No matter your opinion on iOS 7, there's no denying it's a radical departure from any Apple design that came before it. And if you believe The Next Web, that may be no accident. According to the blog, as Jony Ive has taken the software design reins, he has reportedly approached design and development very differently. TNW's Matthew Panzarino claims that iOS 7's icons were apparently designed by the Apple marketing and communications department, which also determined much of the overall coloring and aesthetic of the operating system. App design teams were left to work on the "interiors," with the marketing dictates guiding their decisions. The Next Web reports there was little communication between the various app teams during the design process, and that teams within each group were competing to create the look and feel of their apps. That led to a polarizing, inconsistent design.
Further, Panzarino alleges that iOS 7 is still apparently very much a work in progress, and the version we saw this week at WWDC was nothing more than a "mid-stride" look at where Ive and his team are going. According to The Next Web, everything from the up arrow on the lock screen to various app icons is still open to adjustment before the OS comes out this fall.
The story is intriguing, and it would certainly spell a major change in the process of design at Apple. If what TNW proposes is even close to the truth, it might also mean the design situation at the company is more disjointed than previously believed. It is highly unusual for a design-driven company like Apple to rely on marketing designers for product work, but given that Ive has only recently taken the reins in user interface design, he could be experimenting with new options.
Additionally, if Panzarino's report is accurate, it would mean Apple is currently showcasing an unfinished design on the front page of its website, and has created several in-depth pages explaining said design. That would be a shocking and an unusual departure for the company, which just spent half of its WWDC keynote highlighting the time and care it takes with its design work.
We've reached out to Apple, and will update this post with any additional information.