New iPhone? The real story is iOS 7

By Benjamin Chute

I think the real story is not the new iPhone, but the next major release of iOS. And as a maker of iOS software, this very much interests us at TruQC.

Since Jony Ive now provides “leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design” after Forstall’s departure, I think the next release of iOS under his guidance will be extremely interesting. He’s the one primarily responsible for the beautiful hardware design. The iPhone is most definitely a fine work of art, but it wouldn’t be the iPhone without the bar-setting software running it. And since the only way to get iOS is to buy an Apple mobile device, that is good for the stockholders (disclosure: I’m one of them!).

I don’t know if iOS 7 will be a part of the new iPhone or whether they’ll call it the iPhone 5S or the 6, but with Ive at the HI helm, it makes sense to me that more of his time, thinking power, and meticulous attention to the tiniest detail will be dedicated to the software. He’s still in charge of the hardware design, but since Apple so closely couples its hardware with its software, this provides a unique and unified stage for Ive to shine even further.

John Gruber from Daring Fireball is saying that Apple is dedicating more development staff to iOS 7 away from OS X 10.9 because iOS 7 is behind schedule. If true, that would lead me to believe that Apple is pushing for a developer release or at least a feature preview at WWDC in June. It would also support the idea that iOS 7 is supremely important in Apple’s eyes too. So maybe they’ll announce a new phone, but depending on how substantial the re-design of iOS is, that could easily take the spotlight. I’d guess it is also safe to say that with Ive leading HI, most of the changes and improvements we’ll see in iOS 7 will be focused on the user-facing elements and experience and less so on the API’s we use behind the scenes.

A new iOS release with Ive’s famous fingerprints would be the innovative edge.

A few updates since I originally wrote this (update made May 7th)

Today, a few weeks after originally writing this post, it’s becoming more and more apparent that I’m not the only one who feels strongly about iOS 7 being what really matters with the new iPhone that’s set to launch.

For example, there’s this article from stratechery about the power of the new operating system versus the aesthetic adds that seem to be getting all the attention. There’s also this article from MacRumors about the power of the new operating system.

Looks like industry experts are all in agreement. iOS 7 is what we should all really be getting excited about. I certainly am.