Report: Apple design guru Ive pushing for simplified iOS 7


Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive is lobbying to make the next version of the company's iOS mobile operating system simpler and more minimalist, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Jony Ive Apple iOS 7

Jony Ive

Last fall, Ive--famed for his sleek, contemporary hardware design sensibilities--assumed control of Apple's Human Interface efforts in addition to his Industrial Design duties, a change prompted by the exit of Scott Forstall, the firm's longtime senior vice president of iOS software. Insiders say that while Apple historically kept its software and hardware staffs in different silos, the culture is changing, and Ive now regularly sits in on the Human Interface team's review sessions to vet new designs.

Developers who've spoken to Apple maintain that Ive is pushing for iOS 7 to adopt a "flat design" that is more modernized than previous iterations of the platform. Late last year, The New York Times reported Ive opposes Apple's longstanding reliance on skeuomorphism, a digital design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured gray backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. There is already evidence that Apple is shifting away from skeuomorphic principles: On Thursday, the company released an updated version of its Podcasts application for iOS, abandoning the tape deck-inspired UI elements of the previous version in favor of a "now playing" screen recalling Apple's stock Music app. Even so, sources nevertheless said they expect any iOS 7 design changes to be fairly conservative.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO Thorsten Heins said the pace of mobile innovation has left Apple in the dust, calling its iPhone user interface outdated. Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Heins said new smartphones like BlackBerry's Z10 and Samsung's Galaxy S4 have eclipsed the iPhone: "Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market... They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that. The rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed, you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old."

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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