Apple design chief Jony Ive could be risking a delay for iOS 7 in order introduce a complete user interface overhaul to the software that includes "dramatic changes," reports say.
Bloomberg cites anonymous sources in a report on Wednesday that claims Ive, who took on software design responsibilities in addition to his hardware design leadership following an executive shakeup at Apple last year, has envisioned major revamp of iOS for the next iteration of the operating system, expected to be unveiled at WWDC in June.
In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook made the decision to make changes to the company's leadership in order to encourage collaboration among teams. This shakeup involved ousting software head Scott Forstall, and passing the software responsibilities on to Ive.
It's been reported that, as a result of the shakeup, Ive has ordered a major redesign of iOS, which has not seen an overhaul since it was rolled out in 2007. This redesign is expected to be 'flatter' and will likely see the end of skeuomorphic design elements that Forstall is said to have loved, such as realistic-looking wooden bookshelves and stitching within apps.
Bloomberg's sources say that Ive is "exploring more dramatic changes" for the calendar and email apps, and is also "methodically reviewing" new designs, but added that these changes may not be ready this year and therefore might be pushed back to following releases.
These significant changes mean that engineers are "racing" to finish iOS 7 in time to preview it at WWDC 2013, which kicks off on 10 June. Bloomberg's sources say that Apple still expects to have iOS 7 ready to roll out to iPad and iPhone users in September, but that internal deadlines have been pushed back, meaning features will be submitted for testing later than in previous releases.
Bloomberg reiterates the rumour that Apple has pulled engineers from the OS X 10.9 team over to help with iOS 7, a claim first voiced by Daring Fireball's John Gruber last month. In addition, the report also highlights Gruber's claim that engineers working on iOS 7 have had a film placed over their iPhone screens to prevent onlookers from spotting the changes in the new operating system, suggesting that these changes must therefore be significant.
"Longer term, Ive also has shown interest in altering how people control their computers," Bloomberg's report goes on to say, explaining that Ive is said to have met with gesture technology makers to discuss control methods that don't involve touching the screen, in a way similar to the gesture control used for Microsoft's Kinect.
This technology is low-priority though, as the company is focusing on improving mobile software ahead of the launch of the next iPhone, which could arrive in September.
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