This Is What Jony Ive Dreams iOS 7 Should Be [Video]

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 9.59.17 AM

Nothing’s driving design nerds as crazy as the rumor that Jony Ive is taking a torch to iOS’s egregious skeuomorphic design elements and coming up with something for iOS 7 a lot more modern and flat like Windows 8.

In truth, any hopes that Ive is going to completely raze the ground of iOS skeuomorphism for iOS 7 are probably optimistic: Ive hasn’t had enough time, and it’s just too deeply ingrained into the operating system. More likely, Ive’s sensibilities will more immediately be felt in more subtle pairing-downs, like the way Apple’s Podcast app had the reel-to-reel player removed in a recent version.

But what does Jony Ive eventually want iOS to look like? A stunning new concept video has a very compelling take on that question.

The folks over at digital agency Simply Zesty employed their art director, Philip Joyce, to come up with a strong concept of what the next version of iOS 7 should look like.

What he came up with is very beautiful indeed. Not only do we have completely redesigned, purely square app icons and a widget-able home screen, but total redesigns of many core apps like Calendar, Music, Siri, Facebook and more.

I’m not quite buying the idea that Ive would, for example, ditch round-corner icons for purely square ones — round-corner squares are an Ive speciality seen in everything from app icons to the shape of the Apple TV to the EarPods box — but it’s certainly a compelling take.

Something tells me, though, that when Ive is done with iOS, it’ll be something very different from what we’re imagining.

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  • BrainGameMayhem

    Cool concepts, but I doubt Apple would ever ditch the rounded corners on the app icons.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    Also, the slide-to-unlock at the top of the screen would not be ideal.

  • rogifan

    Can you guys please stop with the meaningless articles where you throw Jony Ive’s name in the headline to get people to click on it.

  • Shane Bryson

    Also, the slide-to-unlock at the top of the screen would not be ideal.

    Actually, ergonomically, a slide to unlock at the top of the screen makes more sense and is WAY more comfortable than having it at the bottom. Grab your iPhone and slide it at the bottom. Feel how bunched your thumb feels when you slide it down to the bottom and then once it gets all the way over to the right? Now stretch your thumb out and make the same motion at the top. No bunching feeling. That’s because this is a much more natural position for the thumb. Many people have been arguing this for years and rightfully so. I would like to see it implemented for comfort.

  • rwmcgrann

    I like how they replaced the click of the camera from the old school camera sound to the sound of a digital camera. Evolution of skeumorphic sound!

    Cool ideas for sure but the music app looks way too much like a windows app. The color should change with the album art like in iTunes.

    The notification center is way too much of a cluster F*%k. Not Apple’s style in my opinion. Looks like the menu bar of Word or Excel…like someone threw the bottons on the screen and then were like, “yea that works”.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    Actually, ergonomically, a slide to unlock at the top of the screen makes more sense and is WAY more comfortable than having it at the bottom.

    Yeah, maybe you’re right.

  • LDMartin1959

    I don’t think there is anything inherently “outdated” by rounded corner icons, although I think the look of them could be improved by reducing the radius by about 50%. The screen unlock slider makes more sense on the bottom of the screen near the “action” button than at the top of the screen and therefor on the opposite side of the screen from the button. I think most of the concepts we’ve seen go too far — certainly farther than I think Apple will go. Yes, get rid of the “leather” look and the obvious, non-digital object skeuomorphic elements but let’s not go Metro on this. I don’t want my phone screen to look like it was built out of Lego’s or Bag of Blocks.

  • technochick

    Total FUD. This is what the 5% hope Jony dreams of but who knows

    As for it being beautiful, I disagree, it’s hideous. If I wanted Android on my phone I’d go buy a Nexus.

  • technochick

    Cool concepts, but I doubt Apple would ever ditch the rounded corners on the app icons.

    Agreed. Not to mention the home screen icons aren’t really the issue. If they want to ‘flatten’ them just make the backgrounds a solid color and remove the reflections. The real issue is stuff like the moving shadows on buttons. It’s unnecessary and nonfunctional bloat of the code. Last thing Apple needs is to become another ‘takes up half the storage’ Samsung/MS.

  • TechBell

    It isn’t broken so the fix will be less than this but clearly some distinctive changes. Apple is not going to blow up the UI and piss off legions of users.

  • bdkennedy

    I hope it doesn’t look like that. It looks like Android.

  • aardman

    Are smartphone customers really that hung up on the UI’s graphic design? Do they really care about flat vs textured, rounded vs sharp corners, and skeuo vs. non? Will they actually choose not to buy an iPhone because they don’t like the shape of an icon? I think tech journos are overthinking this. I myself don’t care for flat design but if Apple adopts that design language will it affect my buying decision. Hell, no!

  • dubbledown

    if you folks all want to argue the unlock slider, then why not actually argue the issue, not your own preference. the issue itself IS your preference. I have smaller hands than most and find the bottom swipe to be just fine. some apps where I have to use the top bar make me re-position my hand to let me thumb reach the buttons. surely others have exactly the opposite issue where it’s uncomfortable to hook your thumb back down to the bottom. the interface shouldn’t be ‘one size fits all.’

    apple is perfectly capable of making an unlock swipe adjustable based on the owner of the phone. just have a general unlock setting that allows you to position the swipe bar in 10% increments up or down the screen. better yet, have an option to set a preference for left- or right-handed interface (which most devs won’t have to worry about, but some might and would be praised for it), and then make the swipe not a straight line across but rather an arch that follows your natural movement from being near the home button and then up and out towards the edge of the phone. some could argue that going from the corner opposite your pal and arcing up to that side makes sense as well. the point I’m trying to make is that while rounded corners and fake leather and all that are nice, slowly getting dated, etc., the phones are mature enough to bring some personal preferences and feature left- or right-handed options. last year we saw the custom gesture unlock on the tablet commercials, and while it WAS a gimmick, it was a gimmick that should have been rolled into something usable elsewhere.

  • SupaMac

    Cool concepts, but I doubt Apple would ever ditch the rounded corners on the app icons.

    Agreed. Pretty much everything Apple sells looks like the app icon – AppleTV, AirPort Extreme & Express, iPad, MacBooks – they all are rectangles with rounded corners. I definitely don’t see this going away anytime soon.

  • llaceya

    There is always a lot of speculation on the new designs/features Apple will implement into the new iPhone, but I think its a bit soon to really be expecting something spectacular. My co-worker wrote a blog which discusses this at:

    http://blog.cloudzync.me/2013/04/its-unfair-to-expect-innovation-even-if-a-new-iphone-is-coming/

  • CharilaosMulder

    Simple? I think a lot of the UI looks complicated, bloated and inconsistent. The widget centre is awful. And many things that are pure branding to Apple are taken away. I’m not against flat UI’s, don’t get me wrong, but this one is cheaply implemented. With flat interfaces lacking textures and even shadows and gradients, it’s difficult to achieve personality and great distinguishability between different sections on the screen.
    .
    Some people may call the Notes app disgusting, I don’t. The specific textures and colours make it instantly recognisable. This comes in great especially if app switching will rely on screenshots (like in Auxo). Stripping the Notes app down to flat yellow surfaces is still a reference to notetaking paper, and a more meaningless one. Same for that flat green redesign we saw earlier of Gamecenter.

  • iSteve

    No way! It’s so android-ugly….

  • Gordon Terry

    Mr. Brownlee, you may find this helpful: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pare+down

  • Shane Bryson

    It isn’t broken so the fix will be less than this but clearly some distinctive changes. Apple is not going to blow up the UI and piss off legions of users.

    Most long term iPhone users (minus a small few) agree that the UI is dated. And if you haven’t noticed, Scott Forstall is gone now and Jony Ive is in charge of the design and he HATES the way it looks, so yes Apple IS going to majorly change the way iOS looks and acts. If you don’t want that to happen, prepare yourself now.

  • joewaylo

    Not feeling the design. I don’t know about flat paint. Just seems too dry.

  • robraden

    Well well well. Somebody at that ad agency really likes the band Phoenix. Talk about a lame imitation. As for the design: most of it looks great, and it definitely looks more modern. iOS currently has a very last-decade look and feel.

  • JPSR

    Why couldn’t they come up with a theme solution, where a new app called “iThemes” would either come up as a totally new app or intergrated into the AppStore – like the concept of buying apps, but here rather costumizing your phone as yourself.. This would be the very best solution for this tragedy of removing the skeuomorphisms..

  • FRANCHISE167

    Not a fan of the “flat” look

  • technochick

    Not feeling the design. I don’t know about flat paint. Just seems too dry.

    for sure. Not everything in IOS is bad. Just remove the stuff with no function like the moving shadows, reflections etc. that would improve a lot.

    One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is when you open a folder I wish instead of the linen it was more like when you hit Launchpad on your mac. ANd even instead of just 12 slots on your iphone you could have the whole 16 cause there’s no need for a line to show which box you just opened.

  • technochick

    And if you haven’t noticed, Scott Forstall is gone now and Jony Ive is in charge of the design and he HATES the way it looks, so yes Apple IS going to majorly change the way iOS looks and acts.

    Be careful about putting words in his mouth. Jony has allegedly said that he hates the cutesy but serves no function touches. That doesn’t mean he hates everything.

  • technochick

    .
    Some people may call the Notes app disgusting, I don’t.

    Take out the stitching and the paper tear. They serve no function. Put the buttons along the top perhaps like basically every other app. How they are done now feels inconsistent.

    Perhaps give us a couple more font choices (I’d actually like to see say the 10 most common fonts built into iOS and available to all apps that want to use them). Give up a choice of yellow v white and lines, grids or blank for each note. allow photos etc like the mac version and seeing folders, creating folders and moving between accounts. maybe at some point even allow drawing and handwritten notes.

    That to me would be perfect. Especially if they could change icloud so you don’t need an icloud email to sync notes.

  • maxprivalov

    I stopped the video halfway because this is ugly. So much it hurts. I like iOS the way it is.
    I refuse to believe this is what Ive would likely to come up with.
    This concept is a knock-off off the Windows Phone. The designer did not catch the vibe.

  • aardman

    All the R&D to develop and deploy the most advanced display technology to portray flat paint? Flat is a fad that will be so dated in a couple of years.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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