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Apple iOS 7 rumor roundup: Flatter design, possible delay

May 01, 2013|By Chris O'Brien
  • Apple design guru Jonathan Ive has taken charge of software and is reportedly planning big changes for iOS 7.
Apple design guru Jonathan Ive has taken charge of software and is reportedly… (Apple )

Now that second-quarter earnings and Apple's massive bond offering are behind us, speculation has shifted back to products. And the big product that has tongues wagging is some reportedly radical changes to the operating system that powers the company's iPhones and iPads. 

Much of the drama surrounds the fact that Jonathan Ive, Apple's longtime hardware design guru, has also been placed in charge of software design as well. That happened last fall following a management shakeup. 

Ive is now senior vice president of industrial design. And he's leading the charge to create a new version of the mobile operating system, iOS 7. 

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According to a number of recent reports, led by this one from 9to5Mac, the new version of iOS will be "flatter." Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac writes:

"The new interface is said to be 'very, very flat,' according to one source. Another person said that the interface loses all signs of gloss, shine, and skeuomorphism seen across current and past versions of iOS. Another source framed the new OS as having a level of 'flatness' approaching recent releases of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 'Metro' UI."

Yes, that's right: It appears that Apple may be pushing for a look that more closely resembles the Windows Phone. 

Behind that push is a concept called "skeuomorphism." That refers to the notion that something digital looks like something in the real world. So, Apple's iOS has wooden bookshelves for things like books and newspapers. There's a good overview of the issue here

Ive reportedly hates skeuomorphism. And so the new design will apparently do away with all that stuff, like the fake linen that sits in the background of the screen. 

But the road to that new look has apparently not been an easy one. Bloomberg on Wednesday reports that the big changes Ive wants may mean that iOS 7 won't be ready to unveil at the upcoming World Wide Developer's Conference in June:

"Jonathan Ive, six months into an expanded role as Apple Inc (AAPL).’s top product visionary, has embarked on a sweeping software overhaul that leaves the company at risk of falling behind on a new version of the operating system that runs iPhones and iPads, people with knowledge of the matter said," Adam Satariano of Bloomberg writes.

According to Bloomberg, the push for a more collaborative approach between the hardware and software teams under Ive is allowing for bigger changes, but also slowing the process, putting the update behind schedule. 


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