iOS 7 has hit the headlines in recent days, thanks to a sharp new concept video and gossip about the much-anticipated software being delayed.
Jony Ive and his team have apparently had to bring over OS X engineers to help them realise a bold new vision for Apple’s tired mobile operating system.
So, what changes does iOS need to give it back that missing edge? Here are our five must-haves.
1 Live app information
Windows Phone nails this, as does Facebook’s new Home app launcher for Android.
Serving up live info from apps solves having to tap through to get the latest information, whether it’s the weather, new tweets or contact changes.
Obviously, iOS’s small icons present difficulties, but bringing up a small widget, as detailed in this week’s ace concept video by F Bianco, could solve that issue.
It’d certainly stop us having to open up countless apps all the time.
2 A beefed-up iMessage
iMessage, for all its promise of a unified messaging solution, has been something of a damp squib.
WhatsApp eclipses it and its average looks feel like part of a wider software malaise within Cupertino (see Siri and Maps).
Apple could use a BlackBerry Hub-style unified messaging platform, collating Facebook messages and updates, tweets, texts and emails.
It’s the future and surely Jony Ive knows it.
3 Improved homescreen layout
That iOS home screen looked so futuristic back in 2007. But a few tweaks and customisable wallpapers aside, little has changed with its design in that time.
A fresh approach is needed, one where we don’t just have endless screens of apps or folders.
There has to be a smarter way, with full-on launchers for groups of related apps and homescreens for different services.
Basically, it needs to take stock Android as its guide in this instance.
4 Fingerprint scanning
This may be focused solely on the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, but fingerprint scanning feeds into the wider issue of iPhone security.
Its four-number code system is not exactly foolproof and scanning tech could put iOS 7 well ahead of the pack.
It’d also give Apple a much-needed innovation fillip, with the chance to crow about how much more secure its handset is than rival efforts.
5 Maps 2.0
Obvious, yes, but the heavily criticised Maps still needs huge improvements. Locations need to be more detailed, POIs updated and usability addressed.
Six months on, this is still a debacle that defines iOS 6. Maps needs root and branch reform, with more people working to ensure its back end stays up to the minute.