iOS 7 will be the seventh major mobile operating system update developed by Apple. While nothing has been confirmed by the tech giants, it's almost a foregone conclusion that Apple will be releasing iOS 7 sometime during 2013. But when exactly will iOS 7 be released, what features will the mobile operating system have, and how will it impact the always-developing smartphone landscape? Let's sort some of the biggest rumors regarding iOS 7. Remember: iOS 7 news is constantly changing, so make sure to come back because we'll be updating this post constantly.
1. We May See iOS 7 As Soon As June 2013 at WWDC 2013
WWDC 2013, Apple's annual developers conference, is when Apple usually unveils some major products. Last year, at WWDC 2012, Apple introduced iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, two major software updates. Since, historically, Apple tries to follow an annual refresh cycle, WWDC 2013 would be an ideal time to reveal iOS 7.
2. Scott Forstall's Out, Jony Ive's In
Last November, Apple fired Scott Forstall, one of the highest-ranking executives in the company and the man who has been involved in the development of the iPhone since the beginning. Now, Jony Ive is now in charge of iOS (and all software) development, and he has been lauded as a innovative and creative leader. Analysts are anticipating that iOS 7 could be very different with Ive leading the charge.
3. We Could See a Lot of New Features...
Analysts are hypothesizing that Apple will introduce a number of major, innovative, changes to iOS with iOS 7. Among them include a better email application — now that Mailbox has not only gotten a lot of critical attention, but sold for $100 million a month after the app went public — and automatic app updates, according to ZDNet.
4. But iOS 7 May Not Be Much of a Game-Changer
Even with Ive leading iOS development, Business Insider reports that iOS 7 may not be as game-changing as we are anticipating. BI cites a recent John Gruber podcast with Guy English, a well-known iOS developer and Apple insider. In the podcast, English said, "Just the way product planning works and time lines, there's no way they're rebooting all of iOS 7 after Forstall left. Maybe iOS 8 will be interesting, but iOS 7 will be less of a leap than many people are hoping for."
5. It Will Probably Be Released Alongside the iPhone 5S
The iPhone 5S is rumored to be coming in the second half of 2013. Most likely, Apple will publicly release iOS 7 alongside a new flagship device to increase hype and media coverage. Apple used a similar tactic with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. iOS 6 was announced at WWDC 2012 but was available to the public when the iPhone 5 was released three months later.
6. There Will Be a "Siri-Esque" Feature
According to recent reports, the Apple is worried about the plethora of features Samsung has implemented in the new Galaxy S4 and will introduce a "game-changing" feature with the iPhone 5S and iOS 7. They've done this before, with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5: Apple introduced both iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S at the same time and heavily promoted Siri as a revolutionary and very innovative new feature available only for the iPhone 4S. Siri became a huge draw for Apple, and surely the company hopes a similar strategy will pay off again.
7. It Needs to be Groundbreaking
iOS has been heavily criticized, most recently by Blackberry CEO Thorston Heins, as lacking innovation and creativity. While the operating system works flawlessly, it seems like users and analysts alike are getting bored with the lack of changes Apple has been making to iOS. A breath of fresh air could help rejuvenate Apple's stagnant operating system.
8. It Will Be Closely Integrated with OS X
According to experts, Apple will increase the integration between iOS and the Mac operating system, OS X. They started this with iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, by adding features like iCloud and the Notification Center to OS X to easily sync articles and get notifications from Mail, Twitter, Facebook and iMessage. iMessage is another example of increased integration between the mobile and desktop operating systems. iMessage, the app formerly known as iChat, got a huge update and now receives iMessages sent from mobile devices as well as regular instant-messaging chats.
9. It Will Have a High Adoption Rate
The iOS 6 adoption rate among iDevices, including the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, the iPad 3 and 4, and iPod Touch devices, was record breaking. Within just three days of the official release, over 22 percent of iDevices upgraded to iOS 6. The speed with which Apple devices get updates is one of the biggest advantages the operating system has over Android. Due to fragmentation issues, Android devices could get updates months after other devices, leaving some Android users in the dust. Interestingly, the iOS 6 adoption rate still set records even though the Apple Maps debacle led to a large number of users boycotting iOS 6. Expect iOS 7 to have a similar adoption rate, even if it doesn't have many new features.
10. It (Along with the iPhone 5S) Could Help Apple's Slumping Stock Price
As we wrote before, the combination of the iPhone 5S and iOS 7 could help Apple's stock price, which has fallen precipitously over the past few months. The hype and anticipation among users and the media surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was unprecedented, and Apple's stock price reached record highs. While Apple may not be able to reach the same levels, the iPhone 5S and iOS 7 should be able to give Apple's stock a strong boost during the weeks and months prior to the official release of both the device and software update.