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Apple reportedly steps up iOS 7 work

John Cox | May 6, 2013
Sleeker, 'flatter' UI design in works at Apple for iPhone, iPad software; September release on track

There seems to be more involved than simply eradicating glitz. Ivy's design changes are part of a "significant reimagining" of the company's mobile platform," according to Paczkowski. "With new mobile operating systems like BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone proving that there's plenty of room left for innovation in the market, Apple can ill afford even the risk of the perception that iOS might be getting dusty," he writes.

He doesn't go into details, presumably because his sources didn't share any.

The blog post correlates with recent details from other sources. In March, a post at The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog said 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."

In a recent online conversation at The Branch among a group of Apple watchers, iOS 7 was a key topic. Among the scuttlebutt they shared: "apparently [iOS 7 is a] rather significant system-wide UI overhaul" (John Gruber, Daring Fireball); "Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad" (Rene Ritchie, iMore).

The same day as Paczkowski's blog post, Bloomberg's Adam Satariano posted a story carrying the headline, "Apple's Ive Seen Risking iOS 7 Delay on Software Overhaul." 

Ive's "sweeping software overhaul ... leaves the company at risk of falling behind on a new version of the operating system," Satariano writes, using a phrasing that could imply that iOS 7 is or will be delayed or late.

But there's a difference between a software development project (or parts of it) that may be behind schedule and one that is "late." And Satariano actually clarifies that -- and he's one of the few writers on this topic who does -- later in his story.

"The introduction of new features, along with an emphasis on cooperation and deliberation, comes at a cost for Cupertino, California-based Apple." The "cost" is additional work. If everything else is unchanged, additional work would mean longer time to reach completion. "Engineers are racing to finish iOS 7 ... in time for a June preview at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference." That's one way to reach completion target: work faster. And have more people working on it (there have been several reports that Apple has shifted OS X software engineers to iOS, for example).

The statement also points to two different iOS schedules: One is keyed to June's WWDC conference, in order to preview the OS changes, which is something that Apple has often done with this event; the second is the intended release date of iOS 7, in a developer preview and then as a download available to current iOS users and of course to new phones or tablets.

 

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