The iOS 7 That Never Was

Earlier this morning, I tweeted to 9to5 Mac’s Mark Gurman that I’ve often wondered what iOS 7 would have been like had the Great Executive Shakeup of 2012 never happened. Scott Forstall would still today be SVP of iOS, and Jony Ive would still just be head of hardware design. In short, the iOS 7 as we know it in beta likely wouldn’t exist.

It’s an interesting question to ponder, I think. What were Forstall’s plans for this next version of iOS before his head met the guillotine? Surely, we’d probably still be wading knee-deep in green felt and faux wooden textures. Notification Center would still be awash in linen. I’m guessing we’d still get new features like Control Center and AirDrop, but that they’d be dressed in hyper-realistic, exuberant Forstall fashion. Maybe Control Center would get some linen, too.

By the same token, I wonder too about how Forstall feels about the iOS that he created —- the one that helped sell millions of devices —- being completely torn down and rebuilt in another vision. Is he happy with the new direction? Bitter? There seem to be few vestiges of the Forstall era left in iOS, and I’d bet he liked his way better —- especially if you consider the purported animosity between he and Jony Ive.

Clearly, the words I’ve just written are pure conjecture on my part. But I think the questions are valid ones insofar that I doubt there’d be such palpable excitement for the new OS had the status quo remained. More importantly, that the old guard would’ve been left standing would almost assuredly have led members of the tech press to douse themselves in gasoline and light a match. Especially after Forstall demoed at WWDC 2013 a linen-clad Control Center.

So while I will undoubtedly miss elements of the “legacy” iOS, and I am undoubtedly excited for this new chapter, I will always be curious as to what could have been. I’ll always be curious for what never was.

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