On Change & iOS

Smart piece by Jason Snell for Macworld on change. Regarding iOS, he writes:

That’s why I’m optimistic that the dismissal of Forstall to tend his garden might be just the shake-up that iOS needs. In the operating system’s nearly six years of existence, Apple hasn’t really rethought any of iOS’s major features. We’ve seen the continual addition of new features, but very little has disappeared to be replaced by something utterly new. iOS is pretty good, but that stasis is odd, and perhaps even a little self-delusional on Apple’s part: Nothing is inviolably perfect, especially on the first try.

With Forstall—a major driver of iOS development since its inception—out of the picture, it strikes me that this is a chance for new people to make different decisions and to take things in a new direction. Good or bad, it’s at the very least an opportunity for change.

With Federighi and Ive now in charge of iOS, it’ll be interesting to see what changes are made.

There are two levels of change here: the user interface and the system. What Snell posits has more to do with what users see and interact with. Conceptually, I can’t imagine Apple, for example, doing away with Springboard -- the grid of icons -- in favor of something wholly new. To me, that seems like it’d be too radical a move to pull on “regular” users. As for system stuff, perhaps Apple will finally make Siri’s APIs public to developers, or maybe they’ll integrate more social services, like Foursquare. As I said, though, whatever happens with iOS 7 and beyond will be very interesting to watch. I’m looking forward to WWDC 2013.