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.