Black, white, and flat: Details leak on Jony Ive’s iOS 7 redesign

ios devicesIt’s looking like iOS 7 is going to be a more extensive redesign of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch operating system than we thought. So much of a change, in fact, that it will remove many of the iOS design elements and textures that we’ve known since 2007. The news comes from, whose sources claim iOS 7’s look is best described as “Black, white, and flat all over.”

The decision to adopt this minimalist, flat look for iOS 7 has been attributed to Apple’s Senior VP of Industrial Design, Jony Ive, who has been working on the new software since late last year after the departure of Scott Forstall. This latest news follows a report in March, where Ive’s vision of iOS was said to be, “Stark, simple, and flat.”

Although the two descriptions sound similar, in March the alterations were said to be “pretty conservative.” However, just a few weeks later, the reworked iOS 7 experience was described as, “Significant,” indicating subtlety may have left the building. Now, sources are saying Apple has changed the iOS interface several times over the past few months, and may continue to do so in the run up to WWDC 2013.

It’s claimed that there isn’t one part of the OS which hasn’t been tweaked by Ive. To help you build a picture of iOS’s future, here are some of the changes the new report suggests we’ll be seeing:

Lock Screen

In iOS 7, the clock on the lock screen will have a solid black look and lose its transparency. The numbers for entering your PIN code will be black and round with white figures. Functionality will remain consistent with iOS 6, but new gesture controls could be introduced.

Home Screen

Here’s where you’ll start to notice iOS’s newfound flatness. The shadowing effect will be removed from the keyboard, which will also be a lighter grey color, and textures will disappear from navigation and status bars. Primary icons for Apple apps will all be flat, as well. The flatness will continue through other app icons, with any shadow effect removed, and the icons won’t have the same shine either.

While iOS 7’s home screens will still probably consist of a grid of app icons, users may be able to add panoramic shots as wallpaper, which will give an Android-like panning experience when swiping through the pages. Finally, look out for redesigned app icons which do away with skeuomorphism, so no more card table felt for Game Center, or stitched edging to Find Friends.


iOS 7 Weather Concept

These changes will continue in the apps themselves, including the end of the yellow legal notepad look to the Notes app, no more shredding of Passbook’s used passes, and the introduction of a color-coded system throughout – red for the calendar, green for messages, blue for email for example – to simplify basic operations. 9to5Mac’s sources say we should expect the most dramatic alterations to come in apps such as the weather, camera, Newsstand, Game Center, and Safari.

In these apps, the stylized elements will be stripped out, and replaced with a more simple, white text on black/grey backgrounds. A new standalone FaceTime app could be introduced, while the weather app may have an animated display, and could resemble the concept image seen here. The App Store is also set for a big change, although whether this will be mirrored in iTunes isn’t mentioned. All this joins the other details which have begun to leak out, including deeper integration of Flickr and Vimeo.


Expect more flat blackness and flat white text in the Notifications area; textures are expected to disappear from the pull-down panel’s background. Interestingly, more active widgets may be added, including streaming news, along with easy access buttons for Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, and Bluetooth. (We can’t imagine where that idea came from.)

Overall, iOS 7 is shaping up to be a considerably different beast to previous versions. However, the focus is undoubtedly on the design and not new features, so we shouldn’t expect a Samsung-length list of new toys to be rolled out at WWDC. That said, there’s some time to go before the potential release of iOS 7, and although we should get our first look next month, there’s plenty of opportunity for Ive and his gang to make additionally changes before it finds its way on to an iPhone in the fall.

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