Report: iOS 7 behind schedule, Apple scrambling to catch up

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Insiders say Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is scrambling to finalize the next version of its iOS mobile operating system in time for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled for mid-June.

"What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from [Mac] OS X 10.9 to work on it," states longtime Silicon Valley insider John Gruber on his Daring Fireball blog. Gruber notes Apple has previously shifted engineering resources in order to meet deadlines: In 2007, the company delayed the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard by four months in order to ship the first iPhone on time.

Gruber also reiterated rumors that iOS 7 will bring substantial user interface changes, likely causing the project to fall behind schedule. Gruber notes that iOS engineers with device-carry privileges "all have some sort of polarizing filter on their iPhone displays, such that it greatly decreases viewing angles, thus making it difficult for observers to see the apparently rather significant system-wide UI overhaul."

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive is lobbying to make iO7 simpler and more minimalist than previous iterations. Ive--famed for his sleek, contemporary hardware design sensibilities--assumed control of Apple's Human Interface efforts last fall 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. Developers who've spoken to Apple maintain that Ive is pushing for a "flat design" that shifts iOS away from its longtime 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 evolving past skeuomorphic principles: The company recently 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.

While Apple has declined to comment on any iOS changes, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the company will soon begin production of an overhauled iPhone similar in size and shape to its current model, setting up a possible summertime launch. Sources add that Apple also continues to work on a less-expensive four-inch iPhone that incorporates a different casing from its high-end predecessor.

For more:
- read this Daring Fireball post
- read this Verge article
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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