updated 10:28 am EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
Development behind schedule
Sources for Bloomberg are backing claims that lead Apple designer Jonathan Ive is engaging in a major design overhaul for iOS 7. As has been reported previously, the sources say that Ive is avoiding the skeuomorphism favored by former iOS head Scott Forstall, for example ditching the shelving metaphor used by Newsstand. He is also allegedly pursuing "dramatic changes" to the Mail and Calendar apps, though what that means is unclear.
On top of everything Ive is said to be taking a different path to development, encouraging cooperation between Apple's hardware and software teams, which were previously isolated. The combination of increased collaboration, new features, and thorough design reviews by Ive may be having some negative consequences however, as Apple is claimed to be "racing" to finish enough of iOS 7 for a demonstration at WWDC on June 10th.
iOS 7 could be released as soon as September, but the Bloomberg sources explain that internal deadlines for submitting features for testing have been pushed later than they have been for past versions of iOS. One source indicates that some problems stem from last October's executive shakeup, which for instance put features normally submitted for testing in February as much as a month or more behind schedule. Workers from the OS X team are reportedly being brought in to make sure iOS stays on track.
The sources add that aside from ditching skeuomorphism, Ive is shifting towards a "flatter" design that is also unified and less cluttered. Greater changes, such as the ones planned for Mail, may have to wait for future iOS updates. For longer-term plans, Ive is said to be meeting with makers of gesture technology that allows commands without touching a screen. Such technology is already present in Samsung devices like the Galaxy S4.
A source notes that Ive is now attending meetings with the software design group and its leader, Greg Christie, in order to offer feedback. He is reportedly being respectful and trying to avoid forcing through his ideas, while also giving earlier glimpses at what future hardware will look like.