This Is The Best Way To Think About How Apple Could Change iOS This Year

It was a busy week for the Apple rumour mill:

  • Word broke that Apple was starting production of a new iPhone this quarter.
  • rumours spread that it wants to have a new iPad out this month.
  • There were also rumours that it’s working on a ultra high def TV.
  • And there’s talk that it’s making big changes to iOS.

The last of these is the most exciting to us.

A new iPad and new iPhone are givens. An Apple television would be very interesting, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

Changes to iOS are a big deal because, as our own Henry Blodget likes to say, the iPhone is practically a part of our body at this point. We’re constantly using iOS.

As great as iOS is, however, it could use some design and usability tweaks. But, if Apple over does it, and makes iOS foreign, it’s going to alienate loyal users.

So what can we really expect? Mark Gurman of 9 to 5 Mac tweeted, “I really think that the best way to think about iOS 7 is the most recent Podcasts update. Scrap the skeum, but not make it very different.”

“Skeum” is short for “skeuomorphism,” which is often used to describe Apple’s tendency to make its apps look like real life objects.

In Apple’s original Podcasts app, if you pressed on the screen playing a podcast you saw this:

podcast app reel

As you can see, it’s a digital representation of a tape reel. Why? We have no idea. A podcast is not recorded on reel to reel tape, nor is is played on tape.

Apple refreshed the podcast app last month. In the refresh, it ditched reel to reel animation.

It made some small tweaks to the app, but the overall design of the podcast app still has some shading and some three dimensional elements to it. It’s wasn’t a radical overhaul.

There’s a lot of talk about Apple pursuing a “flatter design” under Jony Ive, who now leads software design. A “flatter” design would ditch shading. People talk about Microsoft’s Windows-look, when they talk about “flat design.” Here’s what it looks like:

Steve Kovach, Business InsiderFrom what Gurman is tweeting, it sounds like Apple isn’t going to swing iOS so wildly that it ends up looking totally flat like this.

It sounds like Apple is going to tone down iOS so that it’s simpler overall. It’s going to kill off excess animations and design, while still retaining some of the nice shading that makes apps look like they have some depth on the screen.

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