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Reports from unnamed sources say that Apple's Jonathan Ive is working on a major redesign of the iOS interface, flattening out the graphics and eliminating skeuomorphism, the practice of making interface elements look like real-world objects, such as notepads, books, etc. Sources also tell media outlets that this overhaul could delay the launch of iOS 7.
Bloomberg's Adam Satariano reported, "Jonathan Ive, six months into an expanded role as Apple Inc (AAPL).’s top product visionary, has embarked on a sweeping software overhaul that leaves the company at risk of falling behind on a new version of the operating system that runs iPhones and iPads, people with knowledge of the matter said.... Ive, 46, has begun revamping iPhone and iPad applications, shunning realistic images, such as wood bookshelves for the Newsstand feature, and he’s exploring more dramatic changes to the e-mail and calendar tools, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private."
Kevin Parrish with Tom's Hardware added, "Sources close to Apple's iOS development team claim that the fruity company is taking cues from Microsoft to completely redesign a popular, familiar operating system. The upcoming iOS 7 platform will reportedly sport an entirely new design, breaking away from the glossy sea of apps that first began to flow on the original iPhone back in June 2007. The new interface, reportedly codenamed 'Innsbruck,' will be 'very, very flat' like Windows Phone 8: all the gloss, shine and 'skeuomorphism' will be ripped out. That means icons will be void of any shadows, reflections and heavy textures, and may be presented as mere multi-colored boxes with the app's logo. This would make a more streamlined interface across both multiple devices and time itself."
And sources tell 9 to 5 Mac's Mark Gurman, "While the look of the updated system may be surprising to some, iOS 7 is reportedly not more difficult to use than earlier versions of software platform. There is apparently no new learning curve in the same way there was no learning curve when the iPods went color. While iOS 7 does look different, its core apps and system fundamentals (like the Lock and Home screens) mostly operate in a similar fashion to how they do today."
Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng noted, "Apple is still expected to release iOS 7 on (its own, unannounced) schedule, which is said to be around September—around the same time the next-generation iPhone is expected to land. But it seems that the majority of the changes will be in the form of design and UI updates, with less of a focus on major feature changes."