Jonathan Ive rumored to be working on new Mail, Calendar apps for future versions of iOS

Jonathan Ive rumored to be working on new Mail, Calendar apps for future versions of iOS

We've already heard from multiple sources that Apple's vice president of design, Jony Ive, has been working on making iOS flatter and more refined, but now he's also rumored to be working on brand new Mail and Calendar apps as well. It's not clear right now whether a complete revamp of such core personal information management software would be ready in time for iOS 7 this year, or for iOS 8 next year, but the focus sounds interesting. According to Bloomberg:

Ive, 46, has begun revamping iPhone and iPad applications, shunning realistic images, such as wood bookshelves for the Newsstand feature, and he’s exploring more dramatic changes to the e-mail and calendar tools, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

More than just re-skins, as the changes in system-wide interface design seems to be at this point, Ive is also said to be re-thinking software usability, the way he's traditionally rethought hardware.

Software design involves the graphical style of images on the screen, as well as the deeper experience of how a user progresses through a given task, such as the steps needed for deleting an e-mail or entering a calendar item.

While there have been incremental changes over the years, including unified inbox, VIP inbox, threaded messages, week view, etc. Mail and Calendar's core interfaces are the same as when they were introduced back in 2007. Since then, different takes on the concept, including apps like Mailbox, Gmail, Fantastical, Horizon Calendar and more, have gained tremendous popularity. So much so, many have expressed a desire for the ability to switch default status away from Apple's built-in apps and to third party apps. Obviously, for Apple, that's less than ideal. Hopefully this means they not only know it, but they're actively working on leaping it forward again.

We should see more at WWDC 2013. What would you expect in a next-generation Mail and Calendar app from Jony Ive?

Source: Bloomberg

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Jonathan Ive rumored to be working on new Mail, Calendar apps for future versions of iOS


Have feeling that Jony will be the new Steve Jobs. so I believe in him and sure something amazing is coming!

Maybe Ive will allow us to swipe left and right between messages. Maybe he'll even steal some cues from the Facebook App and Blackberry 10--a hub of messages. How futuristic!

Maybe Ive will accelerate Apple past the point of playing catch up. I, however, unfortunately will not wait. I must have the Blackberry Q10.

Highlander: The Flattening

I'm not looking forward to the rumored changed. Skeuomorphism isn't bad. It just requires balance. Getting rid of it completely would bug me.

You can't get rid of skeuomorphism, but you can simmer down the realism. The calculator application on Android is as skeuomorph as the iOS calculator. Same with the calendar. A common misconception is that skeuomorphism means something is realistic looking. That's not correct. Skeuomorphism means that something is supposed to act or resemble something in the real world. A calculator on a smartphone (or desktop) acts just like a calculator you hold in your hand, but it doesn't look like a REAL calculator, even though it functions like a calculator and resembles a calculator-like object. Ive can flatten iOS and it would still be as skeuomorphic as it currently is. Personally -- I would be thrilled if they got rid of the "realism" because it's very stale and -- honestly -- a little over the top for a digital product.

Re: "You can't get rid of skeuomorphism..."

Yes. You. Can.

Re: "Skeuomorphism means that something is supposed to act or resemble something in the real world."

iBooks. Wooden. Book. Shelf.
Looks and acts like a real wooden book shelf.
Lots of wasted pixels there.

It's been almost 7 years since the original iPhone was introduced; it's pretty sad that Apple's apps have not improved. Third party apps have unfortunately become the default apps instead of Apple's. Thank goodness someone who knows what they are doing is now in charge of making Apple's apps "cool" once again. Go Sir Ive!!

yes but that is the beauty of the app store is not for Apple's default apps to be the only things you need on the phone. I understand that without being able to switch which apps are used by default it is kind of stupid to have better apps that will do the job. However having the better apps is what the app store is there for to provide users alternatives to apps and features that Apple wont make or provide.

Nothing personal but the headline is ridiculous.

Somehow Jony Ive has gone from just a guy having general oversight of the UI design process to actually *writing* the Mail and Calendar Apps himself? I don't believe it, but that's what your headline says.

Jony Ive will now *personally* create all the software for us? Balderdash!

He has a larger role then just a "general oversight" of the UI. Just because you may not code something doesn't mean you can't create it. If he laying out a redesign of how these applications function, then all a software developer is doing is putting his directions into code. I don't think the headline gave any indication he was actually doing the coding on this one but if he says something should change, then it will get updated to reflect his idea.

What they should do with these apps has little to do with the design, and that is break them out of the OS proper, so they can be updated independently instead of on lockstep with a full iOS release. It would give them less to talk about on stage at iOS events, (which is likely why they will not do it) but it would give Apple a lot more freedom to improve these apps. Such a formal division would also be a necessary step to allowing user-selectable default apps, something a segment of users want, but which probably will never be on Apple's radar.

Being able to create an event or a reminder from an email is essential to me keeping an empty and stress free inbox. When I open an email, it must leave my inbox, either archived or deleted, or transformed into a reminder or an event. That's true email management, not the procrastination enablement features of other mail apps where the email just keeps popping back into my inbox. That's not helpful to me. I want emails actually gone from my inbox after I open them. That would be an awesome Mail app.

I just wish Apple had done something with Sparrow when they had the chance. Such an elegant email experience that Google now owns.

I would venture to say that Ive is going to add some webOS elements to the OS....I would. The navigation inside apps/between apps is what needs to be addressed.

iOS is so long in the tooth it's starting to feel like BlackBerry OS5 or OS6.....and that's not a compliment.