puts out because I like them. A new Android phone comes out every week, how different are they? I don;t care, and I don't get involved in the "Because I like Apple, I have to hate Android" Argument... Its just dumb.
Dalton Davis What do y'all not get? Apple sucks!
Eric J. Powers Yeah, what Millhouse said
George Millhouse Because Taylor isheep have no mind. They buy whatever Apple puts out regardless if it's the same thing again. Android users go where the innovation is.
Eric J. Powers Sell all your apple stock and buy Google stock, that is your best bet...
Stephen Wagner I hope it completely breaks ios
Taylor Allen Sidebar: Why do people call Apple fans "iSheep"? Because they are loyal to a brand? Just like Android uses are loyal to Google, Samsung, HTC or Moto?? Stupid... Just let people like what ever phone they want, who cares?
Wasis Waskito Flat? Does apple sell potato chips now?
Frank F. Bona IDK and IDC.
Abram Wenevermet Dennis What does flat exactly mean?
Martin Láwliet Amuesi On the other hand, when Apple does something, they really go for it and do it well. So if iOS has really been redesigned then expect good things (maybe even some great). I mean they really only had a year to make changes, I should expect better things in iOS 8. iOS 7 should lay the foundations though. Look forward to it.
Robert Smith lol we all knew that one day this would happen. its why i switched to android. apple just got to stale
Taylor Allen I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again, I love iOS. I switched from Android (Droid 1, 2, X, Razr,Galaxy 2) It's a great OS for me personally, some people don't like it and thats perfectly fine with me. All that being said, sure it could use a facelift, but I don't want it to change to much to the point where I don't know I'm using an iOS device. I'm excited to see iOS 7.
John Agzarian they gonna try and copy windows phone and call it resolutionary and all the isheep will be like omg and go and buy the copied software.
Martin Láwliet Amuesi Everyone is putting their hope in Ive to bring the changes that they want in iOS 7 and future versions. I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket, this is Apple we're talking about people.
Nicholas Franko Fortino it is just like a windows phone
Jo Jo Apple is for sheep shaggers




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