Jony Ive once again rumored to be painting a kinder, flatter iOS 7 interface

Jony Ive once again rumored to be painting a kinder, flatter iOS 7 interface

We've been hearing about Jony Ive taking a sand blaster to iOS 7 -- removing a lot of the heavier textures, gradients, shadows, and skeuomorphs that built up at Apple under Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall. According to what I've been hearing), iOS 7 will make fans of the richer design style cry. 9to5Mac's ace reporter, Mark Gurman, calls it Windows Phone-like, and what's more:

In addition to losing the complex interface design characteristics from earlier versions of iOS, Apple has been discussing and testing ways to add more ‘glance-able’ information and system options panels, like Notification Center, to the software. While it is still uncertain if Apple will end up including such new functionality in iOS 7, or how the Company will implement the potential addition, one of the early ideas was to implement the new panels via swipes from the left and right side of an iOS device’s display. This would be similar to the gesture on Apple’s Mac trackpads for accessing Notification Center in Mountain Lion, but what, specifically, the iOS gesture could access is uncertain.

Gurman also says that iOS 7 is code-named Innsbruck, and includes a full set of newly redesigned icons for the built-in Apple apps. As that suggests, and as I've heard as well, the base Springboard launcher and its grid aren't going anywhere any time soon, so those hoping for an entirely new Home screen experience will be disappointed. That's not to say there won't be, as Gurman alludes to in his post, that Apple won't introduce new or modified sliding panels like Notification Center to add to or enhance functionality, but when you hit Home, currently, you still see Home. That's important for the hundreds of millions of existing iOS users.

What it means for developers and designers, however, will depend on how they've built their apps to date. Those who have stuck to UIKit will get a lot of the new look, including all the new stock interface elements, "for free". Those who have replicated UIKit elements in order to change them more substantially will have to re-replicate them. Those who have completely customized their interfaces, and who want to fit the new aesthetic, will have a lot of graphics to redraw come WWDC.

Ironically, Windows Phone and Android went flat to overcome performance issues. Compositing, masking, and shadow effects takes cycles. Flat interface can be thrown around much faster. Yet, because they've done it more recently, and because it stands in stark contrast to the more elaborate 2007-esque iOS interface, it looks "new". Their constraints brought out a cleanness and modernness that became fashionable, and as a result made Apple look decidedly unfashionable.

It'd be tempting to call the move reactionary -- a new look by new management to deal with new tastes in the market -- but for that new management being headed by Jony Ive. Apple's senior vice president of design has tastes that are well known, minimalist and timeless. He values getting everything, every distraction, out of the way until only the essential nature of the object remains. Now we're seeing that vision, Ive's vision, in charge of software for the first time. That it's such a stark contrast, and likely a welcome change for many from the status quo, could simply be a bonus.

Check out Gurman's article for more on iOS 7's new look, and then come back here and let me know what you think. If Apple goes flat, should they go very flat?

Source: 9to5Mac

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Jony Ive once again rumored to be painting a kinder, flatter iOS 7 interface

29 Comments

If the goal is to "modernise" iOS that is great. Flatter icons, change in design language great. But there is NO reason to get rid of the home screen. It would alienate customers.

I still don't get the hate of a little graphical flare. I like the little graphics and animations but each to his own I guess.

Why do we want to go with a DULL UI? I don't get people with not liking something that looks nice with the extra eye candy? Why are we as a society becoming more and more dull, even though we have the technology now to be able to enjoy the extras without any lag? I hated the plane look of Android with no interesting animations within the OS itself, but now everyone wants to back track into the past and make it all look 2D again like it did when graphics first started being used in computers. WHAT GIVES? Just like they all want bigger phones that is just as big as the first cell phone and head phones that covers the whole side of their head. Hard to move forward when we keep going back to the past for designs.

Metro would drive me away.

The shine and rendering of menus and lack of flatness is why i went with ios and not the original android. I'm already bailing on windows 8 cause i hate that interface. I hope it is untrue.

Weird, apples minimilism, brushed metal, greys, the shine squared right with what i thought was attractive. But in the past year or two there seem to be some other changes that i honestly don't get, that aren't my style. Like art i'd never buy. Like the green of game center, the podcast app reels. But as for menus and buttons and stuff, i don't like the flat look of microsoft.

Ugh, this definitely makes me sad as I loved the skeuomorphic elements of ios (although I didn't know what they were called I just knew I liked it). But Sir Jony does wonderful work, so I'm going to be hopefully optimistic.

@SockRolid:
Microsoft Bob was way ahead of it/his time. It would be interesting to see what it could really do if it was created and released with todays computer technology.

About a flatter iOS UI I feel that Notification Centre is fine with its background, but do not flatten everything so it is too flat. I currently use a completely black background picture and looking in folders and NC it seems fine. Hopefully Ive and his team can find a happy-medium between 3D-esque and 2D. And bringing back the reel to reel for audio only podcasts in the podcasts app is a right step(My Opinion).

A-fuckin-men dude. If i could say one thing to this Ive guy, it would be to let the user effing pick. I hate flat. but some people might not. to me it looks like my phone just went low-tech. to others it might be easier to read. SO JUST LET IT BE AN OPTION IN SETTINGS

If you want to see what *really* flat UIs look like, check out the music interfaces from (a) Live from Ableton.com , the Figure app for iOS from properllerheads.se, and the music plugins from valhalladsp.com

nothing wrong with flatter, and that certainly doesnt mean it has a windows look or anything else. flatter is just another style that can have many of its own graphical flairs with a simpler, cleaner look.
instead of text bubbles, maybe we can get some foggy/blurry semi transparent backdrops to text. which i enjoy more. i doubt it will look like the mess that windows is. so im not worried. just excited to see what it turns out like.

All iOS really needs is a up to the minute weather and a small toggle widget or added to the notification center.. that is all

it will be great to change a few things, making a better design, but they should not delete anything that ios already have, instead, they should add more functions and hopefully it will make a better experience on ios

I am new to ios and while I do like some of the more simplistic designs popular today (pure google is beautifull) and think apple is in for a redesign, I like the 3d elements used in ios. The realism of some of the apps gives each app a different look which makes the design less stale. There is also not really anyone NOT using the bare simple look so apple is different in that respect. I think apple should balance both simple and 3d and make some of the realistic designs more tastefull rather than eliminating them altogether. Otherwise designs between android, apple, Ubuntu, blackberry and Firefox will become harder to distinguish. I may have to post up some mockups in the forum of what i means :-)

Now that it's pretty obvious we're getting a new UI desgin all the skeuomorphic fans crawl out of the woodwork to complain.

No one wants to see windows 8 colored tiles anywhere near our beautiful iMac screens....period. Mininalism an ugly lazy design, plain and simple. Apple skeumophic and realistic designs are what separates Apple from the rest. Can it be done more tastefully and subdued, maybe, yes I think so. So yes, I, will crawl out of the woodwork to voice my opinion against completely lame design ideal of minimalism. Skuemophism and realism does make it easier to tell what going on the screen too.

"You went full flat, man. Never go full flat!"
Seriously I was looking forward to flatter design, much like some of the amazing new icon sets floating around the web these days, but never to the extent of full flatness like Windows Phone.

WOW ARE THEY SERIOUS? IT IS WRONG WITH COMPANY ? COMON ? DO THEY NOT READ THE BLOGS? WE DON'T WANT LESS WE WANT MORE! WTF AND SHAKING MY HEAD.....

Somehow I have this feeling that most people don't really care whether the design is skeuomorphic or flat, they just want to see something new and shiny...

I'd like to see some design changes, icon changes and some other additions. But I don't want the iOS to give up on skeuomorphism all together!

I don't think the skeuomorphism should necessarily be eliminated entirely, as some of it can look good and even be useful in some cases. I just think it needs to be toned down a bit; we could do without the fake textures and stuff like that. I'm looking forward to seeing what direction Mr. Ive is going to go with iOS and its design.

Considering how jerky iOS 3-6 have been on the 3g and 4g iPods, this may be a welcome change here.

Though the best option would be to allow personalization options for the user to decide what they want to see.

Can some one show the difference of what this would look like. It's like you are only talking to the tech heads.

It's about time they put some iOS interface style of the day, because it is always the same since the beginning, and from a list of applicable asked in bulk, there's really nothing.
This is one of the reasons that made me leave my <a href="http://iphone5-fr.com/" >iphone 5</a>

Sounds like it's time for a Galaxy S4. If Apple is going to emulate Windows 8, what's the point?