'Dramatic changes' to Apple's iOS 7 said to include Calendar, Mail app overhauls

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Under the control of lead designer Jony Ive, iOS 7 will reportedly see a significant overhaul that is expected to bring about new looks for the native Calendar and Mail applications for iPhone and iPad.

Ive is said to be implementing "dramatic changes" to Apple's mobile operating system, according to unnamed sources who spoke with Bloomberg. Specifically, Ive has reportedly eschewed the "skeuomorphic" designs embraced by his predecessor, Scott Forstall, such as the wooden bookshelf look found in the current Newsstand folder of iOS 6.

iOS


Skeuomorphism is a term used to describe design elements that are made to resemble real-life objects. Examples of these can be seen throughout iOS, including the felt poker table feel of Game Center, and the leather-like textures featured in the Find My Friends application.

Ive is said to be an opponent of skeuomorphic designs, and reports from last year indicated he planned to remove such elements from iOS. Ive took over Apple's Human Interface responsibilities after Forstall, the previous chief of iOS development, was fired from the company.

Apparent sweeping changes being made to iOS 7 could cause delays, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. That echoes earlier claims that indicated development of iOS 7 was running behind schedule, prompting Apple to reportedly have OS X engineers pulled from their work to pitch in on the company's mobile efforts.

The report also repeated a detail earlier revealed by John Gruber of Daring Fireball: Those testing iOS 7 allegedly have a special film over their iPhone screens to obstruct what others can see, heightening security surrounding the development of Apple's next mobile operating system.

Apple still reportedly plans to release iOS 7 as soon as September, meeting the company's own internal projections. But deadlines for submitting features for testing are said to be at later dates than past releases.

"Ive is also methodically reviewing new designs, seeking to avoid a repeat of last year's release of map tools that were widely panned, and he's encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware divisions, which operated in silos under co-founder Steve Jobs, people said," author Adam Satariano wrote.

WWDC


In the cards are said to be even "bigger shifts" for applications such as Mail. But those plans may not be ready for the launch of iOS 7, and could debut in future releases, Wednesday's report indicated.

One future possibility cited in the report is gesture control. It was said that Ive has met with makers of gesture technology, exploring ways that users could control devices by moving their hands and without touching a screen. Such features are not expected to be introduced with iOS 7.

Apple has promised to showcase the next major version of iOS 7 and OS X at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled for June 10 through 14. Tickets for this year's conference sold out in a matter of seconds.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 139
    neilmneilm Posts: 598member
    There's a difference between gratuitous skeuomorphism (damn but that's a hard word to type!), for instance the truly nasty faux leather Address Book in recent OS X versions, and the discreet depiction of real life elements to give clues to a program's function. In recent years Apple has gone really overboard with the nasty stuff, and I'm greatly looking forward to the prospect of a sleeker Jony Ive version.
  • Reply 2 of 139
    bobringerbobringer Posts: 105member
    So...

    "Ive is also methodically reviewing new designs, seeking to avoid a repeat of last year's release of map tools that were widely panned, and he's encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware divisions, which operated in silos under co-founder Steve Jobs, people said," author Adam Satariano wrote.

    I probably buy a good amount of what is said in this article... and then when you come across a quote like this it makes me think said author has no clue what he's talking about and sort of discredits the rest of his thoughts.

    Jony is responsible for design and now creating a consistent feel between the software interface and the device. The problems with Maps had nothing to do with any of this... the problems were bad data. The problems with Maps are going to be the responsibility of Federighi and Eddy Cue.

    His second point about silos was a result of the arrogant madness of Forstall... maybe it came out of a Jobs trait, but it was certainly Forstall that caused the core siloing problems.
  • Reply 3 of 139
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    bobringer wrote: »
    So...

    "Ive is also methodically reviewing new designs, seeking to avoid a repeat of last year's release of map tools that were widely panned, and he's encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware divisions, which operated in silos under co-founder Steve Jobs, people said," author Adam Satariano wrote.

    I probably buy a good amount of what is said in this article... and then when you come across a quote like this it makes me think said author has no clue what he's talking about and sort of discredits the rest of his thoughts.

    Jony is responsible for design and now creating a consistent feel between the software interface and the device. The problems with Maps had nothing to do with any of this... the problems were bad data. The problems with Maps are going to be the responsibility of Federighi and Eddy Cue.

    His second point about silos was a result of the arrogant madness of Forstall... maybe it came out of a Jobs trait, but it was certainly Forstall that caused the core siloing problems.
    I took that to mean Ive wants to make sure new software isn't released with lots of bugs. If big changes are coming they need to be thoroughly tested and retested. As far as silos, from what I've read, it was Jobs who was big on that. Probably why Ive wasn't really involved in software design while Jobs was around. In Jobs mind hardware and software design were two separate things.
  • Reply 4 of 139
    waldobushmanwaldobushman Posts: 774member
    I don't care about skeuomorphism. If that's is the only changes the Ive is pushing, then Apple has problems. Contacts, calendar, mail do not work and does not have the functionality of OS X applications. Calendars, only two alerts, no custom repeats. Contacts: No ability to search within groups, no ability to move contacts into groups, or multiple groups. Mail: No rules.

    Especially because the need for a laptop is supposed to no longer be required, iOS 7 apps need all the functionality that would be expected in a laptop version. Nothing short of full functionality is acceptable.

    Then, additional functionality is apps in iOS 7 need to be able to share data between apps. Siloing of apps has significant downsides.

    Then iBook and ePub. Taking notes and organizing notes on reading materials is a needed function. This can be done either by enhancing iBook or by allowing other apps to supplement iBooks, but it is required for books which are to be digested, not just tasted. The ePub and Apple's implementation needs to support math notation fully; Kindle is better at this point.
  • Reply 5 of 139
    Hoping that the SNOOZE function will be added to the calendar app (same for putting it back into OS X).

    Also, maybe the search function for old emails and contact can be improved.

    Would really love to see Contacts show 2 columns, e.g. Name and Company when phone is in landscape position.
  • Reply 6 of 139
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    I don't care about skeuomorphism. If that's is the only changes the Ive is pushing, then Apple has problems.

    Are you certain this is the only thing that Apple is working on?
  • Reply 7 of 139
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

    Contacts, calendar, mail do not work and does not have the functionality of OS X applications.


     


    Except they do. Stop lying.






    Especially because the need for a laptop is supposed to no longer be required…



     


    Nowhere has that been said.






    iOS 7 apps need all the functionality that would be expected in a laptop version. Nothing short of full functionality is acceptable.



     


    Enjoy your fantasy world. Rules #12, 15, & 16.


     



    Taking notes and organizing notes on reading materials is a needed function. This can be done either by enhancing iBook or by allowing other apps to supplement iBooks, but it is required for books which are to be digested, not just tasted.


     


    So I guess you've never used iBooks at all, huh?






    Originally Posted by GTR View Post

    Are you aware if this is the only thing that Apple is working on?


     



    Logic and reason don't matter, if you'll read the rest of his post.

  • Reply 8 of 139
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    neilm wrote: »
    There's a difference between gratuitous skeuomorphism (damn but that's a hard word to type!), for instance the truly nasty faux leather Address Book in recent OS X versions, and the discreet depiction of real life elements to give clues to a program's function. In recent years Apple has gone really overboard with the nasty stuff, and I'm greatly looking forward to the prospect of a sleeker Jony Ive version.

    100% agree and I hope this is OS X too. Not to mention making Contacts user friendly and intuitive again as well as looking nice.
  • Reply 9 of 139
    moxommoxom Posts: 325member
    I guess I'm the only person who likes the skeuomorphic design! I feel it adds character and worth to the OS. I don't mind it being toned down slightly but not removed all together just for the sake of it.

    This seems to be the latest trend at the moment. I hope Apple have something special up their sleeve.

    I'd rather more time was spent on adding more functionality to the OS and Apps.

    Can't wait to see what they've been up to. Excited and nervous at the same time...
  • Reply 10 of 139
    pokepoke Posts: 506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    I don't care about skeuomorphism. If that's is the only changes the Ive is pushing, then Apple has problems. Contacts, calendar, mail do not work and does not have the functionality of OS X applications. Calendars, only two alerts, no custom repeats. Contacts: No ability to search within groups, no ability to move contacts into groups, or multiple groups. Mail: No rules.



    Especially because the need for a laptop is supposed to no longer be required, iOS 7 apps need all the functionality that would be expected in a laptop version. Nothing short of full functionality is acceptable.



    Then, additional functionality is apps in iOS 7 need to be able to share data between apps. Siloing of apps has significant downsides.



    Then iBook and ePub. Taking notes and organizing notes on reading materials is a needed function. This can be done either by enhancing iBook or by allowing other apps to supplement iBooks, but it is required for books which are to be digested, not just tasted. The ePub and Apple's implementation needs to support math notation fully; Kindle is better at this point.


     


    I'm hoping this redesign is as much about making the in-built apps genuine Apple services as it is about aesthetics. The skeuomorphic look works in discrete apps with limited functionality but to add more interoperability and greater functionality and make them first-tier Apple services I think they need a redesign. So hopefully that's what this initiative is really about. Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Mail, etc, should be Apple's focus going forward. It's where they could do a lot of innovative work, but for that to happen they need to redesign them to be more flexible, I think.

  • Reply 11 of 139
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    How does dramatic changes including mail and calendar app overhauls = removing skeuomorphism and nothing else? :\
  • Reply 12 of 139
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    I doubt it's as far behind as the Bloomberg article makes it sound. It says there were delays as far back as Feb, but then surely they would have pushed WWDC back a few weeks - it has been held later in the past - but they didn't, which makes me think this is possibly an exaggeration.


     


    Incidentally wasn't it also version 7 of the original Mac OS that got a graphical overhaul (color GUI)?

  • Reply 13 of 139
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post



    There's a difference between gratuitous skeuomorphism (damn but that's a hard word to type!), for instance the truly nasty faux leather Address Book in recent OS X versions, and the discreet depiction of real life elements to give clues to a program's function. In recent years Apple has gone really overboard with the nasty stuff, and I'm greatly looking forward to the prospect of a sleeker Jony Ive version.




    Yeah, Notes and Address Book (and Calendar) are hard to look at. I can only imagine what people half my age think about it. Teenagers (I should as mine) what they think about it.




    Address/contacts book on the Mac is just terrible, interface-wise. It's been terrible for years.


     


    Podcasts looks better. Glad they got that reel to reel deck out of there.

  • Reply 14 of 139
    There's skeuomorphism done badly but it can be done well.

    For example the OSX windowing system uses subtle shading which is skeuomorphic but its not directly representational.

    So a periodicals shelf that is made of something 'glassy' might keep with an overall design language of transparency while still being skeuomorphic would not be 'naff' like a poor copy of a woodgrain.

    I think of things such as time machine as having a kind of design that moves a step beyond skeuomorphism to a kind of metaphorical design based on something that might exist in the future rather than the past.

    By the way, I think the WWDC 2013 logo carries a strong hint of something coming which will be multichromatic. Lets not forget Jony's first hit... the translucent blue and orange iMacs!

    I think we are going to get some treats from Apple even before some of the surprises due in the fall.


  • Reply 15 of 139
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    All these people against "all skeuomorphism" are against the concept of a button, so it'll be interesting to see how they'd like to use their OS.


     


    I just don't want Ive to make iOS or OS X into something that looks like Microsoft's crap or Google's rip off of Microsoft's crap.

  • Reply 16 of 139
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    poke wrote: »
    I'm hoping this redesign is as much about making the in-built apps genuine Apple services as it is about aesthetics. The skeuomorphic look works in discrete apps with limited functionality but to add more interoperability and greater functionality and make them first-tier Apple services I think they need a redesign. So hopefully that's what this initiative is really about. Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Mail, etc, should be Apple's focus going forward. It's where they could do a lot of innovative work, but for that to happen they need to redesign them to be more flexible, I think.
    Agreed. I've got to imagine it really irks Apple employees that Google apps are more popular on iOS than Apple stock apps. And this article sure sounds like these changes aren't just applying a fresh coat of paint to iOS. Though my guess is a lot of these changes won't be complete in time for iOS 7. Cook certainly doesn't want another maps fiasco where he has to apologize for buggy software.
  • Reply 17 of 139
    bobringerbobringer Posts: 105member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    I took that to mean Ive wants to make sure new software isn't released with lots of bugs. If big changes are coming they need to be thoroughly tested and retested. As far as silos, from what I've read, it was Jobs who was big on that. Probably why Ive wasn't really involved in software design while Jobs was around. In Jobs mind hardware and software design were two separate things.


     


    I sure hope Jony Ive hasn't been placed in charge of Hardware Design... Software Interface... and Quality Assurance checks on both data and functionality.


     


    That would be one strange job description.


     


    I also think "hardware and software design are two separate things" is the exact opposite of what Jobs believes.  He's said as much many times when quoting Alan Key with "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware."  In practice, you might be right only in that Jobs liked silos to increase the level of secrecy about what was going on inside Apple...  That may or may not have been a bad decision.  But philosophically, Jobs saw software and hardware as one thing.  In practice not so much.


     


    I think Forstall's view was very different.  It appears to have been because... MINE.  iOS IS MINE AND NONE OF YOU CAN PUT YOUR NAME ON IT.  Thank god he's gone. 

  • Reply 18 of 139
    amcarter3amcarter3 Posts: 5member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    Calendars, only two alerts, no custom repeats. Contacts: No ability to search within groups, no ability to move contacts into groups, or multiple groups. Mail: No rules.


     


    These assertions about Contacts and Mail are mostly inaccurate and misleading. You can search inside a group and Mail has rules.


     


    While Contacts, Mail and Calendar would benefit from serious improvement in terms of functionality, they are useable. They clearly are designed with Apple's legendary mantra of "Keep it simple" in mind. However, they have lagged way behind and need a big refresh. There are serious functional weaknesses in Mail and Contacts that are irritating and time wasting. For example, in Mail, the "Copy & Paste" function performs inconsistently -- sometimes it "copies" the text, sometimes it "cuts" the text. And, you cannot copy text in the body of the email and paste it in the subject line. Weird! The two most irritating weaknesses (for me) in Contacts is the inability to do a universal search and the lack of auto-text entry for entering addresses.


     


    Frankly, I can't wait to see what Ive comes up with. His track record for designing awesome hardware is amazing. Lets see what he can do with software.

  • Reply 19 of 139
    moxommoxom Posts: 325member
    I just don't want Ive to make iOS or OS X into something that looks like Microsoft's crap or Google's rip off of Microsoft's crap.

    Spot on!
  • Reply 20 of 139
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    ANYONE could have told ANY journalist this kind of educated guess.


     


    Will iOS stay the same forever? Obviously not. We know Ives is in charge of design now.


    Will Mail and Maps be excluded from any changes? Obviously not.


    Is iOS 7 when we'll see such changes begin? Obviously so.


     


    I don't need a "source" to get ad views off that stuff.


     


    And "agreeing with earlier reports" (meaning "rumors") is not confirmation or added credibility. ANYONE can repeat what was already said.


     


    P.S. Ives likes rounded corners, and Apple hardware is full of circular-radius corners. That right there should keep iOS 7 from looking just like other UIs. (Plus, of course, Metro isn't that great for usability/discoverability, cool though it is. How something WORKS is part of design too.)

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