Will iOS 7 Be Popular?

When I write popular, I don’t mean in the techmeme indy-app eco-bubble, but in terms of the hoi poloi. I think about my “non-techy” friends and family who are all now on iOS (5 and 6 with lots of 4’s and 4s’ still in my circles) and who still have their 1st page of apps set with the default app that shipped with the phone.

I’m not so sure that sentiments like this will be true in the general market:

Aside from a technological standpoint, I think the most important factor to consider is that users cant wait to get their hands on iOS 7. The new version is a major change, and – at least based on my survey of non-geeky friends – I suspect that more people will upgrade more quickly than last year the launch of iOS 6 surely wasnt helped by doubts surrounding Maps.

via iOS 7 Apps and Aggressive Adoption.

While people like to claim that Google is the new Microsoft and Android is the new Windows, I think a little of the reverse is true.

iOS as it has pretty much looked for the last five years is a staid classic. It is the Windows XP of mobile operating systems while Android has gone on ahead slowly-but-surely building on the back of Linux in much the same way OSX built on the Unix desktop.

While Microsoft released Longhorn Vista and the excellent Windows 7 and the disaster of Windows 8, it almost took an act of Congress to get my family and friends away from Win XP and on to more current architecture.

Many of them eschewed Windows 8 because it was so radically different in the public chatterspace (even though it really isn’t) and I see more and more Macs or Chromebooks now.

iOS 7 has the very real possible future ahead of being “too different” from “what just worked.”

While I love Ive’s aesthetic and Apple’s “we know what’s best for you” design ethos, I’m not so sure that iOS 7’s radical color palate, icon design and gaussian blurs (having used iOS 7 for a few weeks for app development myself) will be a hit in the flyover states.

This is a critical time for Apple and iOS. The launch of iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s and/or 5c (and a retina iPad mini?) come at a time of a literal onslaught of excellent Android devices (Nexus 7, Samsung S4, HTC One, LG G2, possible Nexus 5) and Windows Phones (that Lumia one has a pretty nifty camera at least). Contracts are timing out with the release and people are going to be wondering if now’s the time to make a switch… to iOS 7 or something else.

Should be an interesting October.

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