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May 02, 2013

The Next iPhone and iOS 7: Rumor Has It

If you are very quiet for about two seconds, you will hear it – a hushed swoosh of whispers. Human voices. Nearly imperceptible talking. Is it static? Hallucinations? Ghosts? Of course not, silly. It's the very real chatter of people hashing out what the next iPhone will be.

Since Apple unveiled its first iPhone, there have been substantial but not mind-blowing changes to the iOS system, one could argue. Siri is perhaps the most revolutionary addition – but she, or it, is just that – an addition.

There is speculation floating that some major changes to the operating system that powers Apples iPhones and iPads, and the iPhone 5S/6, the next anticipated product, could be the first to showcase those changes.

The suspicions in part stem from the fact that Jonathan Ive, Apple's mainstay for hardware design, is now in charge of the company's software design, too – a result of a management shakeup last fall.

As senior vice president of industrial design, Ive is in basically in charge of creating iOS 7.

 Image via Digital Trends

There's not a lot of concrete evidence to point to anything terribly drastic under his leadership, but there are hints and clues afloat as to what the new version of iOS will be.

Mark Gurman of 9to5 Mac reports that the new interface will be “flatter.” Another source goes so far as to say that it will in fact be “very, very flat.” Another source leaked that the gloss, shine, and skeumorphism seen on previous models will be lost on the most current one. And then we're back to the flat talk again with someone else saying the new iOS will have a level of “flatness.” Flat is suddenly seeming pretty existential!

What sad, bewildered laughter there will be if the next iPhone turns out to be as thick and glossy as a stack of US magazines.

But if the next iPhone is all about the flatness, than it could be angling for a Windows phone feel, but hopefully not a Windows phone capacity or sensibility. I, a zealous iOS user, am still waiting for my Words with Friends moves to register on friends’ little-engine-that-couldn't Windows phones.

Back to that fun SAT word “skeuomorphism.” Right now, Apple is big into that concept, which basically makes virtual things appear, however artificially, like the things they're meant to represent. An example – in the iOS “Newsstand,” the virtual shelves look like “real” wooden shelves. Ive apparently finds this whole thing appalling, so the new design may do away with the charming dollhouse feel.

There's also buzz that iOS 7 will feature more “glance-able” information, says Gurman. “In addition to losing the complex interface design characteristics from earlier versions of iOS, Apple has been discussing and testing ways to add more ‘glance-able’ information and system options panels, like Notification Center, to the software.”

But what about more user-specific functions iOS users have gotten used to? For instance, the way we type on the iOS devices. Is it the most intuitive way? If not, will Apple produce an alternative and will we be able to smoothly adjust? One of the interesting problems presented with change in this case is that even if it is for the best, it's going to be irritating for loyal users to learn. Old dogs, new tricks, and very flat phones...

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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