ios 7 lock screen concept

Ever since Apple’s SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall was ousted last fall, and hardware designer Jony Ive was put in charge of the human interface team, pundits and fanatics alike have wondered what future versions of the platform would look like.

We may find out soon enough. According to a new report, which cites “multiple people who have either seen or have been briefed on iOS 7”, this year’s software update is going to be a fairly significant one, bringing a redesigned interface, and more…

9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, whose track record with Apple intel is nearly flawless in recent years, reports:

“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 skeumorphism 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.”

Gurman goes on to describe the new operating system, reportedly codenamed “Innsbruck,” saying it will bring all new icons for Apple’s native applications, as well redesigned tool bars, tab bars, and other fundamental interface features across the board.

Concept of what iOS could look like without skeuomorphism by Rafael Justino

The description jibes well with a report from The Wall Street Journal last month that claimed Jony Ive has been pushing for a “flatter” interface in iOS 7. Ive is said to be sitting in on review sessions with Apple’s human interface design team to vet new designs.

Of course, this doesn’t sound like the major overhaul we heard about earlier this month, where iOS 7 was said to be running behind due to significant changes. But Gurman says that Apple is also looking at new ways to provide information at a glance.

“In addition to losing the complex interface design characteristics from earlier versions of iOS, Apple has been discussing and testing ways to add more ‘glance-able’ information and system options panels, like Notification Center, to the software.

While it is still uncertain if Apple will end up including such new functionality in iOS 7, or how the Company will implement the potential addition, one of the early ideas was to implement the new panels via swipes from the left and right side of an iOS device’s display. This would be similar to the gesture on Apple’s Mac trackpads for accessing Notification Center in Mountain Lion, but what, specifically, the iOS gesture could access is uncertain.”

Whatever Apple has planned for iOS 7, it certainly has its work cut out for them. With more than 500 million users to appease, some of whom have been calling for major changes for years, and growing competition from Samsung and Google, it needs to impress.

We’re expecting to get a glimpse at Apple’s new operating system in a little over a month, at its World Wide Developers Conference. The company officially announced last week that the conference will run from June 10-14, and tickets sold out within minutes.