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?