The iPhone 5S release will arrive with a killer feature that may be part of iOS 7, according to an analyst who believes such a feature will deliver value to Apple users without the need for an early iPhone 6 release.
Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley appeared on CNBC’s Fast Money Halftime Report to weigh in on Apple and what the company has planned for the iPhone 5S.
The most interesting part of Huberty’s rundown on Apple is her opinion that Apple will deliver a killer feature for the iPhone 5S not with hardware updates, but by way of an iOS 7 update that could also deliver the new feature to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.
Apple is widely expected to deliver the iPhone 5S this year with minimal design and spec updates, which would necessitate a killer iOS 7 feature to headline the show, similar to Siri on the iPhone 4S. While Siri is a love it or hate it iPhone feature, there’s no doubt that it helped fuel excitement and sales of the iPhone 4S. Huberty is the source of the minimal design update rumor as well.
iPhone 5S & iOS 7 Killer Feature
Barron’s reports Huberty’s transcript from the program,
…they own AAPL for innovation. You saw the Samsung [Electronics(005930KS)] Galaxy S4 come out last week, that shows you the innovation cards are up for grabs. What is lacking in that product [the S4] is a killer feature. We think that’s where Apple will surprise this year. This [iPhone] 5S cycle this year will be about a killer feature that drives consumers increasingly to the platform, and that increases the value of those 500 million accounts.
Based on Huberty’s comments, Morgan Stanley’s position is that Apple doesn’t an iPhone 6 this year. Instead the company can count on a software feature that will arrive as part of iOS 7 to deliver enough reason to upgrade. This un-named software feature would also give Apple the ammo it needs to keep the iPhone 5S competitive with the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The comment that this feature, “increases the value of those 500 million accounts.” points to a software feature that would arrive on more than just the iPhone 5S. It would be a far stretch to argue that the a new iPhone 5S feature would increase the value of all the other iPhone users if it did not also arrive on some recent devices.
Huberty does not delve into what the possible killer feature may be. It’s not likely the rumored fingerprint reader under the home button, but it could be a mobile wallet app that uses this for added security on the new iPhone. This offers the best hope of a new feature, based on recent rumors, but is an iPhone 5S wallet app and mobile payment support a killer feature?
There’s also the possibility of a eye tracking on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, but based on Huberty’s dismissal of the Galaxy S4 features this seems to fall outside the definition of a killer feature. The same goes for rumors of built-in wireless charging.
iOS 7 Overhaul to Deliver the Killer Feature?
The bigger story may be a complete overhaul of iOS 7. In late October 2012, iOS head Scott Forstall resigned, placing the control of iOS and iOS 7 in the hands of Johnny Ive.
Many insiders believe Johnny Ive will dramatically change iOS, cutting out the leather stitching and skeuomorphic design users see throughout iOS 5 and iOS 6 as well as many stock Apple apps.
There is hope that Ive will be able to deliver a radically redesigned iOS 7 that excites users with new looks and features, but this too could be a stretch.
Just as it is tough for Google to deliver a ‘wow’ phone shortly after buying Motorola, Ive is faced with the problem of coming into a major iOS release mid-stream. This may limit what Ive and his following can do with iOS 7. iOS 7 may arrive this summer at WWDC, which is normally where Apple shows off a new version of their software.
It’s possible some of the iOS 7 concepts we’ve seen will come to life to help spruce up iOS 7. But according to iOS Developer Guy English, speaking on the Daring Fireball podcast, iOS 7 won’t be radically different.
iPhone 6 is the Real Killer
The iPhone 6 is arguably the iphone to wait for and offers a much better chance at delivering a killer feature than the iPhone 5S, based on current rumors.
We’ve heard that the iPhone 6 could feature built-in wireless charging and that a new design could help Apple build in support for items like a larger display, no home button and NFC support.
The downside of Apple’s big-small update cycle is that the ‘S’ version of the iPhone is rarely as exciting as new hardware that comes from something like the rumored iPhone 6 release.