Why I want a new operating system before a new iPhone [Editorial]

Rumors of a low cost iPhone, or an iPhone 5S of some sort, are all the rage at the moment. Sometimes, I feel not a day goes by where somebody doesn’t make a comment or a prediction about “the next iPhone”. I’m pretty sure that the iPhone 6 rumors started about 2 weeks after the launch of the iPhone 5, and it’s totally ridiculous. iPhone rumors infuriate me so much, that I may have snapped a couple of days ago…


Having got that out of my system, I started thinking about what it was that so infuriated me about iPhone rumors. I’ve come to the conclusion that it may not be the iPhone rumors at all. iPhone rumors are fine, totally normal in fact. We’ve come to expect these rumors as part-and-parcel of Apple’s regular iPhone release schedule. What worries me the most, is that the internet is plagued with iPhone rumors, yet apart from the occasional concept, nobody seems to be bothered about the next iOS.

I am constantly riled by the fact that Apple’s iPhone seems to be getting better and better every year whilst its operating system gets left behind. Granted, Apple releases new operating systems as regularly as it releases iPhones, but the measures taken and improvements added are so minor, that we’ve essentially been using the same operating system for 6 years. Whilst it may be true that in its hayday, iOS was simple and brilliant, today I find it dated and boring. Arguably, iOS has only gotten better since its release with the iPhone in 2007, but I’m starting to get really tired of the same boring home screen, lack of customisability and skeuomorphic apps.

In case you didn’t know what skeuomorphism was, look up. As you can see, these everyday apps have been tailored to visually represent their real-life counterparts, and they look horrendous. Not intrinsically so, but the fact that all these different designs exist within one operating system, makes me feel a little bit sick sometimes…

What makes me even more annoyed, is the total lack of innovation in iOS.

iPhone (Original)

It appears the most frequently used tool in Apple’s iOS design studio is the photocopier. What saddens me the most is that every year, Apple has pumped out the same operating system, whilst developers and enthusiasts alike are creating countless concepts offering fantastic features, exciting designs and improved functionality, and all we can do is say “this looks cool, I wish it was in iOS”.

These changes aren’t even that drastic, which kind of reinforces the notion that Apple really aren’t pushing the boat out when it comes to iOS design.

iOS 7 concept

Take the above for example, a really simply design that allows you to access your music player, and your phone settings settings whilst your phone is locked. The idea essentially exists already, but this implementation is so simple and so effective, that I’d be surprised if a similar feature didn’t make its way into iOS 7.

Along similar lines is this new multitasking concept, which gives you the benefit of a live feed of the apps you’re running, rather than just another thumbnail. Such a feature would allow you to check apps without actually switching to them, a really convenient way of staying up to date with all your iPhone has to offer.

Despite the innovative style of these apps, they still cling to the same, boring iOS design that we’ve lived with forever. That’s why I was totally spellbound by one recent concept in particular. Published by French iFan site iPhonesoft, this iOS 7 concept for iPad brought a new look to iOS so fresh that I may have wet myself.


The concept offers an apps zone, along with widgets and favourites apps, the weather, and some other cool information. Finally, a concept that begins to draw us away from the dreary home screen of iPhone OS, iOS 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


On top of a refreshed home screen is the potential for multiscreen apps, as seen below. Again, this another really fresh feature that brings a whole new functionality to iOS.


Admittedly, this might not work so well on an iPhone, but I’m not here to tell you that the next iOS should look like this. I don’t want it to look like Windows Phone. What I’m trying to say is that Apple needs to change iOS. And it needs to be drastic. Again, I’m not suggesting they completely ditch the roots of iOS, or the principles that makes it so easy to use. All I’m trying to say is that I’m tired of the same old operating system year in and year out. If iOS 7 isn’t a big leap forward, I may find myself looking for a new smartphone solution, and I’m sure many of you will too. Once Apple gets iOS right, then I’ll humor iPhone rumors as much as the next guy, but until then, I will keep pressing this issue with renewed vigour until something gives.

Do you agree? What would you like to see in the next iOS? Or are you happy with iOS as it is? Leave your comments below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @TiP_Stephen



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  • ProductFRED

    All of this is available on Android…
    1. Multi-screen apps are in Touchwiz. 
    2. Pull-up notification drawer is Android 2.1-esque. 
    3. Widgets on homescreen is Android
    4. Thumbnails for running apps is also in Android.
    I’m not trying to insult iOS users or fans by pointing these things out. Just saying that you should consider trying Android (and by Android I mean on a phone with as much value as an iPhone 4S/5, like the GS3, Note 2, etc, not a free-on-contract POS phone). Starting with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, its really gotten good. iOS has polish and is pretty reliable, but like the author said, it’s increasingly living in the past.

  • LoveHarris

    I love your enthusiasm throughout the entire article and have to say I’m actually shocked. I feel the same way, and have been for a very long time now! I’m just surprised to hear someone on a blog nail the topic of discussion as well as you have. It really makes you wonder how fit for the job Scott Forstall was to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, he was great and iOS just worked. But at the same time how much did he really innovate more than what Steve Jobs gave him? If I’m wrong for questioning Scott’s initial ability to perform at Apple’s standard (which is CONSTANT innovation) then anyone whoever thinks that iOS has almost completely stopped innovating for YEARS now, is also wrong. iOS is great. But it’s not Apple-great.

  • LoveHarris

    Anyone who* thinks iOS has not*

  • mereiriz

    Are you kidding? Looks like Android! Don’t like it at all…

  • jayhawk

    I thought your comment that we’ve essentially been using the same OS for 6 years was pretty funny. You are clearly new to the Apple way of doing things. OS X, in its 11 years, has not seen any significant changes. This is the way Apple works — they take baby steps. As far as iOS 7 goes, it is inportant to note that since iOS 6’s release, there is a new executive in charge of iOS (and Ive is now in charge of UI) so we may see some major changes…

  • Joshsamd

    I couldn’t agree with you more! You clearly articulated my growing frustrations with the now dated iOS. Even on the hardware side Apple has stagnated – squandering thier many year lead. Competitors have pushed the envelope with gorgeous new devices, and I finally feel that in the last year Android has done polish and fine-tuning to on thier os to really close the gap. That’s why I’m making the switch. HTC One with Jelly Bean 4.1 here I come!!!

  • danielmontilla

    I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us long time Apple fans are feeling the same way nowadays. When Android was young it was easy to brush them off because of lackluster apps, poor response times, and unreliability, but this past year I’ve been thinking nothing about their features other than, “crap, that actually looks cool…” Wozniak was completely right when he said that loyalty is earned, not given. Google is pulling ahead because google is trying harder. No one who isn’t just blindly biased would be silly enough to deny the contributions in the form of innovation that Apple has brought to mobile OS’s in the past, but the key point of that is the, “in the past.” If they want to hold onto the audience that made them the company they are now they’re really going to have to step it up this year because the Note 3 is coming, and I’ve got my eye on it…

  • Jessie1j6bulx

    @im_an_genius http://t.co/xovXYF3jip

  • kamikaze6rr

    @ProductFRED people say what they want. No phone works as smooth and as well as the iPhone 5. Now is it getting a little boring, maybe. It depends on if you want the excitement of the phone slowing down after constant usage. Android is definitely innovative but at what cost? Performance stability and longevity is important to me. Had the note 2 had the s3. Had the nexus 4 and 7. I am not impressed. Cool. Neat. But just not my iPhone. Believe me I bought each one and used for two weeks as primary phone and it was just not sufficient in one aspect or another. Pick up my iPhone and enjoy a sigh of relief as the phone does as I need when I need and without hiccup. Yeah it doesn’t have some of the newer features that the note 2 had but I don’t miss them either. All of the innovation appears to be novelty items but not deal breakers. Everyone agrees that iOS needs an overhaul but patience awards a worthwhile upgrade. Not buggy crap.

  • 17een

    @acchuang nuclear battery and pony

  • acchuang

    @17een say what?!

  • 17een

    @acchuang it’s the tweet from that article rumor for iPhone 12

  • acchuang

    @17een haha…yeah nuclear

  • DB

    We’ve been using the same OS for 6 years? I guess then I’ve been using the same OS on my Macs for nearly 10 years! Wrong and wrong…though I did really use the same OS on my PC for more than 6 years. There’s a huge difference between my using WinXP for more than 6 years and using iOS since I got my iPhone.
    Apple’s incremental approach suits me fine. Give me a stable, secure, and easy to use iPhone. I’m happy to let the android crew have their feature-tastic mess.

  • jonahlamon

    Jailbreak + iPhone = perfect phone

  • waysofworld86

    This guys who wrote this blog needs some WIDGETS Apple get this man some dam WIDGETS!!!! 1 suggestion NEXUS 4 been using it for a month now not one crash or freeze. And you can add photos of your mom & dad on the home screens.

  • Mark Astle

    I share your pain.
    iOS is looking incredibly dated. The current look came in about ten years ago with the first iteration of osx and it hasn’t really moved on. Glass bubbles and metal textures are history – Windows 8 looks beautiful in comparison. And Apple also choose to ignore really simple flaws in their OS (email handling still really isn’t good for instance) while forcing upon us stupid calendars that look like real paper or the risible GameCenter.
    I remember system 7. It was quick, simple and just worked. And it looked good too. I wasn’t keen on OSX when it came in but I eventually embraced it. It was new and different, and worked well (eventually). But that was a LONG time ago. And really it hasn’t changed in all that time. However good the new phone is, it doesn’t feel new because it’s running the same old UI. And it looks worse now than it did when it first came out because of the horrible disparate 3d icons and differences between the way the apps look and operate. They’re like modern planning departments – all about the technical detail with seemingly no interest in the aesthetic.
    They need a strong creative director in charge of how things look. They should be beautiful as well as working well, like the first iMac. I hate the look of my homescreen now. I look at my mate’s Galaxy SIII or Surface tablet and I get jealous.
    Thing is, if they release a new iOS that’s as revolutionary as we want it to be, it’ll make the phone feel like a new phone. And nobody would buy the actual new phone.

  • intrr

    So, what did you think of iOS 7 in the end?