Sooner rather than later we hope, Apple will release its latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, into the wild. For what it's worth, our money is on iOS 7 coming to the UK around 18:00 BST today, and we're as eager as the next fanboy to get our paws on Apple's radically re-imagined mobile platform.
There should be little doubt that iOS 7 represents one of Apple's most pronounced updates in recent memory, with everything from the 'flattened' aesthetic to new Siri functionality and noticeably tweaked camera features set to impact high street punters and IT professionals in equal measure.
No tribe will be more affected by iOS 7 and its myriad changes than those who actually write programmes for Apple devices. To get a better idea of just what iOS 7 means for developers, we heard from Ben Reed, head of technology at enterprise app specialist Mubaloo. Here's what he had to say.
What does iOS 7 really mean?
"iOS 7 reveals that Apple is unlikely to adopt NFC technology. With the introduction of iBeacon and AirDrop, Apple is quietly building the foundations for more intelligent, and more secure methods of mobile payment. It started with Passbook last year and continues behind the scenes. This is still an area that hasn't received any major push from Apple, suggesting that they are quietly building it up and letting users educate themselves."
Watch this space...
"iBeacons hasn't had a huge amount of focus from Apple, however the buzz within the developer community is enormous. Any iOS device capable of supporting iOS 7 will instantly become capable of interacting with iBeacons. This could not only have a massive impact on advertising campaigns but also lead to a huge amount of innovation for tours, retail experiences and even expand into the enterprise market for sales and event based apps primarily."
The app experience
"If bugs need to be fixed, apps now need to support iOS 7. Apps that have been built well in the first place will continue to work. In our experience, it's only apps that had issues with their build quality that suffer. If you want to deliver the best experience for users though, making the updates will ensure that apps look best running iOS 7. If brands have apps that haven't been updated for some time, now may be the time to either kill them or look at ways that they can be updated. The new features and new design will breath new life into apps."
"Android is the top consumer platform. It's great for SMEs who aren't as restricted by device choice as large corporates or the public sector, yet without the support of Samsung KNOX or MDM solutions, it still presents risks with malware. This didn't stop Windows from becoming the dominant player of course, but we live in a different world than we did then.BlackBerry may still have a stronghold in the enterprise, but users will have a personal Android or iOS device too. Is iOS perfect for the enterprise? No, but it is far more robust and far more secure with far more productivity opportunities than any other platform. Importantly, it's also the platform executives want."
"The features of iOS 7 are a no brainer for the enterprise market. From a security standpoint, it makes it far easier to secure data held in apps for developers than ever before. For IT, once MDM providers have updated their solutions to support the new features Apple introduced, it makes managing iOS devices far easier."