Apple’s Jonathan Ive Giving iOS 7 a Major Revamp

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iOS 7 will apparently be a big departure from iOS 6, according to sourcesApple's Jonathan Ive is reworking so much in iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that he has apparently been pulling resources from the OS X team to keep development on track. Sources claim he's been stripping the skeuomorphic design elements from iOS in favor of a flatter interface look, and is looking at some app changes big enough that they may not be ready in time to ship with the release of iOS 7 later this year.

Sources speaking with Bloomberg said Mr. Ive has been reviewing app changes and new features closely to avoid public missteps like the company experienced with the launch of Maps in iOS 6. He has been looking at fairly major changes to Calendar and Mail, too.

Apple is apparently still on track to show off iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and plans to have the major OS release ready to ship as early as September. WWDC is Apple's annual conference for iOS and OS X app developers, and is scheduled for June 10 thorugh June 14 at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco.

Mr. Ive has apparently made a big internal change that deviates from the Apple of Steve Jobs. He has the company's software and hardware sections working together, which could help with consistency between apps and make for a more unified feel between hardware and the software it runs.

Apple's applications have taken on more skeuomorphic design elements over the past few years, and Mr. Ive hasn't been pleased with those changes. Now that he's in charge of the comapny's hardware and software design, he's been making some changes -- most recently with the iOS Podcasts app. He stripped the reel-to-reel tape player animations from the app, freeing up space for functional design elements, and testing user reaction to the non-skeuomophic changes at the same time.

Apple isn't talking about what changes are in store for iOS 7, but the company did say the operating system would be previewed during WWDC. That means we'll get our first look at iOS 7 in just a few weeks, and there's a good chance it's going to look substantially different than iOS 6.

Comments

geoduck

I’m sure I’m alone on this but I like skeuomorphism. I like the textures. I like the 3D effects. It’s not about hanging onto old paradigms as much as the esthetics. If Win8 is any indication, these flat designs feel more like a step back into the 8-bit graphics of DOS and Apple// games. Hopefully Ive will find a happy medium. Otherwise I’ll be expecting a single pure tone start up chime on the next version of OS-X.

Lee Dronick

Sources claim he’s been stripping the skeuomorphic design elements from iOS in favor of a flatter interface look

Well don’t take it too far.

geoduck

Not that iOS doesn’t NEED a good revamp. There’s a lot that could be improved/modernized.

Lee Dronick

Geoduck - “I’m sure I’m alone on this but I like skeuomorphism. I like the textures. I like the 3D effects. It’s not about hanging onto old paradigms as much as the esthetics. If Win8 is any indication, these flat designs feel more like a step back into the 8-bit graphics of DOS and Apple// games”

You are not alone in this matter.

mrmwebmax

+

I agree with both of you. I really dislike the look of Windows 8, and would be very disappointed if iOS 7 was completely flat. I like the modest 3D effects on the lock screen and the lighting effects on the icons. At the same time, now that I have an iPad, I do think iOS took it too far in places: The calendar app on the iPad is just ridiculous with the leather and torn sheet look, and why does the clock app use analog clocks?

I think its all about balancing user-friendliness with aesthetics, and a slight bevel or drop shadow can provide user-friendliness in guiding the user to interactive elements like buttons and sliders. The Slide to Unlock graphics, for example, look exactly like how a real button in a trough would look, and that’s useful for an end-user, IMHO.

dhp

I’m not opposed to skeuomorphism per se, but I am annoyed when it actually hinders the usefulness of an application. Such was the previous version of Contacts (then Address Book), which took away the ability to see your groups, contacts list, and card at the same time because, well, an address book only shows two pages at a time! Even in Mountain Lion it is limited in that the contact card must always take up exactly half the window area. If only I could get those staples out of my monitor and adjust the middle divider!

But really, that leather in Contacts and Calendar is such an ugly color. Why couldn’t they at least have a black option?

John Dingler, artist

Skeuomorphism attempts to make the virtual object emulate the properties of the actual object, with a prime example being sound and music processing apps which have switches, sliders, and rotating knobs. A case can be made that color itself can be regarded as being skeuomorphic, shading is too as it emulates light falling on a real object, making the knob, for example, lighter in value on the illuminated side, darker in value on the side that is not illuminated, the process making stuff look synthetically 3D just as in the real object.

What about Safari’s tabs? What about the proportions of digital pages (e.g., 8 1/2” x 11,” etc.)?

Ive could theoretically eliminate all skeuomorphic effects: 3D, shading, cast and drop shadow, shaping, the bounce effect, sound effects, and even all color, in other words, all ornaments. What would the implementation look like while still retaining usability? It would be three values: Black, white, and gray, with the shapes such as buttons being either outlines or filled in. This is the logical extension of total elimination and repudiation of skeuomorphism, but even Ive is not that averse to emulation of reality in the areas of usability, aesthetics, and psychological comfort.

See my latest work here, if the URL works:
http://www.johndinglerart.com/index.html

anovelli

Time will tell if the genius of an industrial designed translates into better Ui design. I’m hopeful, though a little skeptical. Seems like it would require two entirely separate design mentalities.

Lee Dronick

John Dingler - Thank you for the link to your website, I very much like the Tools series.

The iPhone doesn’t have as much screen real estate as the iPad, so going more vanilla there is fine by me. Of course having different skins for the iPhone and the iPad may make for a bigger operating system, or two of them to keep the file size down.

Take a look at the sign-in screen for Find My iPhone on an iPhone and on an iPad, they are different. The one on the iPad is rather skeuomorphic, it looks like an unfolded road map with subtle shading.

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