Tim Cook's WWDC

Eight month ago Tim Cook did to Apple's management what his predecessor, Steve Jobs famously did their product line years before, and during WWDC 2013 keynote, we saw the first major results of that decision.

Where Jobs had drawn a grid and filled it with products, with the intersections of portable and desktop, consumer and professional, Cook filled his grid with people, with the unification of hardware and software design, of iOS and OS X software, of all internet services, and with core technologies.

While this doesn't seem to have overly affected OS X or Mac, it has a profound affect on iOS 7.

But first that OS X and those Macs. Switching away from the big cat names is sensible -- to highlight the exhaustion of options, Craig Federighi joked it might be called Sea Lion. Settling on beaches is a fine alternative even if Mavericks in particular, being plural, is a tad awkward in use. OS X 10.9 Mavericks includes some new features for power users, including Finder Tabs, Tags, and proper support for multiple displays. It also offers iCloud Keychain for password management and advanced technologies to improve batter life and performance. And it brings iOS iBooks and Maps back to the Mac. It also has actionable notifications -- something I'd really hoped we'd see on iOS -- and a new Calendar that Federighi joked harmed no virtual cows and required no stitching to stick to the screen. (Remember that.)

Mavericks interface looked Snow Leopard consistent, the chrome verging on monotonous, but overall it was a home run for Apple, making one of the most mature, most solid operating systems in the world better again by a year.

As is increasingly the case, the new OS X software magnified the new Mac hardware. In this case, new MacBook Airs with Haswell processors (and without Retina displays -- thanks again, laws of physics!). Instead of power, the focus on the new Airs was battery life, which is fitting for an ultralight. If you want performance, you go pro, If you want maximum portability backed up by 9 to 12 hours of battery life -- for the 11- 13-inch models respectively -- you go Air. (It makes you wonder when Air will leave Intel for ARM and hard-sprint for 24hrs...)

If you want new right now, Air is also your only option, because the new MacBook Pros with Haswell weren't announced and will almost certainly follow at a later date.

What was announced -- even though its own release will follow at a much later date -- was the all new Mac Pro. And... it looked like Cylon technology. Nowhere nearly as upgradable as Mac Pros past -- not even the GPUs can be swapped out -- it's only 1/8th the volume. That makes it far more Ferrari than Escalade, just as high end but without all the seats in the back, but it also makes it a symbol of where Apple is going. Or as Phil Schiller put it in the line of the night:

Apple isn't innovating anymore? My ASS!

The Mac Pro has joined the same future as the MacBook Air and Mac Pro, Mac Mini and iMac. And it sits right on top of all of them.

The Macs, like OS X, were knocked out of the park. iOS 7 is a far, far tougher call.

As easily as I can lavish praise on Apple's OS X and Mac efforts, I find iOS 7 a much more difficult subject to broach. It's different -- so different it'll take me some time to unpack everything in it, and sort immediate reactions to those differences from legitimate praise and complaints.

Firstly, it's beta 1, and I can't stress that enough. It's not finished. Apple couldn't even release the iPad version of the beta to developers for testing yet.

8 month ago Tim Cook changed iOS' leadership and the direction it was going, and they've been going at a breakneck pace ever since to overhaul not only the interface, but the approach iOS takes to human interaction.

iOS now looks fundamentally different than OS X, breaking some of the familiarity Apple had spent the last couple of versions creating. Heavy textures are gone here as well -- Notes retains a subtle one -- and a joke was also managed at green felt's expense. (Remember that too.)

The goal seems to have been to simplify, to make consistent, and, as always, to delight. And... it's not quite there yet.

Based on what was shown off at the keynote, while spatially similar, the new Homescreen icons are a strange blend of gradient that run in different directions and over what's usually a comfortable amount of edge padding. While Apple said they adhere to a new visual grid system. They don't all look balanced and in some places have, for the first time, an engineered rather than designed feel to them. The combination of ultra-thin Helvetica and monochromatic palette in some places also feels difficult quickly parse.

New live wallpapers that move based on the accelerometer, combined with a layered parallax effect that "floats" icons above it, and badges above both, is enthralling. The dynamic blur effect applied to lower layers, which much be hugely computationally expensive, is likewise impressive.

Yet not enough was shown to get an idea of how consistent the direct manipulation would be, how well the physics would work, and how polished the interfaces in all the core apps would actually turn out.

When you go flat, typography becomes incredibly important, and that also didn't look done yet.

Functionally speaking, Apple didn't show the same actionable notifications for iOS as they did OS X, which is less than great. They did show improved multitasking which promises to monitor our activities and grant greater background privileges to the apps we use most often, and also to let them update themselves based on events like push-notifications. (Hopefully that means when you're told you get a new Tweet, it actually downloads it then and there, rather than having to pull it at launch.) Geeks got Control Center for all their quick toggles, and it, like Notification Center, can also be called up now from the Lock screen. We also got AirDrop, to more easily, directly share files.

Though it wasn't clear whether it worked only between iOS devices, or between iOS and OS X as well, it was clear Apple hasn't lost their sting -- Federighi made fun of Android having to bump their phones to share.

Overall, however, for iOS 7 I still have far more questions than answers, both in terms of how mainstream users will feel when they download it and their entire interface changes, and how I will feel using it day in, day out.

Apple still has a half-dozen or so betas to get through before launch this fall, and everything from individual icons (you know which ones you are) to spacing to physics could end up redrawn, re-padded, and re-jiggered by then, so there's no pointing harping on, or lavishing praise on, the details just yet.

Either way, however,uUnlike OS X and Mac, iOS 7's new design language will likely be highly divisive. That's fine for apps, but we'll see how it turns out when it's an entire OS.

The one thing that's clear, though: Tim Cook's willingness to show off a product that, while perfect for the venue was still still months from market, to openly mock the stitched leather and green felt of previous versions, to change naming schemes and entire interfaces, to let his people -- Jony Ive and Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller run the ball as a team rather than a set of individuals -- made manifest Cook's decisions from back in October.

How all of it ultimately pans out this year and in year's to come doesn't matter right now. All that matters is that Tim Cook did it, and let his team do it.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

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

Tim Cook's WWDC

58 Comments

Ive been waiting for that geeky feature for 4 years now. Honestly I'm disappointed it took the them this long.

I thought Craig Federighi did a great job presenting and demoing yesterday. I'm also hoping that they bring the quick reply to iOS in a future beta

Sent from the iMore App

The Mac Pro shows where Apple is going...and it is abandoning the high end customers that comprise the current Mac Pro market.

They getting ready for a whole new crop of high end customers who realize they can do professional work without being stuck on decades-old form factors.

Yes, as a vendor, I would much rather have customers who would rather spend $4000 every couple of years to replace the entire machine rather than $500 to upgrade the GPU.

Not quite so sure pro customers feel that way.

That Mac Pro is now designed with specific pros in mind, not necessarily with expandibilty in mind. The new Mac Pro is far more powerful, far smaller, and far simpler; Apple's betting that's what most pros want. It's for photographers, designers and videographers; not 'geeks'.

Geeks are not an issue here; photographers and videographers at the high end are the exact people who need these expansion options, not geeks.

Agreed Apple is betting that pros will want what this design offers more than expandability, but that does not change the fact that those who do rely on this expandability have been abandoned without a transition path.

Computers are the same as they were even five years ago. No serious person builds their computers from scratch like we did 10 or 15 years ago. With the current chipsets, CPUs GPUs, RAM and especially SSD's, the need to upgrade components every few years because some new chip can eeek out a fraction of a percentage of performance is almost gone. In five years, a high end graphics artist will likely purchase a whole new rig.
Computers today, especially the ones Apple put out, last over time.

I'm that much closer to leaving Windows for a Mac. Loved the new features.

For iOS 7, while I'm in no way switching to anything else, I like (love) some of the new features but could end up disliking the design. I only say that because I'm sure it'll change a bit. Right now, it looks like an unwanted mess for some things for me.

When I think of Apple, I think elegant, just works. This new..modern?..childish?..design doesn't appeal to me. But again, I'm thinking we haven't seen it all. I'm usually more of a black background, let the icons and other things pop on that background kind of user. I don't really care about icons or what they look like. I only need to know what they represent. I don't sit and stare at the homescreen or icons.

But it's inside the apps that concern me more. The bottom of safari for instance. What's up with those lines..buttons..whatever. Photos? I don't keep YEARS of photos on a device. Heck, photostream even is limited to 1000 right? I don't use filters (keep it simple apple, if i want more, i'll download an app). The message app looks terrible. No quick reply? How about time stamps at least?

But back to basics. If I were Apple, I'd stick to elegant (while losing the green felt and bookshelves). I want eye candy. Just works. Polished. Please stay away from looking "metro-ish." Keep things consistent in navigating inside of apps.

Those criticisms are fair, but I think the Messages app looks beautiful. It's cleaner, more legible, lighter, cleaner and likely, because if its flatness, will lead to things like longer battery life.

I read a post yesterday that said to remember that Ive took over and redesigned the whole of iOS in 7 months. That's an achievement. I'm sure they'll clean it up more before release later in the year. And I'm sure iOS 8 will be much cleaner, again.

Lost in all the discussion of typography (which I like) and iconography (which I hate) in iOS7 is an incredibly exciting feature in iOS7 -- the background download APIs. When developers take advantage of this, it is going to make every apps initial state feel much more responsive.

I was wondering when you would post something. Your opinion was the one that interested me most. Looking forward to a podcasts discuss this rather abrupt departure of familiar. I too am not too sure how I feel entirely. I absolutely LOVE the new functionality. They are things that cements my continuance with the platform. I am uncertain and in fact dislike what I see on some of the icons, and hope that they will be retouched before final release.

This is a make or break year for Apple. It is a year that may serve as compass for them, directing them in years to come. I think they succumbed to a lot of pressure, and I am not sure if it was all necessary. We all wanted change, the media wanted change, and Apple sure did give it. Maybe they were trying to accomplish too much change at once? It seems as though we (the complainers) can´t be pleased.

I think iOS 7 looks awesome and as all you are complaining just remember everything your complaining about probably and most likely is being thought of and improved by apple as we speak ..I mean do u think they really aren't discussing quick response for messaging and all that .they are apple after all . And they are for the people an simplicity seems to be there main goal and I for one think they did a spectacular job redesigning the iOS it's exciting and new.Llot of people don't like change and therefor will find everything and anything to wine about .me though ...I love change and especially when it's for the good .this is exciting and a vibrant time for apple and its consumers and I am greatly anticipating the upgrade

Sent from the iMore App

Well we are not in disagreement. I expressed my approval of the new look, except a number of icons. But that is very subjective. I am sure they are going to be adding new features with time and even before the final version is released. This is only beta 1.

As times goes one, we see the Apple culture is being retained in what can be a considered a very different Apple. They seem to do things a little differently, so let´s see how this all plays out. Even though this iOS might not be what everyone wanted (and that will never happen) it is most decisively better than what we have now. For me, controls settings and multitasking cards is enough to cement my decision.

Yes, they ARE Apple, after all - the same company that leaves out essential functionality while focusing on the inessential.

Let's judge their work for what it is, not just what we hope. And let's not break our arms patting ourselves on the back for being open to change, but not critiques of it.

They could have done twice as much and people would still say they needed more. Such thinking is like the episode of the Simpsons, where Homer was given the charge to design a car, he added so many features that he drove the company to ruin, the features were not needed or practical. They added most of what we needed and nothing that we did not. I say almost since actionable notifications would have been icing on the cake.

I'm sick of all these design snobs ragging on iOS 7. They were so worried Apple would pull a Windows 8 on them and when Apple didn't they don't know what to say. But all that needs to be stairs really is embodied in the standing ovation it got at WWDC. I think the average user will love iOS 7 and the new functionality. I'm really excited to see what they saved for the new iPhone launch.

Just to be clear. This is nowhere in the same league as the blunder MS made with windows 8. If anything, i'm indifferent about it. It was nothing I wanted but it won't keep me from upgrading or sticking with apple. I'm more about features but features that work well, not just tacked on for the heck of it.

Others, I'm sure, will upgrade or even switch to Apple just to get to this new redesign. They'll love it. It'll be their highlight. That's great. Everyone has different wants and needs..

A standing ovation means less when your front rows are largely populated by employees, stockholders, and other insiders.

It's kind of like having a picture of Jony Ive as your avatar while calling others "design snobs." not exactly screaming "objectivity."

Were you there? It went well beyond the employee rows. A few criticisms of the individual icons, but overall, everyone here at WWDC is pleased.

No. Did you talk to EVERYone there? Doubtful because not everyone who was there or saw it was pleased.

Only minor changes and usually "hidden" For example, those that are hoping for sms quick reply must be sure that this will not be included on the final version or will be included on iphone 5s or whatever they call it because it will be more "capable" of running quick reply :p

OK. To me, it seems like they got the overall concept and a lot of the interaction design down, while the visuals look unfinished. The visual design is perhaps easier to fix than the more fundamental stuff. Let's hope redesigning icons and typography counts as "minor changes"! :)

iOS 7 looks solid - fills in most of the blanks which were attracting me to Android (yes not all but enough). Obviously design is 100% subjective so whether you like it or not is up to you. Can't wait to see the final version and looking forward to unreleased features that will most certainly come with the introduction of the next iPhone in the fall!

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Same here! multitasking & control center are welcome additions. The updated browser is great along with features to manage the phone with one hand. I think the feature that people do not appreciate now but will in the fall is the background functions that refresh apps so that they are ready on the fly, I hate waiting and this feature will do away with the hate!

"Obviously design is 100% subjective"

When you have diehard Apple guys like Jason Santa Maria calling the iOS 7 UI amazing, but the app icons ugly. That's not subjective. They are ugly. Not all of them, but most. Game Center icon? What? Camera? Settings? Confusingly bad. I hope they listen to the feedback they are getting right now. Those icons are ugly, some of the buttons and fonts are hard to see, but most of the UX is very good. The best part is the things they need to fix are purely visual tweaks.

I'll have a dedicated post up about iOS 7 later today. I need to watch it several times to make sure I can fully unpack it. It's the most divisive and dense part of WWDC, and Apple in years.

I think iOS 7 is a great first step. Considering that Apple just overhauled their entire mobile UI in 7-8 months is impressive. Now, let's give them a chance to finish it. If it stays exactly as it is right now, that would be a little disappointing, but I have a feeling that won't be the case. They have 2 1/2 months of betas ahead to polish and refine, and I look forward to seeing the end result.

The encouraging thing for me is Apple's willingness to finally let go of their aging UI and interface conventions. They've moved on. With a full dev cycle ahead for iOS 8, I'm excited to see if this trend of taking iOS in different directions will continue.

The only thing I really would like to see is a better way of inter-app communication. While actionable notifications are nice I pretty much have the decision to act or not with today's notifications and that's not really a pain point. What is a pain point is dealing with sending a file around the many apps that I have without having too many dupes.

The Mac Pro is stunning to me. I really don't care about internal expandability because it's really all about arrays handling the large scale storage and optical drives are passé. What's needed is brute force speed and the new Mac Pro does this in a tiny package.

iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks are steps in the right direction and quell any notion that innovation has left Cupertino. They aren't perfect but they tick off a lot of checkboxes.

I doubt Apple would go there. They seem to really like sandboxing. However, just setting up documents the same way they do Photos and the Camera Roll would be a huge step in the right direction. Just put them all in one shared bin, where the user can grant an app the ability to access and use them.

I can't speak to OS X since I am a Windows PC person though and though. I can speak as an Apple mobile device user (heavy user). I am not impressed with IOS 7. Yes, the new live wallpapers that move based on the accelerometer, combined with a layered parallax effect, is nice and impressive. That is about it. Apple has become the BORG of the Mobile community. Yeah, maybe a little harsh, but I believe true. Everything I have seen, either exists as a jail broken app (and i have to say thanks to Apple, I can eliminate 2 more jail broken apps that they have FINALLY implemented. 1- Unlimited apps in a folder and 2- any app running in background) or exists as a free/paid app in the app store.

iRadio is just a poor imitation of Pandora or a slew of other streaming radio apps (I, myself prefer iHeartRadio).

AirDrop? There is iTransfer, Bump and a slew of other apps that do the same thing.

The way we will be switching apps? A new card metaphor for app switching first appeared on the ill-fated Palm Pre in 2009.

Siri? I have been using Google voice in google search. I have to tell you, it BLOWS away Siri

Name me something in the past 2 years that Apple is implementing that is truly revolutionary? Not evolutionary. You give me something in IOS 7, and I’ll find an app that does the same thing.

Their GUI changes are an answer to the way Android looks.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not an Apple hater. I LOVE their mobile devices. I am invested in Apple (the hundreds of $$$ in Apps and hardware add-on’s). I hope they succeed. But they have a lot of competition out there now. Trust me, I am NOT an Android fan. I have my issues with them as well. I can be so critical of Apple because I CARE. If I didn’t care, then I would be hopping onto the next great device. I have an iPhone 4S, iPad 3 (“new” iPad) and an iPad mini. I just expected more from Apple. To LEAD instead of follow. And to tell you the true, not much has changed in the past few years. Yeah, some hardware improvements. But again, they are falling behind in that regard as well.

I know I will be getting a lot of flak from this, but hey, someone has to be the bad guy. Lol

My contract will be up soon on my iPhone 4S. I HOPE HOPE HOPE that iPhone 5S (or even better iPhone 6) is not a retread of iPhone 5. GIVE me something to sink my teeth into Apple!

Thanks for listening.

Oops, and HOW can I forget SBSettings. Another Jailbreak app that Apple finally implemented. So it is less important to jailbreak in every release. Still will jailbreak for IntelliScreen, Winterboard, etc. But I might not wait till the jailbreak community jailbreaks IOS 7 to upgrade to it. I can live without some of the features until then.

I just had to laugh when watching the keynote. How people clapped, and whoo-hooed, at every "new" feature. As if it was the best thing since sliced bread. lol

Been using those features for awhile now. Thanks Apple for coming to the party, finally.

I appreciate that these features might not do it for you, but they will open up a whole bunch of functionality for many users. If they're baked into the OS you don't have to worry about whether someone has a certain app, go find it, etc.

And I really think we need to get over any hope of revolutionary new anything. We've had the revolution and, barring radically new tech, annual updates are only going to be evolutionary.

I agree with the idea of baked-in implementations. As you said, makes it easier if everyone has the same apps to communicate. Of course, that really only applies to AirDrop. And even THAT pisses me off. lol It only works on IOS 5 and above. So much for not finding another app. There is still a large community of iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS out there. I know they are using the latest WiFi communications. But would it have killed them to "drop-down" to whatever the lowest common denominator you are transferring with? I mean really.

Yeah I know, I LOVE to complain. lol. But these things just peeve me.

I tell you what I did like about the keynote. I liked they way Tim showed the fragmentation of Android!! lol That was a hoot. And I know how it is, i had an HTC Inspire 4G. Bought it new and it became obsolete within a week. lol. Plus at&t doesn't upgrade the op sys after a year. THANKS you Apple for keeping iPhone 3GS (somewhat) and iPhone 4 relevant!

One thing tho, i WISH I could get Swiftkey for iPhone! Whew! It was the BEST keyboard app I have ever used. I made less mistakes with that keyboard than any other. And i have FAT fingers. hahaha

Mavericks is actually an offshore "break" rather than a beach -- far offshore. So the big question is, will the next OS X version be named after another surfing break?

May I propose "Killer Dana"? I think I just did...

According to Wikipedia, OS X versions will now be named after places in California that have inspired the software engineering team.

I for one am a huge fan of iOS 7. I've owned multiple iPhones since the 3G was released and have been getting quite bored with it as it's been largely the same for the past few years. iOS 7 was the perfect refresh to quell my temptation for switching to another platform (I was seriously considering the HTC One as my upgrade just became available). I am now convinced to stay with Apple and iOS which will make my life easier since I'm so entirely invested in the Apple ecosystem.

While iOS 7 came easily be looked at as just a facelift, it's a necessary one that Apple needed to implement to stay with the times. I certainly embrace this change in the UI as it looks different enough to feel completely new yet still entirely familiar. While a lot of the new tweaks have been taken from the jailbreak community (Control Center, a more refined Notifications Center, Live Wallpapers, etc.) it's all been done in typical Apple fashion.

It amazes me that the people criticizing the new UI refresh are most likely the same people who have been begging for it for years. This is truly the biggest change in iOS since the introduction of the first iPhone. It was much needed to help keep people interested in buying a new iDevice and to make their current lineup of products feel new again. Apple has done this all in a way that it will still feel completely natural to any current iOS user but still look and act a little different underneath everything.

To people criticizing things such as Airdrop and iTunes Radio, why be bothered by Apple introducing products that will come already included on the iOS device itself. I for one would rather have an app such as airdrop already included on my phone so that I know I don't have to search for and download the app as well as make sure the user I'm trying to share something with has the same compatible app just to share something.

Call me a fanboy or iSheep or whatever but I find the iOS 7 has been the least disappointing release in the past few years. I'd like to see a Quick Reply style service included but who's to say that won't be a feature introduced later on. That's my two cents on this topic.

My thoughts exactly. It's missing a few things I'd like to see - a files.app and inter-app operability, I guess actionable notifications also. I think the new design cues are actually much more functional as well.

"Apple isn't innovating anymore."

"Innovating" is a tech geek's distraction. These products are meant to have mass appeal not simply for the tech enthusiast. And the average consumer does not buy a product based simply on whether it is "innovative." They don't care if you're first they care if, by their own perception you're best. Tesla's are innovative. I want one. And Toyota will still outsell the. Coke isn't new or innovative. People still buy it over newer soft drinks. Looke at the console wars. Xbox One has all kinds of newer ideas like fancy drm, and digital download models. And Sony comes in and goes retro, Discs, used games, no licensing, and basically they've "won E3" in a blowout. People like the Sony product because it fit's their idea of what's best. Palm innovated multitasking with their cards. Nobody wants WebOS but webOS lovers though and nobody bought their products until they went on firesale. They were innovative and it didn't matter. Being first to market isn't always the determining factor in a business sense and these are for profit businesses. Is apple innovating? I don't know but I don't care. The better question are the additions any good to the average consumer?

i agree tim cook and his team put on an extremely good impressive show however i think that now apple has unveiled IOS 7 and made such a big deal over the interface it would be a bad idea to go back and change everything which they probably won't but still despite it only just being released for testing i think we can pass comment on certainly a few things

Mavericks looks awesome and I'm excited to install it on my MBA when it ships.

I was also hoping for files.app, inter-app operability and actionable notifications in iOS 7. Looks good otherwise. I will postpone my move to an HTC One until after I have installed iOS7 on my iPhone 4S and played with it. I'll give it a fair shot and may upgrade to a 5S when it ships.

Rene: Dont give up hope for actionable notifications. I'm a little bit old and memory isn't as good as it used to be, but I think Siri was withheld from betas and introduced at final launch or so. With OSX having actionable notifications, one could summize there is a high probability that final release of iOS7 will too.

Rene,

I largely agree with your assesment. I like a lot of the new design changes and enhancements, but the issue with the icons does bother me. As someone who has had some design experience, the rub is the inconsistancy between them - there isn't something that unifies them and says - 'hey! I'm a native iOs7 app!'. In iOS6, you at least had the button 'shine and hightlight' to make things partially cohesive. Now that is totally gone, and you have icons with gradient backgrounds, and icons without. You have icons with dark to light gradients, and icons with light to dark gradients. You have icons that are totally 'flat', and icons that have 3d shiny bubbles on them (Game Center). You have icons that are dark and almost 'Goth', and icons that are bright and technicolor. There is literally nothing that unifies them, and that is what bothers people. And some of them are just plain ugly. I haven't heard a single person say they liked the Safari icon. Everyone hates it. Or the new Settings icon. Or Newsstand. Why this matters is that the expectation of something coming from Apple was that we would see AMAZING design esthetics! That's what they're known for. Tim Cook bragged and bragged that Johhny Ive has the best taste in the WORLD! But I think that level of 'amazing' is missing in places - and tragically - on the screen you'll probably see the most often. I have already seen 4 or 5 alternative iOS7 icon sets posted on the web, and sadly, ALL of them look better than what Apple has done. You would think icons would be fairly straight forward to get right. There may be limits to Johhny Ives taste after all...

I also had an additional thought - the candy-colored theme you see in the icons may portend the colors of yet-to-be released iPhone models. Colored phones are coming, if rumors are right.