A Branch discussion took place last night between some of the most respectable and reliable Apple news sources and insiders. One fascinating tidbit of the chat came courtesy of John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who reported that Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 7, is behind schedule.
According to Gruber, iOS 7 is so far behind that Apple has pulled engineers working on the Mac’s next OS update to work on iOS instead (a statement that rings true as OS 10.9 is uncharacteristically late). The reason for the delay is unclear, but iOS 7 is expected to feature a major design overhaul, which could partially explain why development on the OS is lagging.
In addition to reporting on iOS 7’s delay, Gruber also pointed out that iOS engineers who have permission to use devices with the upcoming OS are all using a polarizing filter on their displays, preventing third party observers from spotting the “significant system-wide UI overhaul.”
The redesign, which is said to be largely the work of Jony Ive, is simplistic and gets rid of many elements of skeuomorphism that have popped up in iOS applications like Notes. That textured, real-looking notebook design may soon be a relic of the past.
“Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad,” wrote Gruber.
We’ve actually already seen hints of what might be coming with iOS 7. Earlier this month, Apple updated its Podcasts app, implementing a significant redesign that eliminated the skeuomorphic tape recorder-style buttons that had been prominent in the previous version of the app.
As you can see, Podcasts now has a simpler design with an unobtrusive control scheme (the new version is on the right). It is said that iOS 7 will feature similar design elements, with Jony Ive pushing for a “flat design.” Many people that are not fans of the current skeuomorphic elements in iOS 6 will welcome the coming changes in iOS 7.
Thus far, there have been few hints on 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.
Apple often unveils its operating systems several months in advance in order to give developers time to work on apps, which means WWDC, traditionally held in June, might be the logical release time.