For as much hand-wringing as there's been over iOS 7, we won't know the new system's potential until Apple pairs it with a handset and a tablet. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a hardware company, after all, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following video.

Consider, too, that the new iOS borrows heavily from features found in Google's Android operating system. Playing catch-up is no way to juice sales, which leaves the base iPhone and iPad hardware as Apple's principal opportunities to leap ahead.

But even that may prove difficult considering how Samsung and the major Android device suppliers differentiate today. Samsung, in particular, is profiting from the "phablet" craze in which phones sport screens big enough to also act as mini-tablets.

Apple needn't play copycat here. But chief designer Jony Ive might also do well to rethink the smartphone platform. Consumers certainly have. If the "phablet" renaissance proves anything, it's that buyers don't want a phone so much as an at-the-ready computer that handles as well as a desktop. The message? Apple needs more than an iPhone refresh; it needs a full hardware redesign.

Do you agree? Watch the video below to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know whether you'd consider buying an Apple phablet.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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