Marco Arment: Apple sets fire to iOS; immense opportunity arrives with iOS 7

“One of my favorite patterns in our industry is when the old and established are wiped out by disruption, irrelevance, or changing fashions,” Marco Arment blogs for Marco.org. “Like a forest fire, clearing out the old is very destructive and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But what’s left behind is a clean slate and immense opportunity.”

“I don’t think we’ve ever had such an opportunity en masse on iOS,” Arment writes. “After what we saw of iOS 7… I believe this fall, we’ll get our chance… iOS 7 is different. It isn’t just a new skin: it introduces entirely new navigational and structural standards far beyond the extent of any previous UI changes. Existing apps can support iOS 7 fairly easily without looking broken, but they’ll look and feel ancient.”

Arment writes, “Apple has set fire to iOS. Everything’s in flux. Those with the least to lose have the most to gain, because this fall, hundreds of millions of people will start demanding apps for a platform with thousands of old, stale players and not many new, nimble alternatives. If you want to enter a category that’s crowded on iOS 6, and you’re one of the few that exclusively targets iOS 7, your app can look better, work better, and be faster and cheaper to develop than most competing apps.”

“This big of an opportunity doesn’t come often — we’re lucky to see one every 3–5 years,” Arment writes. “Anyone can march right into an established category with a huge advantage if they have the audacity to be exclusively modern.”

Read more in the full article here.

29 Comments

  1. Um, what? Exclusively targeting iOS 7? Is he mistaking it for the new iPhone? Because it’s not. It’s the same iOS, just updated, and it will run on hardware back to the iPhone 4. Maybe he misspoke or I misunderstood, but part of the allure of the iPhone has been pretty strong backward compatibility, and a developer that eschews that sacrifices a lot of paying customers.

    That said, I supposed that some developers can emulate some of the new design language or APIs, but I’d hate to see all developers go ‘soft color’ and flat on us. The new aesthetic has yet to win me over, although I do like a lot of the changes in functionality.

    1. Uggh. The developer preview sucks on CDMA iPhone 4.
      I’ve had the phone reboot 3 times in the last 24 hours. Apps crash, including Apples own apps like “Podcasts”.
      The interface is lethargic on iPhone 4.
      Apps set to quit on suspend are still shown (this problem has persisted from iOS 6).

      This is the first preview I have to uninstall and go back to a previous version. In the past I’ve been able to live with the bugs. This initial preview is just plain unusable.

    2. The master of backwards compatibility is M$. Apple has maintained some backward compatibility but does not hold on to it like M$. For example, iPad 1 is DOA and it is only 3 yrs old. My website, I hate to admit, relies on a DOS exe file that runs on D-O-S and still runs on Win8. That’s about a 30 years span. Can anyone run a 30 yr old Mac app on new hardware? NO!

      The allure of the iPhone is NOT backward compatibility. SJ Apple looks thru the windshield, not the rear view mirror. Maybe it’s time to flush out the App Store, too.

      1. I don’t know about ‘thin lettering’ being supposedly cool; Apple are using Helvetica Neue, introduced in 1983, which makes it forty years old this year, and Helvetica was introduced in 1957, which hardly makes it ‘cool’. One of its design characteristics is a tall x-height, which makes smaller sizes more readable.
        I’ve always preferred to use Helvetica as a text body type, if using san-serif, just because its so much more readable.
        But maybe that’s just the typographer part of me talking.

      1. Dude, are you insane?
        It’s a developer preview, it’s not supposed to be bug free nor guarantee backwards app compatibility at this stage.
        It is for the developers to get a jump start on their apps before it is released to the public. (at which time, presumably

    1. I would love to know if the old iOS “search” screen (via swipe left, click from home) is gone, gone, gone in iOS7? I am constantly irritated by this useless (to me) so-called *feature* that cannot be turned off. It’s my lone beef against buying another iPhone, but a big one, as it drives me nuts.

  2. Always been a mystery to me how supposedly identical technological items behave totally differently with the same software installed. When they say something is magical I begin to think they really mean we are still living in an age of magic where logic is an ever moving target and only the right spells work. Wheres J. K. Rowling when you need her.

  3. Well, if he’s right and excitement builds over the Tim Cook look of iOS, then by the time it can be installed on our phones, pads, and pods every plastic gadget made by every Apple competitor will have copied it. So, where’s the advantage here. Millions tossing aside their pop culture laden toys and buying some of Tim’s. Sure, that’s going to happen and Apple will be its new, old self again.

    Investors, who I’m reminded Apple doesn’t care about, aren’t buying it. Apple’s customers, who are the ones they do care about (really?) will celebrate because they are lemmings but nothing much more will come of this. Tim will keep touting sales numbers, profits, cash horde and Wall Street will see more of the same.

    Maybe someone will take a picture of a yet-to-be-famous person giving the finger to Apple’s logo. That’s where we are.

  4. Johnny, congrats you wiped out Apple’s reputation as the premier innovator to the most pathetic copycat and hypocrite company.

    All with one effective move.

    Brilliant.

    1. So, Mcmoron, who, exactly, is Apple supposed to be copying? Windows Phone? There’s no graphic resemblance between that and iOS.
      Android? You’ve obviously just arrived from North Korea, the news blackout would explain the fact that you have missed all the articles on here about how Google changed the design of Android from a slavish copy of the Blackberry OS to a slavish copy of iOS as soon as the iPhone hit the market in 2007.
      Or else you’re just another fuckwit troll.

  5. This article only make sense to those that have created custom controls and interfaces in their apps. Anyone who stuck with Apple’s built-in controls will immediately get all the new stuff. No need for developers to rebuild and resubmit the app. Any person who updates to the new OS will see the changes in the apps they already have installed.

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