A placeholder listing on Apple's US App Store has hinted at a long-awaited change potentially headed to the iPhone. Expected to be revealed at the Worldwide Developer's Conference 2017, the store entry shows a "Files" app suggesting that organisational folders, like those found on macOS, could be making their way to iPhone and iPad in the upcoming iOS 11 update.
First spotted by app developer Steven Troughton-Smith, the listing has now seemingly been removed from the App Store. A URL posted on Twitter that led to the app page now redirects to the main store, however IBTimes UK verified that the "Files" listing posted in a screenshot (embedded below) was genuine before it was removed.
What is Files for iOS?
While there is very little information to go on in the app description - simply "Files for iOS" - the fact that it is listed as an official "Utilities" app, for both the iPhone and iPad, suggests that the company's infamous walled garden-mobile ecosystem is leaving its doors slightly ajar for the first time.
In contrast to Android-powered phones and tablets, file management on Apple's mobile devices has been a restrictive affair. Direct access to photo, video and audio files as well as any documents held on each device have traditionally been hidden away inside individual apps or in Apple's cloud service.
Apple opened the doors slightly with iOS 8's iCloud Drive which utilised a file and folder structure, however the app was only designed to organise files stored within the cloud service. The appearance of "Files" is a strong hint that a similar system is on the way for files stored locally.
In addition to "Files", Troughton-Smith also posted a screengrab of an alleged feedback form visible for app developers running beta versions of iOS. The highlighted response, "Split View/Drag and Drop", suggests that iOS 11 could be taking cues from the iMac and MacBook user experience for its next major mobile OS update.
We'll hopefully find out for sure later today at WWDC 2017, where Apple is also expected to show a new iPad Pro range, MacBook Pro and Air upgrades, iOS and macOS updates and possibly the heavily-rumoured "Siri Smart Speaker".