Rumors have been flying around about a major visual redesign to Apple's iOS ever since Jony Ive took on an interface design role following the departure of senior VP and mobile software head Scott Forstall. Most of those rumors have focused on a new, "flat" design that would remove many of the skeuomorphic aspects of iOS that have cropped up over the years, and now 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman has been tipped off to a number of new features and design elements in iOS 7.
For starters, Ive will reportedly banish the mismatched "heavy textures" found across iOS in favor of a unified scheme largely featuring more simple black-and-white tones. It sounds like the wildly divergent visual styles of many default apps like Notes, Game Center, Mail, and Maps would be much more closely linked in this redesign. The apps will apparently be mostly white, but will each have a unique color theme. Ive reportedly has stated that software designs that mimic real-world elements (like iOS Notes and Calendar apps) don't age well. While the huge installed base of iOS devices means Ive needs to be careful not to alienate users with his new design, he has apparently "made his mark on every corner of the operating system" while still managing to make it familiar to longtime users.
A long-overdue new look for Apple's mobile OS
A few specific examples for the new UI were outlined. The lock screen will do away with the glossy, reflective "slide to unlock" bar in favor of a more muted, black interface, and the numerical entry pad for your lock code will also be redesigned — but it sounds like it'll essentially be the same experience. Notification Center will also get a facelift, with the now-ubiquitous linen background being replaced with a dark grey color scheme and white text. There may also be some new functionality on board, as well — it sounds like Apple may introduce some new Notification Center widgets beyond the Weather and Stocks widgets that have been around since iOS 5.
Those new widgets will be confined to Notification Center, however — while the home screen will get a major visual refresh, with flatter, less glossy (but still rounded) app icons, functionality should be identical to its current implementation. Unsurprisingly, all of the stock apps will see a redesign to match the new style, with major redesigns planned for the App Store, Newsstand, Game Center, Safari, Weather, and Camera. While this all matches up with where we expected iOS 7 to go under Ive, 9to5Mac's report indicates that Apple has tested out several iOS 7 designs in the last few months — so there's still the potential for things to change from what is being reported. The new iOS 7 is expected to be introduced at WWDC just over two weeks from now, so we'll soon see whether or not these rumors of a massive redesign come true.