Apple's Jony Ive on iOS 7: 'It got design out of the way'

Now that iOS 7 is out in the world, it's no longer the domain of registered developers and others with special access. Millions of iOS users are downloading the new version and installing it on their devices, which leads many to questions about how and why the design decisions behind it were made. To answer those questions, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi and senior vice president of design Jony Ive sat down with USA Today.

Ive said that iOS and touchscreen interfaces on mobile devices have matured - and users are now comfortable with the interface. That's why Apple moved away from skeuomorphism - the mimicry of real world objects - in the new design.

"...there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way."

Federighi explained that iOS 7 represents the first iOS version created since Retina Displays were introduced with the iPhone 4. He mentioned the vast increases in graphics power newer iOS devices possess, and explained how that lead to some essential elements of iOS 7.

"Before, the shadowing effect we used was a great way to distract from the limitations of the display. But with a display that's this precise, there's nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography."

The iPhone 5c has disappointed critics who felt that, for the money, Apple should have packed more in under the hood, or charged less. Federighi says that in the end, specs are meaningless to most people. Most consumers, Federighi said, are more interested in what you can actually do with the device.

"My family cares about taking a good picture, not a megapixel count. We carry that through to all the decisions we make about our phone. What experience is it going to deliver? Not what number will it allow us to put on a spec sheet."

And if he wasn't designing techology, what would Ive like to design instead?

"I'd like to design cups."