Apple Management Shake-Up Results in Better Collaboration Between Apple Design Teams, New “Flat” Design for iOS 7

jony-ive-10-20-09Last October, Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall left Apple, leaving a vacancy that resulted in the restructuring of the company. Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi were all given additional responsibilities. Jony Ive, the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, was also put in charge of the Human Interface team, which was a smart move, says The Wall Street Journal.

Apparently the new arrangement, which was made to increase collaboration, has done just that, giving software designers a better overview of what the industrial design team is working on.

Before the shake up, Jonathan Ive’s design team kept everything under wraps, and the group even had its own set of software developers to assist with prototypes. Now that Ive is in charge, that’s begun to change. While there’s still a stealth software development group, the general mobile software team is getting earlier access

Apple’s mobile software, or “human interface” team, which has been led by executive Greg Christie, is being briefed about industrial prototypes earlier, these people said. The person described the change as “a thawing.”

Additionally, Ive sits in on the human interface team’s review sessions to discuss new ideas. The Wall Street Journal’s sources say that we might be seeing a simpler design for iOS 7.

Some suggested that in Apple’s next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more “flat design” that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative.

There has been little discussion of when iOS 7 might be released, but Apple has traditionally released new operating systems during the summer or fall months. For example, iOS 4 came out in June 2010, iOS 5 was released in October 2011, and iOS 6 was released in September 2012.

Historically, Apple unveils new versions of its mobile operating systems months before release, which means June’s Worldwide Developers Conference might be the arena where Apple chooses to reveal its newest mobile OS.

What specific design elements or features do you hope to see in iOS 7? Personally, I am crossing my fingers for improved email management, a more robust notification system, and better support for multiple iTunes accounts, and I’m looking forward to checking out the new design inspired by Ive.

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