Apple’s new operating system, iOS7

By Magda David Hercheui

Apple’s announcements are to impact in the digital industry, from the perspective of companies and consumers. NMK members have sent their contribution to the debate.

It is big news

Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, a consultancy in business and technology, has emphasised that iOS 7 is easily the biggest news, because it represents a massive overhaul of the look and feel of the operating system, which has remained largely unchanged visually since the original version. Jan Dawson has said:

“The new version is almost unrecognizable, which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness. Finding your Settings app is hard when the icon has totally changed, and the many people who easily get disoriented by their gadgets may well have a negative experience. On the other hand, this is a clear statement from Apple that it acknowledges the need to refresh the user interface and is willing to do something pretty dramatic.

"Many of the new features Apple added to iOS 7 are fixes to problems rather than dramatic or clever new ideas – Notifications, Siri, and Multitasking enhancements and the introduction of Control Center all deal with deficiencies rather than providing surprising new features no-one would have thought of. The fact that neither iOS 7 isn’t coming until the fall is a disappointment from a user perspective, but the delay is necessary to give developers time to rework their apps to take advantage of the new operating system and fit in visually.

“The Mavericks desktop OS is a good upgrade, which continues with the iOS-ification of the Mac OS. The addition of Maps and iBooks and iOS integration for Notifications, Maps and other features are signs that Apple sees iOS as the future paradigm for all its operating systems, and it is driving a slow convergence towards that reality.

“The new MacBook Airs are further evidence that for all that competitors copy the look of Apple’s computers, Apple itself is still ahead in terms of performance. The battery life improvements put it way ahead of other players in this space, and even when competitors start to adopt Intel’s Haswell hardware, they will struggle to match the overall performance.

“The new Mac Pro feels like another sign that Apple is abandoning its hardcore creative users in favor of mainstream users. Even though the new Mac Pro looks very different and stylish, the smaller size means that additional hard drives and other hardware will have to sit outside the enclosure. This feels like a poor tradeoff considering that most of these computers sit under, rather than on, desks in video editing and advertising firms around the world.”

Discussing Apple’s new operating system, Vanessa Barnett, Technology & Media Partner at City Law Firm Charles Russell, said: "This is a key moment for Apple, I would dub it The Rise of The Ive. Sir Jonathan, as we Brits should call him, has taken iOS7 and given it a real kick into the future. It is an operating system evolution that combines both beauty and functionality, which is what Apple does best. Since the death of Steve Jobs there has been much ‘can they, can’t they’ chatter about Apple. The keynote yesterday proves they still have what it takes. But the markets appear to be not convinced, or perhaps not convinced yet – there has been no uptick in the share price. Is this because Apple has stalled or because each time there’s a keynote, we expect so much more of Apple than others? I suggest the latter."

Pandora are the most likely to be affected by iTunes Radio

As part of the keynote at Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) yesterday, the company announced the launch of music streaming service iTunes Radio. Martin Scott, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, comments:

“iTunes Radio has more in common with Pandora and than Spotify. Apple’s service may have been launched several years behind the competition, but it benefits from promoting the service directly to 575 million iTunes accounts, many of which are associated with credit card details – Apple is banking on consumers then buying tracks.

“In addition, it brings a great recommendations engine – iTunes Genius, which has logged its users’ complete iTunes library (not just the tunes that they play) for the last five years and yields rich customised playlists. iTunes Radio extends this experience outside of the limitations of one person’s music library.

“Finally, the greatest impact will be felt by Pandora One. Pandora reported 2.5 million paying subscribers at the end of March 2013, many of which may feel that Apple’s new free service sufficiently caters for their needs. Spotify may be relatively secure as it offers a playlist-based, not just radio-based, service.”

Jan Dawson, from Ovum, consider the iTunes less disruptive though: "iTunes Radio as a Pandora clone is a lot less disruptive than a Spotify clone would have been. This is a nice free feature that lots of people will probably try out, but existing Pandora users won’t have much reason to switch, especially as the service is still ad-supported unless you have an iTunes Match subscription. What would be really disruptive is a service that allowed you to call up specific songs on demand as you can with Spotify, but that would likely have disrupted Apple’s existing iTunes business, and the music industry as a whole, too much. ”

About the author

Dr. Magda David Hercheui is a senior lecturer at Westminster Business School. She lectures on information management, project management and digital innovation. She is a researcher on social media, virtual communities and collaboration, and a consultant in her area of expertise. Magda has also been the editor of New Media Knowledge since 2009.  

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