iOS 7 is probably right around the corner, at least as a preview coming at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June, and it looks like it might be the most exciting change to Apple’s mobile OS we’ve seen in a long time, at least on the surface. iOS 7 will get a flat visual look, which is all the rage these days, at the hands of Apple’s chief design guru Jony Ive, according to a new report by 9to5Mac. The blog’s sources say that it’s “very, very flat,” losing any evidence of computer-generated shine, glare or the skeuomorphism reportedly favored by deposed iOS chief Scott Forstall.
That means you won’t see things that are leather-bound, faux yellow notepads, or lighting effects that make buttons and controls look like they’re crafted from actual metal. It’s a radical enough redesign that one source said it resembles Windows Phone, which is a big change from earlier comments that any changes made by Ive would be relatively subtle. Operation of apps and services remains relatively unchanged despite the big visual changes, though all default icons get updated looks, as well as the user interfaces themselves.
The changes would likely be welcomed by most, though they could result in a negative reaction from users who’ve grown used to the current Apple way of doing things. If functionality remains unchanged, however, that should help ease the transition for existing users, and a new look would go a long way toward enticing new ones and injecting some fresh energy into Apple’s mobile efforts. The look and feel of iOS has undergone only minor changes since its original launch. Windows Phone was mentioned as an example of a mobile competitor that looks a lot more modern, but Google has also been moving in that direction with Android, as you can see from the design of Google Now (which came to iOS today).
Another source speaking to 9to5Mac says Apple is also testing an at-a-glance information display, but it isn’t clear if that’s coming with iOS 7 or just being talked about at an early stage. For now, a brand new look with a strong separation from the existing version will likely be enough to draw a lot of attention, from both existing users and new, to Apple’s mobile OS.
[Featured image via concept by Kerroudj on Vimeo]