Apple Thinking Differently About iOS 7 Interface With Move To Flat Design

According to multiple sources who were in contact with Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, Apple’s iOS 7 will feature a move to much flatter design, a move that is being driven by Jony Ive. There has been plenty of chatter of the differing opinions within Apple regarding skeuomorphic designs. Ive, whose SVP of Industrial Design, is also now in charge of interface design, taking over for the departed Scott Forstall, is said to be firmly entrenched in the flat design camp. Back in March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ive was pushing for the move to flat design. The ‘leather bound’ design of the Calendar app and the lined yellow notebook in the Notes app are perfect examples, where application designers look to recreate a physical object. These apps feature rich textures, gradients and icons that have a gloss. Backing up Gurman’s report is John Paczkowski from All Things D who tweeted, “..hearing same. Fewer heavy textures.” Look no further than Windows Phone for a sublime look at flat design in action. So just exactly how drastic will the interface makeover be when iOS 7 is announced at WWDC?

iOS 7 flat design

Codenamed “Innsbruck”, likely for the name of the city located in the valley halfway between Munich, Germany and Verona, Italy, the iOS 7 update will include a whole new icon set for the core apps. This would be in addition to the design elements themselves within the applications. Polarizing filters will reportedly decrease viewing angles in an effort to increase privacy of your iPhone.

This coat of paint will likely be the subject of much debate, depending upon how drastic Apple moves in this direction. One source seems to think it’s a major shift in design thinking calling it “very, very flat”, while another said it approached the level of flatness found on Windows Phone.

Windows Phone UI

Skeuomorphic design was not without its hardened supporters within Apple, with Steve Jobs among them. iOS has seen a layering of new features, but the core functionality hasn’t changed since it was first introduced in 2007. The design elements are also still largely the same, so a new, more modern look should be a welcome sight. If sources are correct, there will not be any sort of major shift in core functionality. While the UI might be front and center for discussion, the bigger issues are how Apple plans to move forward with the operating system. No word yet on what major tentpole features will be coming to iOS 7.

Source: 9to5Mac



  1. bazcook

    May 3, 2013 at 8:35 am

    If the re-routing of personnel and suggested delay in releasing iOS7 is simply a result of Apple Ivy’izing the OS, then the company desperately needs to get its priorities sorted.
    There are still plenty of fixes and improvements to the OS and it’s built-in apps to be done before worrying about whether iBooks has wooden shelves or not.

    As an example – I for one would be really pleased if Mail finally allowed users to attach any file to an outgoing post (even if that meant being tied to an IWorks or iCloud account) – something that my old BlackBerry – and even older Palm TX – was always capable of doing.

    • Christopher Meinck

      May 3, 2013 at 8:38 am

      I completely agree. Trouble with email attachments is the lack of any sort of user accessible file system. Introducing a home folder for iOS users would solve that problem.

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