More on iOS 7, iPhone 5S, and Apple's plans for 2013

MG Siegler instigated an interesting conversation on Branch today when he wondered out loud about Apple's plans for 2013. I've already posted several pieces on iMore about the potential for an April event, a potential summer release for the iPhone 5s, some stuff on the iWatch, bigger iPhone, and less expensive iPhone, and a bit about Jony Ive going hands-on with iOS 7. John Gruber added the following, which he's since posted on Daring Fireball as well:

What I’ve heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it. (Let me know if you’ve heard this song before.)

Clayton Morris concurred:

I've heard from engineers who've been moved off of their current 'non-profit generating projects' in order to work on the high priority software projects.

Scott Forstall, previously in charge of iOS, left late last year. Jony Ive, previously in charge of hardware design was put in charge of all design, including software, at the same time. That's a massive change to the team working on iOS 7. In addition, Richard Williamson, who previously ran Maps, left, as did several other iOS engineers (retention really is a problem.) Siegler added to the Branch that the Passbook team specifically is suffering at the moment.

Here's something I contributed to the Branch but I can't stress enough:

iOS is a continuum, not a set of static things. There's a roadmap. What didn't make it into iOS 6 goes into 7, what doesn't make it into 7 goes into 8.

So, if Forstall and other departures, and Ive and other additions, cause a change, either features can be dropped to make the same schedule, or the schedule has to be extended to allow for those features to be completed, or extra engineers have to be added to try and get the same schedule for the same features. Given the competitive landscape, and given that Apple has pulled engineering resources to iOS to help meet deadlines in the past, it's not hard to believe they need to, and are, doing just that again.

I haven't heard anything about the authentication hardware Siegler mentions, but I have heard some of the other things Gruber said. My only other addition to the Branch:

Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad.

Transitions or no transitions, it sounds like there's some real work going on for iOS 7. I hope a lot of it makes it in. I also hope online services get the attention they need, because that's the table-stakes now.

Go read the whole conversation and let me know what you think.

Source: Branch

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • It is not hard to imagine
  • It's starting to get more and more exciting.. :)
  • Sorry accidental send.
    Not hard to imagine that there will be an overhaul. The UI is the first point of attack for proponents of other platforms. I just hope the new team is up to the task and deliver a clean and functional experience.
  • Yeah, because no other OS in the world uses icons to represent apps.
  • I am not sure how your reply relates to my comment.
  • His was a sarcastic reply to you "hoping the new team is up to the task and deliver a clan functional experience." And also referencing the iOS UI being a point of attack. I mean outside of the widgets on Android the apps are square icons, same as iOS. The whole whining about iOS UI is pretty stupid.
  • I could not agree with you more, I personally have never understood all the hype about widgets.
  • I don't know about hype, but I love being able to glance at my home screen and see weather information without have to tap through to an app. Or to see what profile is set, and my next calendar event, ditto. And I can see all three at the same time, without having to click through to three separate apps. Yeah, some widgets are just silly, but some are very useful. Of course, my useful may be your silly, and vice-versa.
  • Android icons aren't necessarily squares, they don't have a set shape.
  • Hope it's not just an overhaul getting rid of the skeumorphism
  • I wouldn't expect a complete overhaul in iOS 7 with the fact Ive is "new" to the software side of the design.
  • So question. I have an upgrade from AT&T available at the end of April. I'm currently on a Lumia 900 and I'm considering switching to an iPhone 5. I still love the WP UI, but the app situation bothers me a little more every day. Should I wait for a possible 5s, or go for the 5?
  • I am also currently on WP (7.5) and I am going to wait and see what Apple has up it's sleeve with the iPhone 5S and iOS 7 before i lock myself in with another 2 year contract. WP is a great UI, however i dislike the way updates get pushed out (carriers have to approve them, Sprint is killing me with not releasing anything to stop the "disappearing keyboard") and the app selection has not improved as much as I thought it would over the last 2 years. So I am in the same exact boat as you, and I am waiting.
  • Mate, I know exactly how you feel... I'm in the same boat. So tired of waiting on all I'd hoped for in WP... I'm ready to move on to something which I know will be consistent, going forward... But I still wonder if buying a model of Apple product that's already outdated is foolish... even if only a regular # model, instead of the #S. There's future updates to consider, too. Every year, Apple drops iOS support for one generation of devices.
  • Consider the HTC ONE. Blink feed has a similar look to WP. Build Quality is top notch, and it'll be on Sprint.
  • Most likely the 5s will just be internal upgrades and a new camera so if you don't care about the latest and greatest, the 5 is still plenty good a device and will get the next OS version so you would just be missing out on the camera(which the 5 is no slouch in that department) and maybe faster processor.
  • I'd wait regardless. Either the 5s will be compelling enough to get, or you can go for the then cheaper 5.
  • +1 Love my 5, but I just gave my sister this same advice yesterday. It's so close to the launch now, just a few more months most likely, you'd almost be crazy to buy a 5 at full price right now. Good things come to those who wait
  • I am in the same situation my upgrade can happen end of April but I am really going to try and wait there will be an upgrade of some kind so that is 100 dollar difference for two 3 months of waiting. And you will also have the newest updates phone. The 5 is a great phone no doubt but if your phone works great then roll with it until 5S comes out...
  • I've been holding off on getting the 5 however I do not think my current 4s will last until the next iPhone release after I dropped it (one time I had the case off). One good thing about the iPhone is that regardless of the model it is almost guaranteed to get software updates for at least a couple years if not longer, so I'll probably give in this weekend and get the 5.
  • My advice? If you all can wait until a POTENTIALLY Sep/Oct release for the "5S" (and you can afford it), I would wait. With each "S" update, the software/hardware capabilities have received nice little had-to-have additions that the previous models lacked (3GS - compass, video recording, auto-focus camera, twice as fast; 4S - Siri, 8 mp camera, turn-by-turn nav). That's not to say the solid number upgrades were lackluster (4 - retina display, new shell; 5 - 4 in dispaly, new thinner/lighter shell), it just made me think a bit about paying full price for the "S" iterative. In short: if you can wait, and can afford it, WAIT. But that's the hardest part.... for me, anyway.
  • Guess Apple needs to brush up on Brooks' law: adding manpower to a late project makes it later.
  • bingo. All Apple did was ensure two products would be late. Alas it seems that ignorance seems to repeat itself at companies like Apple.
  • Priorities!! iOS is more profitable for Apple. Therefore, they are doing the right thing. OS X is less important.
  • Apple Iphone 5s and iWatch will be Famous, Does iWatch Support Calls? It so Techie if it Does... :)
  • Re: "iOS is a continuum, not a set of static things. There's a roadmap. What didn't make it into iOS 6 goes into 7, what doesn't make it into 7 goes into 8." Yes, but Apple really, really likes to make a splash with each iOS release. A big splash. And that means certain features are must-do's. And apparently one or more of this year's must-do's require more effort than Apple anticipated.
  • That and the fact how their stock has tanked lately I dont think apple wants another repeat of that, especially if the release of the next IOS isn't anything special according to investors and the like.( i.e IOS6)
  • No but are you trying to toll this thread or are you just trying to set the record for the longest run-on sentence about completely non-sequitur nonsense especially if you consider the fact that each release of iOS is special and the like?
  • Special? tell that to the investors. And no I wasn't trolling sorry you got butt hurt because I made a point...
  • Sigh. More obvious trolling. I suppose it can't be helped, due to iMore's proximity to their sister sites full of Android / Windows apologists. But anyway, Apple makes more money from iPhone alone than Microsoft makes from all of their divisions. Google makes more money from iOS than they do from all of Android. So yeah, I can see why you might feel the need to lash out at Apple. Like it makes any difference.
  • Sigh. Obvious fan boy. He made a valid observation, investors obviously weren't impressed with i5 and IOS 6 because their stocks did tank. Apple would be focused on making sure IOS 7 is polished off in order to wow their stocks back up. Don't get upset, investor disappointment doesn't ruin your experience.
  • $429.79 could hardly ever be considered "tanked". Even coming all the way down from $500!
  • Uh, keep in mind AAPL peaked over $700 in Sep '12.
  • iOS 6 wasn't much of a splash, though.
  • Re: "Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad." Oh well. I'm sure rich-texture-loving designers can go back to doing clip art and ultra-super-fancy-shaded-shiny-metallic-3D icons and stuff. Or maybe they can just go back to Art School and get that masters degree. And then teach.
  • I hope we see widgets. Not so much as screen widgets, but notification center widgets. I'm looking forward to Ivy breathing new life into iOS. While I don't expect a complete overhaul, I do expect something big.
  • A toggle widget is long overdue
  • Jailbreak
  • Oh I am. Auxo is great.
  • Yeah, Notification Center widgets would be cool, but I'd much rather they ditch the search screen and replace it with a widgets screen (with a search widget, if we choose to add it). That would put iOS much more in-line with OSX and match up the "Screens" desktop switcher and the 4-finger gesture for multi-tasking on iPad (would act identical if the widgets screen was treated like an app on devices). That would just make all the sense in the world to me. The search screen is completely wasted on me as it currently functions.
  • I sure hope they overhaul it, IOS is getting old and stale, would appreciate a new user experience!
  • Did somebody say something about widgetzzzzz..... zzzzzz..... zzzzzzz........ [crickets...]
  • Haha... I agree with you 100% (widgets are old news), but I think an implementation along the lines of benlee78's thoughts might be ok. As it stands now, I rarely, if ever, use (or even look at) spotlight search. I would imagine that implementing a widget dashboard, much like OS X, would draw more user interaction with that page-to-the-left, but would also allow for great battery life, as it would only be activated when summoned, much like the NC widgets.
  • If you want a new user experience, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone (to name a few) would be more than happy to have your business. If it is the UI experience that is keeping you tied to one platform or another you have other, more viable options. When you get to the nuts and bolts of the "Old and tired argument" though I'm most positive you will find other more important aspects that keep you tied to a specific mobile platform. Just a thought
  • The elusive iPhone 5S packed with a so called iOS7! Yes ma'am! Hopefully Apple has done it's homework and considered thoughts and ideas from all of their respectful sources for iOS7. The current iOS platform, to me, is absolutely wonderful. Everything has a fluid like motion to it. But there is still so much that can be improved and added. Just jailbreak your device for 24 hours and you'll understand. Nevertheless, any direction forward that Apple takes with the iPhone 5S for iPhone 6, I'm sure will be rather refreshing.
  • I'm pretty excited Mr. Ives is working on iOS 7. This should be exciting to see the transition. I guess time will tell this fall. I can't wait.....
  • Apple really needs more Engineers, New and Retention of the old, too many products, too many features, too comparatively few resources. I cant stress enough Apple has spread themselves too thin. Like the tweets last week, Apple doesn't need to move fast and move to the next big thing, they need time and *resources* to tune and evolve their ideas and fix their weakness.
  • The post's title image is interesting.
    It just looks like a trick of the light, but I think the black iPhone 5 would look even better, if it had the same silver sides(not back) as the white version.
  • I am hoping for an event this month for the ios 7 and ipad 5. Then at WWDC, apple can introduce the iphone 5s, more ios 7, os 10.9 and appstore for the apple tv.
  • I wish the roadmap for when new devices are in question were public records. They ought not have full schematics and functionality descriptions, but a concise overview on the company's plan... Now that's something I would love to know!
    Right now there is still a lot of speculation on a cheaper iPhone, iPhone 5s, iOS7, and more and there's a chance it may all just be hogwash!
    I love my iPhone 5 and I may very well be looking for deals to switch my wife to iOS from android for a much more stable experience, but honesty the iPhone 5 launch was somewhat of a let down. Yes there were various factors that I loved about the new device, and using it everyday makes me fall just a little bit more in love with it, but after all the rumours and speculation that surrounded the iPhone 5 release... I couldn't help but be a tad bit disappointed.
    I understand that a company today can't risk making much of its plans public and I certainly understand development delays, software challenges and all, being a programmer myself. But Apple were to throw out a hunk or two right about now, I wouldn't mind that.
    I can't blame Apple entirely here either. Nowadays pretty much every major as well as minor release by every manufacturer is revealed after much speculation and rumours ensue, when they're finally ready to release. And sometimes they're a complete success, and other times there are the negative critics in the mix. Take Microsoft's case into example who did a WP8 conference well before its release and that kinda ticked off many people coz what's the use of showing something when it's not gonna be available pretty much right away.
    But then... Wait a sec! I don't care about anyone else. Apple, if you're listening, Newton's a-calling! Time to hit the competition on the head and make em sweat by previewing a major awesome upgrade to iOS for release later in the year. No exact release date necessary, just preview the sweet thing already!!
    Alas!! Not that you'd listen to a lonely voice like mine and change your entire strategy. At least in the alternate universe where I love to live, I own major stocks in Apple and play a vital role in strategic and marketing decisions, and right about now we just announced a conference to preview iOS 7... fans rejoiced!! ;)
  • Sorry that was not "But Apple were to throw out a hunk or two right about now, I wouldn't mind that." but rather "But if Apple were to throw out a hint or two right about now, I wouldn't mind that." Seriously don't need Apple throwing out Hunks :P p.s. @iMore - Apparently if you write a comment through the iMore app, you can't edit it via the app itself and when you try to edit it via your computer, when you click on the edit button, the editor goes as follows: "This field has been disabled because you do not have sufficient permissions to edit it." Bummer! (Submitting this to site feedback or whatever)
  • Doesn't matter when it ships, so long as it sails!
  • Good one.
  • Well this is getting more interesting, hope they make the bluetooth much better or at least bring nfc
  • Make more features aside from the ui change please!!!
    Go Apple!!!!
  • I hope the fix the App Store. Slow and buggy.
  • It's slow for me on the iPad 3.
  • That's obselete!
  • Kudos. App Store has been finicky of late.
  • They should make this a good one :p even though idont have iphone HAHA
  • I hope iOS 7 will be available for iPhone 4S
  • I have the iPhone 5 and good for me and when the next iPhone cones out I will see but if there is only a upgrade of hardware I will pass on that.
    Fans will buy and should you wait? First nobody knows when it's coming out and how it looks. Most likely it look the same!
  • Notifications! Fix it! I dream of the day I can just live in notification center for all my feed of data.
  • I just don't know if I'm ready to wait another year for a phone like the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy 4s or the soon coming Galaxy Note 3. A year is such a long time for Apple to just catch up with last years hardware. I'm looking hard at the HTC One, that I can have in a few weeks not years!!!!
  • Apple beats the snot out of Samsung hardware, and HTC is on par. Don't confuse hardware with software now.
  • What's wrong with Apple's hardware and what does that have to do with changing iOS 7 UI?
  • I Hope that getting rid of the skeumorphism will help to extend the battery life !
  • I still believe Apple will be releasing the new iPhone in the Fall. There is one major factor that I think other analysts haven't taken into consideration, and that's T-mobile USA. iPhone was always released in the summer (June/July) until the 4s which was released in October 2011. The reason why the 4s was released then was due to the fact that Verizon had just started selling the iPhone earlier that year (January 2011). So I think that it would be a mistake to have T-mobile sell the iPhone 5 in April and then release a new iPhone in 2-3months down the road.
  • It sounds like a race against time. My question is this, are they pulling people to get things into iOS 7 or are they pulling people to be sure things in iOS 7 work? For Apple's and the consumers' sakes I hope it's the latter. I would love to see an even faster iOS with new features that work as featured out of the box. Who knows, maybe Ive isn't just cutting back on skuemorphism(sp?), maybe he's revamping iOS all together. It will be a release worth looking into.
  • apple knows they are slipping if there ios because its boring its been boring for 3yrs straight ....with google and BB and windows ....when they were kicking ppls butts it was fine now they step up there game everyone with there phone are getting and os when googlle comes out with 5.0 KEY LIME PIE ;) yea buddy
  • There is also a possibility that (like Rene said) development for iOS began very early, when John Ive was just the hardware head. And when he was made the head of software division as well, he wanted to make quite some changes to iOS. So maybe, some things were totally scrapped, new things added, older ones polished, possibly and hopefully, a UI overhaul had to be made - all this to keep up with the highly competitive market. And thats why more developers had to be pulled in from OSX just so that they are still able to meet the deadline. :-) I'm running out of patience now... Would love a glimpse of the "actual" iPhone 5S and iOS 7.
  • "or extra engineers have to be added to try and get the same schedule for the same features." One of the key axioms of software development, understood by software engineers since the days when we were called "programmers," is this: "Adding additional people to a late software project will only make it later." Also known as "Brooks' Law" and "The Mythical Man Month, " and first expressed by Fred Brooks in his collection of essays published in 1975. The same idea has also been expressed as "Nine women can't make a baby in one month. Unfortunately, it seems each new generation of managers needs to learn this all over again.
  • I guess this means you should unlock the iphone 4s or 5 you have now ( and get ready to sell it so you can own the iPhone 5s.
  • great material ,for more interesting and awesome uptades about iOS 7 and iphone 6 goto Must visit...i bet you will like it ...
  • Pretty sweet, i wounder what will be new at the galaxy s6.
  • i like the design of Apple iPhone 5s, and waiting for Apple iPhone6, for more information and latest rumors and new must visit