Apple To Reveal iOS 7 At Developer's Conference, Complete With Sir Jony Ive Handiwork
April 30, 2013

Apple To Reveal iOS 7 At Developer’s Conference, Complete With Sir Jony Ive Handiwork

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

This year´s Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) has been announced and just as it´s been in previous years, the event is already sold out. In an uncharacteristic move, Apple last week issued a press release explaining they plan to show off the latest versions of iOS and Mac OS X. New software updates are always big news, but this year is different.

This is the first year these platforms will have Sir Jony Ive´s fingerprints all over them, and this has many Apple fans frothed up in excitement. Yesterday, the scoopers at 9 to 5 Mac posted an article quoting inside sources who claim the next version of Apple's operating system, iOS 7, will bring about “unsettling” changes to the design, calling it “very, very flat.” A radical redesign could either give iOS the extra boost it´s been needing or alienate its faithful following. With Sir Ive at the helm, many expect the former and try to ignore the possibility of the latter.

Jony Ive has a winning record when it comes to beautiful design. The original iPhone and iPhone 4 are products of his handiwork, as well as the MacBook Air and iconic iPod. Sir Ive is expected to bring much of the same design sensibility to iOS, a platform which has been increasingly criticized for not only being less than productive, but weighed down with heavy skeuomorphism and conflicting design choices. The calendar app for the iPad, for instance, was instantly panned by many when it was first released for the paper and leather elements within.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, iOS 7 will feature a “flat” design which forgoes the “gloss, shine and skeuomorphism” of previous versions of iOS.

One source even told 9 to 5 Mac the new design is approaching the level of flatness as seen in Microsoft´s Windows Phone 8, a mobile OS which uses tile-based navigation. This flat design is defined as minimalistic, with a focus on colors, fonts, and ultimate intuitiveness.

The 9 to 5 Mac piece also claims iOS 7 is being referred to internally as “Innsbruck,” and will be just as easy to use as today´s version. Though the entire system is said to be going through an overhaul, this new OS reportedly has no learning curve and maintains the easy-to-use accessibility as previous versions of iOS.

True to character, Apple is reportedly keeping a very tight lid on this new operating system and only letting a few privileged engineers work on and test iOS 7. To protect the identity of the new platform, Apple is reportedly placing polarizing filters on devices running iOS 7, making it difficult for nosy onlookers to get a good glimpse, according to Daring Fireball.

iOS 7 is expected to be a top-down overhaul of the system, but some mainstays, such as the Lock and Home screens, are expected to work in a similar way, save one thing.

One way in which iOS is much different from platforms such as Android and Windows Phone is in the amount of information one can gather from the lock and home screens. As it stands, an iPhone user can read new notifications from the lock screen, but is unable to see their next appointments, weather forecast, Twitter feed, or email from these screens. The people at 9 to 5 Mac claim Apple is working on adding more “glance-able” information and system operations panels to the entire operating system, removing the need to drill down into individual apps to find common and useful information.

Mark Gurman´s piece on 9 to 5 Mac also suggests Apple has been slowly pushing out some examples of this new “flat design” in recent months, showing off where they plan to move next.

The Podcasts app, for example, once featured heavy skeuomorphism with a virtual reel to reel tape deck which spun as the podcast played. Apple´s latest update to the app removed the tape deck and added flatter and easier to use buttons. Apple has also been highlighting some apps with flat design on their homepage over the past couple of months, leading Gurman to believe Apple is preparing the iOS community for the changes ahead.

While Apple has said they plan to show off iOS 7 during this year´s WWDC (June 10-14), earlier reports claimed the iPhone maker was falling behind in iOS´ production schedule and began to pull engineers from other teams to help ship the new OS on time.