With rivals turning up the heat, will iOS 7 finally make Apple’s smartphone smarter?
A warm front swept through the Mid-Atlantic region late last week and drove the temperature up into the nineties. It was humid and uncomfortable in New York City, but in iOS it was 73° and sunny. In the dead of winter as snow blankets the Northeast, and during sweltering summers while heat waves test our patience and our power grids, it’s always 73° and sunny in iOS. The perpetually perfect weather displayed on the iPhone’s Weather app icon is actually a profoundly apropos representation of the state of iOS itself. As other mobile platforms have continued to evolve over the past few years, iOS has in many ways remained static. And so an important question is raised as we prepare for WWDC next week: When will Apple’s smartphone finally start getting smarter again?

I’m worried about iOS 7. According to claims from several well-sourced reporters, iOS 7 is going to feature a pretty significant visual redesign that is flatter and more minimal. Apple more or less confirmed as much earlier this week. If this is in fact the case, it’s fantastic news — not because there’s anything wrong with the current user interface per se, but because after six years it’s time for something fresh. Apple is apparently working so hard on this redesign that it has pulled engineers off of OS X to help the iOS team finish on time.

As great as the new face of Apple’s mobile platform sounds, I sincerely hope Apple is also putting significant time and effort into developing some impressive and useful new features that will debut in iOS 7, because if we stop to think about it, it has been quite some time since Apple’s mobile platform really got any smarter.

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