I think we can all agree that iOS needs a new coat of paint, or at least a bit of a touch up, but that should not be the primary focus of the new version and we will be doing ourselves a disservice if we become blinded by the emperor's new clothes.
Apple needs to deliver
It looks as though we will have the launch of iRadio to show that Apple is still able to match Google but we don't want Apple to match anyone, we want Apple to surpass them!
We want better tools, we want a more robust but flexible system, we want better services and a new look can't paper over the obvious cracks forming in an ageing ethos. iOS has come a long way but Google and OEMs are really pushing the envelope with Android, its ecosystem and connected systems.
Apple needs to excite us in new ways. We no longer have Jobs' reality distortion field and Cook can't wow an audience in the same way so for us to be impressed things need to be genuinely awesome.
I have no doubt that iOS7 will be a tipping point where we will see the culmination of what has been started with Maps and Siri, the iPhone will become:
- location sensitive
- contextually aware
I still believe that Apple must take the integrated services route to keep the pace. I have also said recently that offline dictation and better social integration are a must but Google has the advantage of its own social network to draw from so Apple has to rely on its partnership with Facebook.
We have also seen rumours of deep integration of both flickr and Vimeo which, if true, would be designed to tackle the threat posed by Google especially now that the search giant is said to be buying Waze - one of Apple's suppliers for mapping data.
Enhanced social integration will help to solve the disconnect between device and service but Apple must also integrate its own services into a more cohesive offering to fully take advantage of the benefits.
Whatever Apple does with iOS7 it has to be special.
We've heard the talk of opening certain system APIs to third-parties (maybe even allowing alternative keyboards) and this will be a key factor in determining the direction for iOS. Opening up in this way need not compromise system security or stability if the APIs are designed correctly and there is sufficient oversight of the development process - Apple can always reserve the right to refuse an application entry to the App Store until it is confident that there will be no repercussions.
I'm really looking forward to trying iOS7, I just hope I won't be disappointed.
Image from iMore.