There's been talk recently that Apple's products are beginning to coast on their glorious past. So, with Apple's big Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) arriving in San Francisco in three weeks, the speculation mill has been heating up about what the company might offer when it decides to unveil the new iOS 7.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that manufacturing of a "refreshed iPhone" was beginning in second quarter, with a possible launch during the summer, and that a less expensive iPhone could be on the market as soon as the second half of this year. The newspaper also said that Apple's next version of its iOS would be shipped by the middle of this year.
Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, has told news media that his team "can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X" into developers hands. This might imply some minor updates to the current version will be released at WWDC, or it could mean the company will tease or unveil the full iOS 7 redesign that is said to be under way. Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Sir Jonathan "Jony" Ive, who is known for a more minimalist style, is said to be leading a complete overhaul of the OS's interface.
However, there have also been reports on the Web, attributed to "people with knowledge of the matter," that the full-scale redo of iOS may not be ready for WWDC.
Rumors have suggested a less-textured direction for the new look, which some have described as "very, very flat," cleaner, simpler, losing any shine or gloss, and bearing new icons. Some observers have speculated that users might even have a choice between displaying the new flat design or keeping the old interface.
One possible pitfall to a simpler, flatter design, however, is that it could begin to look generic -- or what some might consider worse, like Windows Phone -- and begin to diminish Apple's unique style. It could be the New Coke all over again, or, more aptly, the radical Windows 8 redesign in miniature.
New icons, for instance, mean learning new associations between functions and little pictures. If Apple's devices are suffering a staleness -- still an unproven concept, given that they're still selling well -- is a flattening of the user interface going to do much except alienate fans? One possibility is that a simpler design could be more appealing to new owners of Apple products than to existing owners who are accustomed to the present look.
Apple has reportedly been working to remove some of the internal silos between the development teams tasked with creating new functionality and the design teams, providing a more integrated effort between hardware, software and design. However, the iOS and OS X teams are reportedly still being kept separate.
Most of the attention so far has been focused on the possible interface, and much less on what new features iOS 7 might offer. Possible new features floated so far would largely be minor improvements, such as a guest user account similar to the multi-user feature in OS X, the ability to change Siri's voice, or better management of apps.
Posted: 2013-05-20 @ 3:48am PT
We have featured a lot of iOS 7 concept articles and rumours surrounding the iOS 7. However, I have a feeling we won't get that much of a change, being Apple: