Apple’s latest earnings are out, and people are howling. Theories abound, predictions are flying. Analysts are scratching their heads. It’s time to shakedown the company’s core—right? Nowhere in tech is there a more divisive topic; is the company in trouble? Is Apple the new RIM?
One thing is for sure: mass hysteria has struck the pleasant pastures of Cupertino. So what’s next?
Apple’s massively impressive stock has fallen significantly since reaching an all time high last September. But with increasing pressure from Samsung and wonderfully excellent devices like the Nexus 7, it was only a matter of time before Apple sales started to slow. Really, it’s no surprise, even though the company is still dominating stateside carriers, and still breaking records—yet performing under expectations.
There are plenty of opinions about what should happen next. My best and biggest suggestion? Inject iOS was some new life. That’s all I got—nothing that hasn’t already been suggested. Do that—without alienating users with a comprehensive sweep across the board—and confidence will be restored. Life will resume. Birds will sing. Fairies will stop losing their wings.
I’ve been handling iOS since the iPhone 4, before Siri was a defining feature. During my time with the platform, the only significant update has been notifications, and even that is ho-hum at this point. We want more, Apple. More features, more tricks and more convenience. Stop relying on developers to push your platform forward. Take charge.
We’ve already seen some shining examples of how widgets should be handled on iOS. Personally, I could go either way with widgets. I use a Nexus 4 as a secondary handset, and the only widget I do use is the calendar, which actually came in real handy during CES. I understand the value of widgets, and would certainly welcome them on Apple’s platform. If they don’t show up in iOS 7? Not a huge dealbreaker for me.
It would be nice to see some form of Live Tile implementation—at the very least for the weather icon. For that matter, let’s revamp how iOS handles multitasking. Here’s how the company can do it. Here are a few more suggestions on how Apple can revamp iOS and make its stale platform seem fresh.
But that’s not really what I’d like to see most. If Apple wants to really take a leap forward, show us that it can still bring innovative features to consumers, the company needs to introduce something like Google Now. That is, by far, Android’s biggest weapon, and will be a huge driving force once Jelly Bean lands on more devices. It’s why I would switch from iOS.
Popular because it’s cheap accusations aside, Android has developed into an incredibly well rounded OS, and Google Now is the pinnacle. It’s the ultimate in convenience, and something I take advantage of on a daily basis to check traffic, scores and to see what events are nearby.
What’s special about Google Now is that—voice search is wonderful, as we’ve said before—it constantly populates important information without much effort from the user. If I want to see how long it’ll take me to get home at any point during the day, I just swipe from the bottom up and Google Now will tell me. It’ll also tell me that the Lakers beat the Thunder last night, and that sunny weather is expected this entire week. The sports cards are nice, and so is the week’s weather forecast. But the system tells you when you need to leave for an appointment with current traffic in consideration. That’s a huge help, especially when you have important meetings to get to, and improves the experience so much over time. It even learned the route I take from work to my girlfriend’s house, so now it gives me commute times to and from there.
It’ll give me other information I need, too, such as flight times, movies, shipment tracking, translation and more. It’ll even tell me how far I’ve walked or cycled throughout the month. It’s effortless—it makes the experience entirely my own, summarizing chaos into neatly designed little squares. I don’t need to jump into multiple apps to get information. Google Now displays it all for me.
Apple needs this. In Google’s expansive portfolio, it is the company’s most lethal weapon. Sure, it needs improvement, but it’s an enormous paradigm shift in the smartphone landscape. If Apple can implement its own version, a pre-emptive, all-knowing system that tells you what you want without asking, iOS will be back on the same plane as Android.
That’s not to say iOS is in particularly bad shape. Developers are still picking the OS over Android, and apps on iOS are still better—Instagram is one big example. But to forge ahead, Apple needs its own Google Now in iOS 7, or something similar.
Google Now isn’t perfect, but it’s better than anything iOS has. It’s the kind of big feature Apple should think about introducing when we see iOS 7 this summer, because Siri just isn’t cutting it.