Word from those who have seen iOS 7 is that the new operating system is going to be strictly no-frills. Things like the green felt look of the Game Center, the leather effects on the calendar, and maybe even ebook pages with 3D effects will be cut out, in favor of a simpler, cleaner interface. The word thrown around in the 9to5 Mac report the most is “flat” – a turn away from 3D effects and small touches and effects that resemble real-life objects – the skeuomorphic design aesthetic.
The change seems like it will be partly a matter of personnel. Scott Forstall, who used to be in charge of the design aesthetics of iOS software, was shown the door after the Maps debacle of iOS 6. Forstall and the late Steve Jobs were two of the biggest proponents of skeuomorphic design, while others, including (Sir) Jonathan Ive, were a little less enthusiastic about the idea. Ive has historically been in charge of hardware design. Some of Apple’s biggest successes – the iPod, iPhone, and iMac – have largely been to his credit. Ive is now in charge of aesthetics for both software and hardware, and iOS 7 is said to have his stamp pressed firmly upon it.
Some of the sources cited in the report suggest that iOS 7 looks a bit like Windows 8. Heavy emphasis should likely be placed on “little” there – it seems unlikely that iOS 7 will venture that far in that direction. And, the changes are said to be cosmetic in nature only – no major changes to functionality are planned. If you’re already familiar with Apple products, there will reportedly be no new learning curve with iOS 7 – just something different to look at.
That something different seems like it will be something far more economical than in the past. That might not just be an artistic choice, either – less in the way of unnecessary aesthetics means less processing power is needed, which should make the operating system more power efficient, at the very least. How much of a difference the design choices will make in that department remains to be seen – we’ll find out soon enough, when iOS 7 is shown off at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, taking place June 10-14.
Via 9to5 Mac