No one can deny the huge impact that the original Apple iPhone had on the mobile phone industry. Before the iPhone was launched in 2007, the mobile phone industry was dominated by featurephones, and smartphones were relegated to a niche market—business users and technology nerds.
With the release of the iPhone, Apple created a unique, sleek and powerful piece of hardware with an intuitive and easy to use operating system. The iPhone was one of the first devices to elegantly combine web, phone and entertainment into a single convergence device that could appeal to the general population. It was a game changing device at the time, and it served as a wakeup call to other phone manufacturers—the industry was changing.
Fast forward four years and iOS has become a polished, and feature rich mobile operating system. Almost every feature that was previously missing from iOS including copy and paste, multitasking, folders, wallpapers etc. have been added with each new iteration of iOS. The issue however is that its seems as though Apple has lost its strive to innovate and has simply become satisfied with continuing to polish and refine iOS and add features. It is almost as if Apple has a list of features that a phone should have in front of them, and with each new version of iOS they simply put a check mark next to a couple more.
If you compare the initial version of iOS to iOS 4—there has been a massive leap in functionality and features, but the core experience has largely stayed the same. After sliding to unlock, the user is still presented with a four by four grid of icons with an application dock at the bottom. Sure iOS has nearly every feature a customer could expect from a mobile phone OS, but therein lies the problem—Apple is simply meeting consumer expectations and is no longer trying to exceed them and define what users should expect from a mobile device.
What is the solution? Apple needs to stop playing it safe and shake the foundations that iOS was built upon. A reinvention of iOS is no easy task—as it has such a huge install base and track record of success. That being said, Apple demonstrated with the original iPhone that they are capable of creating a device and operating system that is ahead of its time and truly innovative. Apple needs to recapture that past revolutionary spirit and deliver a mobile operating system that is fundamentally different, and changes what the industry and consumers expect from a modern smartphone.