Apple’s announcement this week that it has rejigged its senior management team might seem like a business story of little interest to tech fans.
But to dismiss these changes as simply boardroom shuffling would miss the fact that Apple has just begun building towards a major reshaping of its products, especially iOS.
The mobile OS that wowed the world almost six years ago has become a colossus.
But its design feels dated and it’s been at the centre of some telling failures in recent months, especially Apple Maps.
Android’s dominance is secure and while Windows Phone 8 might not be doing the numbers, it’s a cut above the competition in terms of look and feel.
The fact that Scott Forstall the man behind iOS’s initial development and the more recent Maps and Siri launches has been shown the door shows Apple really means business.
Forstall apparently refused to sign Apple’s Maps apology letter, which was published earlier this year, and reports have surfaced that he was an enduringly unpopular member of the senior Apple team.
But what does this mean for iOS in 2013 and beyond?
With Jony Ive, the British designer so key to Cupertino’s huge success in the past ten years, now in charge of ‘Human Interaction’ the whole way in which iOS works could be about to undergo a major change.
Ive will be looking at software design in the same detailed way in which he designs Apple’s hardware.
That’s hugely exciting and could really put Apple on a path towards some serious innovation when it comes to revealing iOS 7 to the world next summer.
Throw in the news that Siri and Maps will now be looked after by the same team behind the huge success of iTunes, iBooks, iCloud and the App Store, and there’s also every chance that these services, by turns suffering from low take-up and atrocious attention of detail, could be up to speed very soon.
Apple will never admit it, but recent results, which have seen a slow down in iPad sales and worse-than-expected profits, have stung badly.
Google’s massive success with Android is obviously hurting it badly and this is its attempt to consolidate its still-strong position in the smartphone and tablet spaces.
Putting Ive in a position to wield more influence on iOS could mean that 2013 will see some truly next-level developments. Apple needs it and the smartphone sector demands it.