iOS 7 said to be "flat," just like Windows Phone

Over the past few months, there have been several conflicting claims about the redesign, or not, of iOS. First, the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming the changes would be "pretty conservative," then in a conversation on Branch, many Apple heavyweights claimed that they'd heard that the changes would be significant. 

A new report by 9to5Mac has yet more information about the upcoming revision, which is expected to be released at WWDC 2013. 9to5Mac cite "multiple people who have either seen or have been briefed on...iOS 7" who claim the new interface and general design will be "very, very flat." Other sources claim the general design "loses all signs of gloss, shine and skeumorphism" which are currently found in iOS app such as Calendar and Game Centre. According to 9to5Mac, the new version of iOS takes after the "Metro" design language that is prevalent in Windows 8 and Windows Phone. 

"Flatness" is, according to the report, the reduction of unneeded textures or miscellaneous design features that currently adorn iOS. Jony Ive, who now heads up the iOS design team, is a staunch supporter of minimalistic designs, which is echoed in his other works, such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod. The new design will align the "entire system," hinting at a redesign of all the core apps, and a movement from skeumorphism. 

iOS will, however, retain it's easy-to-use status. People who have used the new OS told 9to5Mac that there is "no new learning curve" to iOS 7, and the core apps and "fundamentals" remain the same. iOS 7, which is codenamed "Innsbruck," will introduce a whole new set of icons as well as "newly designed tool bars, tab bars, and other fundamental interface features across the system." 

Apple may even be looking into widgets for iOS 7. According to the report, Apple is looking into "more 'glance-able' information" that could be implemented via "new panels [that] swipe from the left and right side of an iOS device's display."

Source: 9to5Mac | Image via MacRumors

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Wow...some of you should actually try using WP. Your generalizations of its UI design are as flat as you perceive it to be.

While looking at WP's UI in static images gives the perception of it being "flat and simple"; seeing it in use is a different story. I think that's the philosophy the new Apple interface will take; get rid of the icon and app chrome, and apply it to the transitions, movement, and alerts. I'd honestly like to see their interpretation of a flattened iOS.

You can whine all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that Microsoft has (surprisingly) designed a beautifully simple mobile UI.

Noooooo - skeumorphism one of the things I like about the look of iOS. And version 7 needs to be more than a luck of paint and see real features.

What's the point of copying Microsoft?

Edited by wotsit, Apr 30 2013, 6:19pm :

Oh wait, if ios7 is equals to WP then WP will be in a pinch because, the only advantadge to own a WP is the weird interface (and Pureview). So, if ios7 = wp then, this advantage will go down to the tube.
To be the first one is irrelevant for the end user.

Why would it look like Windows phone? what would be the point of putting Ive on it for him to say 'ok, copy windows' when anyone can do that? ... it's already clear from the WWDC icon it's going to be flat-ish maybe with transparency and rounded corners to elements. You can say anything about Apple but Ive is a brilliant designer and has ALOT to do with Apple's success of it's products i have no doubt we'll have something amazing and unique.

Intrinsica said,
I guess I'm one of the few that still enjoys the 3D look over flat textures.

I don't mind the 3d look but i hate those one color icons, it is even inferior to windows 3.11.

A fresh new look is good.
But I hope they won't go overboard with another new wave of vague patents.

The future is flat

What will be the next big thing in design after "flat"? Black and white? Raster fonts? Pixelated graphics?

Flat design is a decay compared to 3D design with shadows and transparencies. It's like comparing a carefully maintained park with beautiful flowers, trees and landscape with dull "flat" and "modern" cubicles with white walls and 5K CFL lights.

lexp said,
What will be the next big thing in design after "flat"? Black and white? Raster fonts? Pixelated graphics?

Flat design is a decay compared to 3D design with shadows and transparencies. It's like comparing a carefully maintained park with beautiful flowers, trees and landscape with dull "flat" and "modern" cubicles with white walls and 5K CFL lights.


You absolutely have no idea what good design is.

I don't know if this is the best thing for Apple. I think the skeumorphism is one of their defining trademarks. They should evolve a bit more on it, but not in the direction iOS5 went, but more in like making things work. Like... the weather icon should show current temperature, and other things like that.

Crucial period for Apple at WWDC 2013. It will determine whether or not the new shake up of the role in the product will able to impress the world or not.

Microsoft is on a roll! I'm a Windows Phone user, and I feel sad for Microsoft. Apple gets to copy competitors, but when competitors copy Apple, they cry foul. This is bull!

All I want from iOS is to be able to switch on and off wifi,data and Btooth without going into the setting or for that matter jail breaking my device. With just that feature, I will be Apple's B**ch for years to come!!!!!

What is this recent fascination with a flat looking UI? I understand some folks think it looks 'cleaner' or more 'modern', however I tend to find flat UI to be boring, bland and more like something from Sesame Street with primary colors. It almost seems like it is just a fad until people appreciate something more artfully inspired or something with more depth and dimension. I am reminded of the fad of reviving 1970's style clothing and fashion in the 90's... It was ugly no matter what decade you wore the clothes.

...OK, I'll stop being a style curmudgeon and let everyone enjoy their tele-tubby UI. (Don't get me started on the original Windows XP color choices.). LOL!

From what I've heard from my friends in Cupertino, Jony Ive is taking a revolutionary approach to designing software. One of the things he's attempting is to actually make the software "lighter" to fit the new phone's overall "light" design. Minimalist.

Software, as we know, is "digital", consisting of a stream of zeros and ones. Ones (obviously) weigh more than zeros. Apple are attempting to design software that contains more zeros and less ones - which will obviously be lighter. The ultimate goal is to have all Apple's software be zeros and not have any ones at all. This new design is obviously a giant step in that direction and is certainly along the lines of Ive's minimalism.

I've also heard that the hardware too will be very "flat". So flat that it won't even cast a shadow as shadows are too skeumorphic.

"just like Windows Phone" - that part of the title was made up. Yes, a flatter UI (as you would expect), however there is absolutely no mention from sources about it being "just like Windows Phone".

It says "just like Windows Phone" because no other OS is "very, very flat". So technically, yes it'll be just like the beautiful Windows Phone, unless they're going the Android route which is a mix of both, which I have a feeling that's what they'll do instead.

68k said,
"just like Windows Phone" - that part of the title was made up. Yes, a flatter UI (as you would expect), however there is absolutely no mention from sources about it being "just like Windows Phone".

The source article mentions it a couple of times and 3 huge windows phone screenshots. Are they not big enough for you?
The new interface is said to be “very, very flat,” according to one source. Another person said that the interface loses all signs of gloss, shine, and skeuomorphism seen across current and past versions of iOS. Another source framed the new OS as having a level of “flatness” approaching recent releases of Microsoft's Windows Phone “Metro” UI.

BajiRav said,

The source article mentions it a couple of times and 3 huge windows phone screenshots. Are they not big enough for you?

Are you expecting iOS 7 to be an exact copy of Windows Phone? I don't think so.

j2006 said,
It says "just like Windows Phone" because no other OS is "very, very flat". So technically, yes it'll be just like the beautiful Windows Phone, unless they're going the Android route which is a mix of both, which I have a feeling that's what they'll do instead.

Windows 3.1 was also flat, with monochrome icons, just like Windows Phone 8!

Rosyna said,

Windows 3.1 was also flat, with monochrome icons, just like Windows Phone 8!

Don't forget the absolute beauty of Windows 1.0 and Window 2.0 as well, which Windows 8 borrowed from.

68k said,

Are you expecting iOS 7 to be an exact copy of Windows Phone? I don't think so.

No. I just listed out references to WP/Microsoft in the source article because you originally said it did not mention them.
Rosyna said,

Windows 3.1 was also flat, with monochrome icons, just like Windows Phone 8!

False
- It has multi-colored icons/windows (so you know, not monochrome)
- It was not flat. I am pretty sure buttons, window controls were "3D".

One thing I've always hated about Apple's software are the childish and ugly skeuomorphic elements. This bodes well for them.

Dont be stupid apple ****s gold out of there backsides.... they could go and blatantly copy everything of other companies and the apple fans wont care. simple

iOS could easily be to Apple as Windows 7/Windows 8 is to Microsoft.

They desperately need to innovate to compete with Android and other rivals.

At the same time they have a loyal user base that could very easily be alienated by radical change.

Hard not to draw parallels.

As far as "flat" design (whatever that really means), I'm not sure... what I do think is that they will give the UI a facelift because as far as iPods and iPhones (3.5" - 4" devices) go, only "retina" displays will be supported with iOS 7 which gives the UI designers more pixels to play with w/o worrying about backwards compatibility with low-resolution devices.

Flat design is the trend these days, anyway, so it's good that Apple have finally started using it as well.

Figures, Apple the supposed innovative company, when the truth is all they do is copy others, then slap a patent on it and sue anyone who tries to copy them.

I own an iPad 2, and its iOS is crappy, and always will be. The only thing good about it is the response of the touch screen. Not that I care much for Android either, but it just proves how much better Windows is.

Dot Matrix said,

Pretty poor attempt at trolling. OS X makes heavy use of skeuomorphism, just like iOS currently does. It still uses "3D" effects, icons, and color shading.

How do you conclude trolling from CSharp.'s original post? Because he replied to you? Am I currently trolling?

Dot Matrix said,

Your screenshot is nearly 12 years outdated. You were trolling my post. Taking a look at the latest release and you see what I am talking about. You call this flat? How has it "already happened", when it hasn't? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi...ountain_Lion_Screenshot.jpg

Do you ever come out of your Windows 8 bubble long enough to use OS X extensively? While Apple hasn't gone to the extreme that Microsoft has, they have refined, toned down, and flattened the UI of OS X over the years.

omgben said,

Do you ever come out of your Windows 8 bubble long enough to use OS X extensively? While Apple hasn't gone to the extreme that Microsoft has, they have refined, toned down, and flattened the UI of OS X over the years.

I *have* used OS X. I still makes use of gaudy design and skeuomorphism. It may be somewhat flat, but the design is still far from digital. That's what I'm getting at.

omgben said,

Do you ever come out of your Windows 8 bubble long enough to use OS X extensively? While Apple hasn't gone to the extreme that Microsoft has, they have refined, toned down, and flattened the UI of OS X over the years.


Yes it has been toned down, but compare OSX and Windows 8 today, the differences are apparent, OSX has been toned down over the years, but the Aqua design language remains, and its not flat.

dead.cell said,
And Windows 8 is reminiscent of Fisher Price. Not sure what you're getting at here.

Hey bro. How many FP toys do you have? How r ur ponies?

My point is both operating systems have their ugly sides to them.

But I guess it's easier to only get mad when someone says anything bad about Windows, right?

sunsetsnow said,

Hey bro. How many FP toys do you have? How r ur ponies?

So in order to know what a FP toy looks like you have to own a bunch of them? Ever have kids? Trust me, after you get a little more mature and someday (god willing) have children you will know all about what FP toys look like and see the parallels between FP and "modern" OS design....

Dot Matrix said,

Pretty poor attempt at trolling. OS X makes heavy use of skeuomorphism, just like iOS currently does. It still uses "3D" effects, icons, and color shading.

and i hope they dont get rid of those effects completely .. while i agree they can be toned down , i think those effects are what makes OS X, OS X .. i wish in win 8 they would of kept a little more transparency or at least given us the choice of how much skeuomorphism we want

The only problem is I don't see any flash in Apple iOS UI. The icons are the same ole 256k ones used in Windows for years. Even Vanilla Android is dull compared to UI's that actually do add gloss.

Example, compare the Aero Glass/Gloosy effects you see in Windows Vista and show me anything similar in iOS. Lets go back to when Apple adopted the Aqua UI and compare it to iOS.

There is nothing flashy about Apple's UI. They are boring static icons. Oh and if Apple gets into Widgets that would be a first and a copy and if they make the icons flat, hopefully Samsung sues them because that is the appearance of TouchWiz.

Oh wait, to be perfectly honest, the icons in all OS' are flat. They make them appear not to be by using drop shadows to make them appear to be lifted off the screen. So basically they are dropping the shadows and the icons will just use a full single color instead of gradients?

Once Apple does it, everyone will be like Apple is so revolutionary and inventive; and forget the fact someone else had it first. Windows 8 the OS everyone is trying to hate has had such an interface since Windows XP and Media Center ala XBOX 360. Now Apple wants to use it? I assume they have a cross-licensing deal with Microsoft aka Big Brother?

I remember when widget were loathe...now all you fans...if this is true, that would mean iOS would have to go full multi-tasking in order to use widgets of live tile based icons. Which means as you scroll screens with these, there will be a bit of delay while the OS refreshes the data. You know, that lab all you ifan say Android has? lol. iOS, becoming more like Android everyday.

Wow, the economy must be rough. First Microsoft cuts back on the graphics designers during the Windows 8 development. Now Apple could be doing the same thing? If iOS 7 looks like it could run on a 256 color palette also, I won't know what to think. Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave.

Exactly.

Windows 8 has its' childish colorful rectangles not because it's COOL or "FLAT" but because designing a quality User Interface is a freaking complex task. They decided instead to let their developers fill rectangles with green, red and blue colors (pretty easy) to 'pretend' that this is a "new design language" with some philosophy involved.

It is not a new "design language'. It happened because THEY COULD NOT DEVELOP A TRULY UNIQUE STYLE and decided to kill the whole idea of style presense.

Apple should learn from that and not kill their amazing UI design in iOS.

Speculation has been circulating cheaper iPhones that come in colors, similar to that of which we see with the iPods. All rumor of course, but it would make sense at least.

I seriously doubt Apple would copy the one thing that annoys many of the Windows users today...

dead.cell said,
Speculation has been circulating cheaper iPhones that come in colors, similar to that of which we see with the iPods. All rumor of course, but it would make sense at least.

I seriously doubt Apple would copy the one thing that annoys many of the Windows users today...

which is apple fan boys. BAZANGA

im only 18 so it probably doesn't matter what I think but seeing as though ios is somewhat useless without its appstore, being that its the appstore that makes the phone 'smart'. I find it hard to believe all the hundreds of thousands of apps that were created to emulate the original interface will be changing anytime soon, so maybe 8 of the icons will be flatter all the rest will still be glossy and skeumorphic.

iv never owned an ios device so I might be terribly wrong, but what im saying is it will just result in a fractured interface like win8. as much as I like win8 there is an inherent usability problem with shifts in design philosophy within the same interface. I don't see hundreds of thousands of apps being rewritten especially seeing as iso interfaces are difficult to code from what I understand.

Attiq said,
im only 18 so it probably doesn't matter what I think but seeing as though ios is somewhat useless without its appstore, being that its the appstore that makes the phone 'smart'. I find it hard to believe all the hundreds of thousands of apps that were created to emulate the original interface will be changing anytime soon, so maybe 8 of the icons will be flatter all the rest will still be glossy and skeumorphic.

iv never owned an ios device so I might be terribly wrong, but what im saying is it will just result in a fractured interface like win8. as much as I like win8 there is an inherent usability problem with shifts in design philosophy within the same interface. I don't see hundreds of thousands of apps being rewritten especially seeing as iso interfaces are difficult to code from what I understand.

You're correct - assuming that many of the applications are using custom look and feel then it'll be quite some time before we start to see the AppStore applications updated to reflect the new look and feel in iOS.

Good point. From working with iOS they may actually be able to make that not too bad.

iOS actually has a glossy overlay which it places on the icons. This is like a default PNG it uses which just overlaps those icons. If that isn't enabled or its different on iOS7, then alot of the icons may appear flatter.

Attiq said,
im only 18 so it probably doesn't matter what I think but seeing as though ios is somewhat useless without its appstore, being that its the appstore that makes the phone 'smart'. I find it hard to believe all the hundreds of thousands of apps that were created to emulate the original interface will be changing anytime soon, so maybe 8 of the icons will be flatter all the rest will still be glossy and skeumorphic.

iv never owned an ios device so I might be terribly wrong, but what im saying is it will just result in a fractured interface like win8. as much as I like win8 there is an inherent usability problem with shifts in design philosophy within the same interface. I don't see hundreds of thousands of apps being rewritten especially seeing as iso interfaces are difficult to code from what I understand.

I think the gloss and curve on icons as added to flat squares by Apple?

I just hope it doesn't look exactly like Windows Phone, because then it would be boring (You'd have two OSs, with basically the same UI at first glance).

I don't see how iOS and Android look the same. They're quite different in UI and UX from one another. You won't find widgets on iOS for instance. On one end you have a multitude of home screens, which you can customize to your desire. On the other, you've got a grid of icons, which can be arranged in folders.
Android also detracts from skeuomorphic designs, that Apple is currently so fond of.

And no, I'm not trolling.

Apple is a very innovative company...they will sue Microsoft for copying

Hopefully this helps improve WP8 market share.

Brony said,

again?


They always did, I remember everyone copying Luna when it came out with XP, same thing happened with Aero. Everyone started using glossy gradients, shadows and reflections.

So long as my iPhone friends don't go around touting it as revolutionary. I'll have to ask where the hell they've been for the past couple of years.

And omg this coupled with Retina displays will make super crisp icons like you've never seen before! You won't be able to see um the um um division of columns of pixels bordering the edge of a solid-colored icon and its solid-colored background!

Pluto is a Planet said,
And omg this coupled with Retina displays will make super crisp icons like you've never seen before! You won't be able to see um the um um division of columns of pixels bordering the edge of a solid-colored icon and its solid-colored background!

What's funny is that you CAN see the division on PenTile displays. Gosh I hate PenTile.

News Flash - Apple stills another GUI concept.
Well all I can say if this is true that icons as we know them now are going away, you can thank Microsoft for doing it first.

Luis Mazza said,

Don't worry: not a perfect photocopy, thanks god.
Ugly tiles are Tileindows-only.

I don't even understand your comment. Grow up.

I always loved the design of the iPhone but I never liked the UI. I found it to be unnecessarily flashy. Microsoft made the right decision to go with a flat UI for Windows Phone. They were the first to realize that you don't need glossy effects and skeumorphism for a good UI and user experience.

I'm curious to see how Apple implements a flatter design.

Anaron said,
I always loved the design of the iPhone but I never liked the UI. I found it to be unnecessarily flashy. Microsoft made the right decision to go with a flat UI for Windows Phone. They were the first to realize that you don't need glossy effects and skeumorphism for a good UI and user experience.

I'm curious to see how Apple implements a flatter design.


Agreed. I'm very interested to see what Apple came up with.

And since the first iPhone, the mobile space has been pretty boring. We had the iPhone UI and Android's me too copy. I'm glad Microsoft came back as it caused all the other companies to finally come up with new ideas again.

Anaron said,
I always loved the design of the iPhone but I never liked the UI. I found it to be unnecessarily flashy. Microsoft made the right decision to go with a flat UI for Windows Phone. They were the first to realize that you don't need glossy effects and skeumorphism for a good UI and user experience.

I'm curious to see how Apple implements a flatter design.

Check out OS X over the last 13 years and basically what you're seeing is a simpler design - not necessarily 'flat' but more austere when it comes to ornamentation.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Check out OS X over the last 13 years and basically what you're seeing is a simpler design - not necessarily 'flat' but more austere when it comes to ornamentation.

Pinstripes, transparency, textures, gloss - OS X was/is as away from "flat" as it gets. You are confusing simplicity with flatness.

BajiRav said,

Pinstripes, transparency, textures, gloss - OS X was/is as away from "flat" as it gets. You are confusing simplicity with flatness.

You haven't seen/used Mac OS X in a while, have you?

Rosyna said,

You haven't seen/used Mac OS X in a while, have you?


You can't follow a conversation, can you?

Now that we have taken care of the unnecessary snark, I had listed how OS X lacked "flatness" over last 13 years. Even today it has textures, transparency and gloss. It might still have pinstripes in some random utility/application that was not updated over the years.

maxslaterrobins said,
Mark Gurman, who wrote the original on 9to5Mac, has an excellent track record. I would expect this to be 99% true.

Still rumor and speculation until you hear from the source. Good news if true tho.

The_Decryptor said,
The 1% that's not true though will be the "takes after metro" part.

Unless shapes and text are now exclusively a metro thing.


Though I don't expect it to look like Metro, Metro does certainly have a design language that is distinct.

techbeck said,
Shall have to wait and see what rumor is true, if at all, at the WWDC.

Pshhh.. waiting to see if a rumor is true instead of just reporting every silly thing that comes up is not good for ad revenue. Don't you know how these tech blogs work?

maxslaterrobins said,
Mark Gurman, who wrote the original on 9to5Mac, has an excellent track record. I would expect this to be 99% true.

How does one define 'flat' because all evidence from 13 years of OS X evolution shoes that the style is 'flatter' and not 'flat' as with the case of Windows Phone. I have nothing against the idea of the flat metro look on Windows Phone but it would be nice if reporters and pundits were at least accurate in terms of the language used to describe something.

Don't care if it's flat if the hardware is still closed from within, eg no drag and drop ( And no, dragging and dropping into iTunes isn't drag and drop), can't use it as USB memory stick without an app, etc... ( this from a long time iPhone user, 3g, then 3Gs, then 4)

Hey different strokes for different folks! You can't even share files over bluetooth and have them integrate seamlessly into the main folder without having to download an app that will store it in it's own folder (though this is now null with all the chat clients available).
then don't even get me started with iTunes... too damn restrictive, had all your music on iTunes? and if it goes corrupt, say goodbye to your library unless you have a separate library.
The only reason I kept buying apple was because of music fidelity, with the S4 (exynos version) and the HTC one, that is no longer the case.

Draconian Guppy said,
Don't care if it's flat if the hardware is still closed from within, eg no drag and drop ( And no, dragging and dropping into iTunes isn't drag and drop), can't use it as USB memory stick without an app, etc... ( this from a long time iPhone user, 3g, then 3Gs, then 4)

And Samsung's broken MTP/PTP implementation is better? their out dated and broken Kies that doesn't work on OS X 10.8 is really awesome?

It may make me not hate the iOS UI, but unless Apple the company changes its ways, I wont be going back to using their products anytime soon

mdtaUK said,
It may make me not hate the iOS UI, but unless Apple the company changes its ways, I wont be going back to using their products anytime soon

What ways is that?

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Apparently his 'human right' to be able to load OS X onto generic PC hardware.


Or to sync to his phone without having to go through the mess that is iTunes.

FalseAgent said,

Or to sync to his phone without having to go through the mess that is iTunes.

Dude... You've not had to use iTunes since iOS 6. I've not synced with iTunes in over a year now!

CPressland said,

Dude... You've not had to use iTunes since iOS 6. I've not synced with iTunes in over a year now!

and the latest version of iTunes is a solid product.. it looks and works great... on OSX at least anyway.

The latest iTunes is an abomination. So difficult to do what was so easy in the previous release. It took me 5 minutes the other day, just to find the music that is actually on my iPod. Thinking of loading an earlier version.

Chris Rollason said,
The latest iTunes is an abomination. So difficult to do what was so easy in the previous release. It took me 5 minutes the other day, just to find the music that is actually on my iPod. Thinking of loading an earlier version.

In iTunes, View -> Show Sidebar.

I agree with this. I put off using iTunes 11 for so long because I hate the damn thing... took me a Google search to find out how to even show my phone existed. Then I wanted to delete a few tracks and replace them with new ones, once again I had to resort to a Google seatch because 'delete' was greyed out. So then I find you have to find something called 'Manage my device manually' or something, which then goes and deletes every single song from my iPhone, cheers Apple!

Say what you like about them... they definitely make the most gorgeous products, I think the trackpad is brilliant and wish Microsoft had something half as good, and Apple pioneer with a lot of products. But iTunes, DAMN ITUNES feels like it was made before typewriters were invented.

honestly, i feel there are products that look great but the trackpads always suck. i think its the mac trackpads every laptop needs.