Of course much depends on what the meaning of "is" is, to answer that question...and what Apple and Jony Ive believe the next iOS is.
We know for a fact that there will be no skeuomorphism involved. And read on for our Apple mobile software and hardware roadmap.
We also believe we have a pretty good handle on what both the next iOS and the next true original iPhone designs are likely to be, and we're confident we understand what "is" is. Now we merely need for Apple to deliver.
Yesterday, we put out some new numbers from Kantar WorldPanel that suggest the current versions of iOS are more or less holding steady or marginally declining in terms of market share. There is no real news here in terms of iOS - it is what we already know to be the case - though there was plenty of surprising news in the new numbers on other mobile OS fronts, the iOS numbers aren't of any surprise.
We did note that we are now entering that new season of Apple announcements speculation and the usual limbo that tends to hit many potential buyers when we enter it - call it the Apple Twilight Zone. It always occurs. This year, it has been perhaps made even more notable because Apple has been veering off its historical release dates for various products.
We ourselves are mystified as to why Apple is supposed to be following any particular release pattern – there’s no reason why any supposed patterns from the last few years should dictate when Apple should release anything.
In any case, no sooner than when we noted the beginning of the Apple Twilight Zone period yesterday did rumors surface this morning that Apple is now in full development on a "massive" rewrite of iOS. And to sweeten the rumors just a bit, that master of Apple insider info John Gruber has noted that "I've heard iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it."
So what else is new? Is there any software project where this isn't the case as it begins to become a real deliverable?
Here's another rumor: the special Apple developers, who are actually working on iOS 7 and have been given the highest classified levels of access Apple provides, are apparently walking around with special screen hiders so that no one can possibly catch a glimpse of what the new iOS is going to look like. There isn't anything of note here - we would of course expect the secret labs of Jony Ive to remain as secret as possible.
We have provided plenty of insight into what the next-generation iOS needs to accomplish. Just yesterday we also provided some insights into what a next-generation iPhone might very well look like from a hardware perspective (one can also draw some insights from this on what a next-gen tablet might show off).
Between these two sets of insights, we think we have a pretty good sense of where Apple is going.
Why? Because Apple needs to go in these directions in order to significantly advance innovation and the state of the art in real and non-derivative ways. And yes, it needs to do so while also delivering on other smartphone market segments - those for large screens and for cheaper devices.
One last note: we believe Apple needs to deliver on both the iPhone hardware and the next truly new generation of iOS in time for Apple's 2013 World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) - which should take place in July. At the very least, Apple needs to show us then what it has up its innovation sleeve. We’ll be satisfied with previews then - the real delivery dates can extend out to the 2013 holiday buying season (late November).
As hard as it may seem to believe, July is now a mere three months down the road. We won't engage in what we think of as frivolous attempts to predict Apple special events and release dates for the company's various products - these include the fabled Apple TV, the iWatch, a cheaper and/or large screen iPhone, new iPads and iPad Minis, and of course the next-gen iOS and the next-gen iPhone.
But we do believe Apple's 2013 WWDC is of absolutely critical importance to Apple's future. We suspect Apple thinks so as well. Our advice is to skip the release date predictions and product rumors and look ahead to WWDC. This is when the next true period of mobile innovation needs to occur.
No pressure Apple. No pressure!
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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