The Future of iOS Is Looking Flat

The odds are looking good that Apple will ditch the textured, bubbly look of its iOS software in favor of something more modern

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The odds are looking good that Apple will ditch the textured, bubbly look of its iOS software in favor of something more modern.

Citing “multiple people who have either seen or have been briefed” on iOS 7, 9to5Mac reports that the software for iPhones and iPads will sport a flatter look:

The new interface is said to be ‘very, very flat,’ according to one source. Another person said that the interface loses all signs of gloss, shine, and skeuomorphism seen across current and past versions of iOS. Another source framed the new OS as having a level of ‘flatness’ approaching recent releases of Microsoft’s Windows Phone ‘Metro’ [user interface].

We’ve heard a similar story before. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, was pushing for a flatter look across iOS.

A few questions come to mind:

  • Given that both Windows Phone and Android have pushed toward modern software aesthetics, this seems like a rare instance where Apple is following the pack. Can Apple flatten out iOS in a way that seems fresh and original?
  • How big of a shift will this be for users? Will user-interface elements work differently or is this strictly an aesthetic change?
  • To what extent will the changes affect third-party apps, and how much work will they have to do to flatten out their own software?

We’ll likely find out on June 10, when Apple kicks off its Worldwide Developers Conference. The company is promising an “in-depth look at what’s next in iOS and OS X” during the event.

7 comments
AlanL.Ricketts
AlanL.Ricketts

I don't understand the benefits of FLAT APPS.   Can anyone explain?

BradFoley
BradFoley

Windows better sue them for copyright infringement. Bet Samsung would cheer.

zitrogabriel
zitrogabriel like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

If they switch and make a more modern flat design, they have to be careful they do not "copy" all the other companies out there. Given how Apple went out of their way to sue left and right for alleged copying, other companies would not take kindly to Apple deviating from their design. They have established what their OS is, and if they move from that now it would be a sign to all other companies to make a move. I'm not saying this is going to happen, just saying that Apple is between a rock and a hard place after years of saying that their design is best and talking down other innovative OS' like Windows 8 or Android 4.2 Jellybean.

JoeCogan
JoeCogan

Why on Earth would Apple want to make their UI more like Metro? I can't think of an uglier, less appealing UI.

harveylubin
harveylubin

@JoeCogan

If this rumor about less skeuomorphism in iOS turns out to be true, I doubt that the revised design will look anything like Metro or Android. With Jon Ives leading the design team, we will probably see major usability improvements that will be unique and innovative.