Apple is busy cooking up a "killer app" that will be ready to launch with iOS 7 this summer, an analyst has said following a meeting with Apple management.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicted on Thursday that Apple's next mobile operating system will include a new internet service, such as a mobile payment system that expands upon the Passbook app, or a music streaming service (dubbed iRadio). She expects that this new service will be a "killer app".
Huberty wrote in her note to investors this week that Apple is likely to preview iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and claims that Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Service Eddy Cue is working on improving existing services such as iCloud and Maps in addition to the new app.
"We believe Apple could charge either developers or users for some of these services, which could boost Apple's annuitized revenue stream and better monetize its large user base," Huberty wrote. "For example, Apple could offer a streaming music service using a freemium model."
By 'freemium', Huberty means an app that would allow users to have access so some features for free, but gives the option of paying for additional features or less advertisements.
In her note, Huberty highlighted Apple's recent hiring of ex-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, which some analysts have said foretells a move towards iOS-OS X hybrids in the future. Huberty also expects that Lynch, who was a driver of Adobe's shift to Creative Cloud, a set of cloud-based applications sold through a software-by-subscription model, could be working on Apple's new internet service.
Huberty expects that Apple will launch an 'iPhone 5S' and a low-cost iPhone later this year, and that these iPhones will ship with the aforementioned 'killer app' as a big selling point, because the design of the iPhone 5S is likely to closely resemble the iPhone 5.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple's iOS 7 launch could be delayed due to a significant user interface overhaul. Daring Fireball's John Gruber claims that engineers working on OS X 10.9 have been pulled from the new Mac operating system in order to work on iOS 7 to get it finished in time for a summer launch.