Everything goes through a lifecycle, and operating systems are no different. They start out as new and fresh and full of possibilities and go through an explosive phase of stratospheric growth.
This is the exciting period.
But going along with that growth are the inevitable teething troubles or bugs and problems and sleepless nights.
And that's fine, because things are new and exciting and the effect that those bugs have are limited to early adopters who are willing to put up with the headaches as part of the price of being an early adopter.
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But as operating systems mature, things need to settle down, and become more stable, moving away from snazzy new features, and instead focusing on minor improvements, tweaks, performance improvements, and a few new features here and there.
The more people are using – and relying – on code, the more conservative changes need to be.
Oh, and poaching ideas from others.
Bloomberg claims to have the scoop on what's upcoming in iOS 13, scheduled for unveiling at the keynote speech at WWDC in June. What's interesting is how hard it is to get excited about what's coming in the new release.
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Here's the potted version:
- Bug fixes
- Performance tweaks
- UI tweaks
- Dark mode feature
- Swipe support for the iOS keyboard
- New additions to the Health app
- Native support to use an iPad as a second screen for a Mac
- Reminders revamp
- Parental controls added to Screen Time
- Apple Books revamp
- iMessage revamp
- Maps revamp
- Mail revamp
- Find my Friends and Find my iPhone to be combined into a single app, and add beacon support similar to the third-party Tile system
- New Sleep Mode feature to combine aspects of Do Not Disturb and Night Shift blue light reduction features
- Improved multitasking on the iPad
There are quite a few ideas in this listing that have been poached from – or inspired by – others. The beacon system is clearly a move into Tile's territory. Adding native support to use the iPad as a second screen is a move that will sweep a number of apps into the grave. And adding swipe support to the iOS keyboard is inspired by Android.
Apple is clearly looking for inspiration as to what to add to new iOS releases.
Question is, is there anything wrong with this?
Not really. Yes, it might be seen as predatory, and might make some developers nervous, but it is how the world works.
Given the size of the iOS ecosystem – over 1.4 billion active devices – it makes sense why Apple is playing safe and not just pushing all sorts of weird, revolutionary, random stuff onto iPhones and iPads. That's the sort of thing that turns into a massive mess quickly (think about how much of a big deal even minor iOS bugs are now that the ecosystem is as big as it is).
Apple is playing it safe. And that makes perfect sense.