The rumor mill has been churning out claims that Apple is planning to show a refreshed version of iOS this year that's flatter than previous iterations, and today yet another such report has surfaced. 9to5Mac claims to have been told by sources that iOS 7 will indeed sport a new, flat look that one tipster says will drop all of the gloss and skeuomorphism that's built up inside Apple's mobile platform. Another source has described iOS 7 as being "very, very flat," while an additional tipster compared iOS 7's level of flatness as being near Windows Phone's tiled look.
Along with this new flattened look, it's rumored that iOS 7 (which is reportedly codenamed "Innsbruck") will feature new icons for Apple's built-in applications. The tool bars, tab bars and another basic features of iOS 7 will also purportedly be getting a makeover.
Apple is also said to be interested in adding more glanceable information and panels to iOS 7. One example that's said to have been kicked around is the ability to swipe from the left and right of an iOS device's display to bring up new panels. However, it's not yet known how Apple will ultimately implement this feature or if it will at all.
Although Apple is reportedly bringing a fresh look to iOS with the next major update to the platform, 9to5Mac says that the basics of the OS will remain unchanged. For example, both the lock and home screens of iOS 7 are expected to function in a manner similar to how they operate today in iOS 6.
Apple SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive is said to be leading the charge behind this new look of iOS. Ive took over the Human Interface (UI and UX) team with the exit of Scott Forstall last year, and it's been rumored that Ive has been pushing for a "starker and simpler" iOS in his meetings with the software teams. iOS has received some criticism for being overly skeuomorphic in some areas, including the felt textures of the Game Center app and the yellow paper of the Notes app.
While all of the information included in today's report is still very much a rumor at this point, it does seem to jive with what we've been hearing about iOS 7 so far. iOS hasn't really received any major makeovers since it debuted on the original iPhone in 2007, and so while it sounds like the basics of iOS will remain the same in iOS 7, a flatter look and fresh set of built-in app icons could help to give iOS the refresh that many users have been waiting for.
In recent years, Apple has used its Worldwide Developers Conference as a way to give the first public look at its next major version of iOS. As part of Apple's announcement of WWDC 2013, SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller teased that his company "can’t wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into [developers'] hands at WWDC," so it sounds like Apple is planning to give a peek at iOS 7 at its upcoming conference. The 2013 edition of WWDC is scheduled to take place from June 10-14.