This September comes Apple’s long awaited revamp of its mobile operating system in the form of IOS 7, so why does barely anybody outside of techies and Apple fanatics know that their phone and / or tablet device is going to be completely overhauled? If Apple is careless, it’s going to run the risk of frustrating, confusing and in some cases alienating many of its users on day one release of this update.
IOS 7 represents a perhaps long overdue revamp of Apple’s mobile software. Last September saw the release of the sixth iteration of their OS, in which the technology giant attempted to ditch Google’s maps in favor of their own lackluster offering, amongst many other minor changes. The result was misplaced locations, poorly guided directions and in general a gravely sub-par attempt to compete with Google. On top of this the lack of change and innovation was widely criticized and a huge blow was dealt to Apple’s confidence and their share price – in September 2012 before the release of IOS 6 their share price ran at $702, one year on, a fortnight before the release of their “revolutionary overhaul” the stock price runs at a poor $487, a mere shade of their past successes.
So what’s coming in IOS 7?
Under Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Design and the driving force of this overhaul, Apple are aiming to breathe new life into their tired looking operating system. The software is being redesigned from the ground up with a more minimalist feel, abandoning the previous skeudomorphic design in favour of one theme throughout. Thus far it’s several new features have been praised by critics and consumers.
A Skeudomorph – Is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that were necessary in the original. In IOS 7 there will be no more attempts to create things like an actual contacts list that looks like a phonebook (thankfully).
The real problem is going to be how Apple handles the general release of this redesign. When the average person downloads this update, most likely being warned in typical Apple fashion that “it’s going to change everything”, they probably will have no idea what it’s actually going to change. Apple’s helplines and stores are going to be inundated with people asking trivial questions, testing not only it’s infrastructure but also its reputation for good customer service. These problems pale in comparison when wider, more complex matters are considered. Is it secure? Are there going to be unseen bugs that could potentially cripple people’s mobile devices upon performing certain specific tasks?
Apple will have to respond quickly and effectively to any problems that may arise. Any number of things, from the mishandling of the update roll-out, to the lack of readily available useful support staff, could potentially deal yet another crippling blow to this already hobbling tech giant. Along with IOS 7, Apple needs to release an outstanding mobile offering to the mobile market in order to fight off increasingly hungry competition from Google and Microsoft on both sides.
One thing is for sure, the next few weeks, and the holiday season are going to be a very interesting period for this company. Can it recover its once unbeatable prestige and reputation for innovation? Or will it buckle under the pressure – only time will tell.