updated 09:42 am EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
Engineers being pulled off OS X 10.9 to help, report claims
iOS 7 represents a "rather significant system-wide UI overhaul," Daring Fireball's John Gruber claims to have learned. The blogger also says he has heard the same thing as Rene Ritchie, who alleges that "[Apple lead designer Jonathan] Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad." Engineers allowed to have the OS on their iPhones are even rumored to be using polarizing filters to make it harder for passers-by to see the interface changes.
Development of iOS 7 is said to be lagging behind, though, to the extent that Apple is pulling engineers off of work on OS X 10.9 to help. That urgency could be consistent with a report from the Wall Street Journal, which yesterday indicated that a new iPhone is set to go into production this quarter and launch as soon as the summer, instead of the fall. Apple has never launched a new iPhone without a major iOS upgrade alongside it.
Ive was put in charge of iOS design last year after the departure of Scott Forstall. How he might handle software is uncertain, since until then he was responsible exclusively for the hardware side of Apple products. It's believed however that he will probably avoid the skeuomorphic touches of recent versions of iOS and its apps, exemplified by things like the stitched leather in Find My Friends, or the shelves in iBooks.