The first delicious rumors have emerged on what Sir Jonathan Ive is doing to iOS 7. 9to5Mac reported that unnamed sources have described the new look and feel for iOS 7 as "black and white and flat all over," a play on the old-school riddle about newspapers*. The sources also said that iOS 7 will focus almost entirely on this interface change rather than on new features.
The point, however, is that gone will be reflective interface elements, and that texture-rich, skeuomorphic interfaces will be replaced by flat, space-efficient interfaces dominated by black and white colors. This flat, non-reflective look will apply to icons, interfaces, the lock screen, and more.
Additionally, there will be a much more consistent interface between Apple apps (Calendars, Notes, Reminders, etc.) with a unique dominant color to help users know which app they are using. As an example of this, let's look at a mockup of the Music and Calendar apps developed by Simply Zesty:
iOS 7 Mockup by Simply Zesty
These mockups show a consistent interface dominated by white with strong color app-specific accents. The icons for these apps would be built around these same colors.
9to5Mac's source also said that Sir Jonathan has argued that skeuomorphic designs don't stand the test of time. Such designs, which use real-world analogs to convey instant-meaning to software tasks, were favored by both Steve Jobs and Scott Forestall, who was fired from Apple in the fall of 2012.
Other changes will include replacing the transparent time bar at the top of the lock screen with a shine-free, black interface. There will also be a new grid for entering your unlock PIN code, a new Notification with support for gestures, and other changes.
Sir Jonathan took over the look and feel of iOS 7 in October, which isn't all that long for such significant changes. To that end, 9to5Mac's sources said that every change has gone through multiple versions, and those different versions are likely to continue up until it is unveiled at June's World Wide Developer Conference (and probably up until it's released in the fall).
Accordingly, the details might change, but all of this is in keeping with expectations based on less-specific rumors earlier this year.
We think the described changes sound fantastic, and are looking forward to seeing iOS 7 get such a major face lift. It will also be great to see what developers do as they adapt to Apple's new interface.
* Ask your parents about "newspapers."