Bloomberg: Jony Ive’s iOS 7 Overhaul Could Lead To Delays

iOS

Six months after taking responsibility of software design, Jony Ive is hard at work overhauling Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 operating system. And according to sources for Bloomberg, the changes he is making are so significant that they run the risk of delaying the update’s release.

iOS 7 will get its first public unveiling at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this June. That’s a little over a month away, so you’d have thought that Apple is now putting the finishing touches on the software before it’s revealed to the world.

But according to “people with knowledge of the matter” who have been speaking to Bloomberg, the overhaul is still very much underway. Ive has reportedly begun revamping built-in iOS apps, riding them of skeuomorphic designs and realistic images, such as the wooden bookshelves in Newsstand and the leather notepad look in Reminders.

Ive is said to be “exploring more dramatic changes” to the Mail and Calendar apps as well, the sources say.

He is also “methodically reviewing” the new designs and encouraging collaboration between the hardware and software devisions in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s controversial Maps release — which is what eventually led to Scott Forstall’s departure as the head of iOS and landed Ive in his new position.

Apple still expects to release iOS 7 on time this September, Bloomberg reports, but internal deadlines for submitting features for testing are being set later than past releases. As a result, engineers are racing to make iOS 7 available for its grand unveiling at WWDC next month.

Apple has reportedly had to pull engineers away from OS X 10.9 development to focus on iOS 7.

“Apple is really under tremendous pressure to come out with something different and something new,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Opus Research. The company has been criticized for not innovating fast enough when it comes to its iOS software, and for allowing competitors like Android to catch up — and in some cases take over — with key features.

Sterling is concerned that Ive may not be able to deliver the right changes without the guidance he once had from Steve Jobs.

Ive has “a tremendous sense of design, and he’s been the guru behind a lot of these enormously successful products, but he’s always had someone like a Jobs to push back on him and give him some guidance, and it’s not clear that Tim Cook is capable of playing that role,” he said. “Maybe without a collaborator, he’s not as strong.”

According to recent reports, iOS 7 will look drastically different to previous iOS releases, adopting a new “flat” design similar to that of Windows Phone.

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  • pmontanarella

    As long as they give us some sort of a Developer Preview by WWDC I’m fine! After that, they can also wait until December to release it, I’d much rather it be done right than be rushed to the public

  • technochick

    Or this is all a pile of steaming horse puck to bring the stock down so it can be bought cheap.

  • Vertigo Bird

    Apple would never lose all the shine and polish that makes iOS unique. And would everyone please stop throwing around the word “skeuomorphic” as if it were the plague. Yes, they went overboard on a couple of things, but in general, it provides a human connection to the OS. I refuse to believe Jony Ive doesn’t realize this. The human factor has always been an influence in his hardware designs. And make no mistake about it, he would have had input into software UI designs prior to his new position. It’s well known Apple’s engineering groups do not work in a vacuum.

    What is the use of all the incredible graphics horsepower of these devices if they aren’t used [for just games]? Remember, OS X Mountain Lion dropped support for machines with limited GPUs. That was both for developers and for the OS – you can’t get fluid UI performance for all the shadows, gradients, and subtle animations without them. That same design paradigm (though different) goes into iOS. The iPhone wouldn’t be the iPhone without those effects.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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