Unnamed sources close to the iOS development team report that the next release, iOS 7, may be delayed due to the complete overhaul of the interface and core apps. These sources claim that internal deadlines for submitting features to be tested have been set later than past releases. Thus, Apple is pushing to compile enough of the system to preview at WWDC in June, and then will possibly release the platform in September already installed on the new iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models.
Jonathan Ive, 46, who is spearheading the iOS revamp, was assigned in October 2012 to provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (opens in new tab) (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. Apple said his "incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade."
As reported on Tuesday, Ive is ripping out the glossy effects and detailed textures for a flatter, crisper interface. Bloomberg reports that he has removed the wood bookshelves in the Newsstand app, and is exploring similar dramatic changes to the email and calendar apps. He's also methodically reviewing new designs, sources claim, so that Apple doesn't run into another Maps fiasco. He's also encouraging communication between the software and hardware teams.
Sources state that software engineers are "racing" to get iOS 7 done, and Apple has reportedly even pulled staff from the Mac team to help the iOS team get the job done. This won't be the first time Apple has shuffled developers: the company made a similar move with the first version of iOS back in 2007.
Greg Sterling, an analyst at Opus Research in San Francisco, told Bloomberg that Apple and Ive are under a lot of pressure to generate something different and new. "[Ive has] a tremendous sense of design, and he’s been the guru behind a lot of these enormously successful products, but he’s always had someone like a Jobs to push back on him and give him some guidance, and it’s not clear that Tim Cook is capable of playing that role," he said. "Maybe without a collaborator, he’s not as strong."
Sources claim that many bigger shifts in change to services like email likely won't launch with iOS 7, but will be introduced in future releases. Apple may also experiment with gesture control later on down the road as well, as Ive has reportedly met with makers of gesture technology. Apple may even look into three-dimensional interfaces if the hardware will minimalist and reduced.
Apple's upcoming iOS 7 will supposedly include an all-new icon set for Apple's native apps, newly designed tool bars, new tab bars, and other fundamental interface features. The team is also looking into and testing ways to add more system options panels and information that can be accessed at a glance.
Sources said the new iOS 7 interface is not more difficult to use than earlier releases. The transition will reportedly be just as easy as it was when iPods went to color. Even more, core apps and system fundamentals like the Lock and Home screens will mostly operate in a similar fashion to how they perform on devices sporting iOS v6.1.3 and earlier.