Jony Ive’s iOS 7 remake: black, white, flat all over

By , May 24, 2013

iOS 7 teaser 002

When Apple’s former iOS honcho Scott Forstall was dumped, stories were told of he and design guru Jonathan Ive nearly coming to blows over the prevailing use of realistic shapes and textures within the mobile software. Now comes a claim the design change of the upcoming iOS 7 will be “black, white, and flat all over.”

Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design and newly-minted head of Human Interface across the company, has essentially proposed a radical break with the iOS former Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled in 2007, introducing a look and feel he believes will stand the test of time…

“Ive stated that software designs filled with physical metaphors do not stand the test of time,” reports well-informed writer Mark Gurman for 9to5Mac, citing an unnamed person “familiar with the design meetings.”

This is bound to make lots of people happy:

Additionally, Apple is testing a dedicated, easily-accessible panel for WiFi, Airplane Mode, and Bluetooth toggles.

Ive argued many of the popular iOS applications include differing designs, which could cause confusion among users. The designer’s minimalistic viewpoint could be visible “on every corner of the operating system” while retaining what has made iOS popular, according to the report.

While overall, Ive’s proposed design relies heavily on a black and white interface, particular iOS applications were singled-out for a makeover.

Jony Ive (black, white, flat)
Image via Michael Steeber.

Replacing the textured linen backgrounds for such apps as Apple’s Notification Center and the iPad Calendar may be white text on a black or grey backdrop, for instance. The iOS 7 Lock Screen’s time bar could eliminate the shiny and transparent design for one that’s flat and black, according to the report.

The iPhone’s Notes app has replaced the yellow notepad design for a flat white look. Apps such as Mail, Calendar, and Maps have also gained a more uniformed look with flat white textures.

While the core elements of those apps are mostly white, each app has been given a unique button color. Essentially, each app has a white base with a respective color theme.

For example, the Calendar app could potentially have red buttons, while Messages could have green controls.

Ive’s love of the current flat design meme is also visible on his proposed makeover of the iOS home screen. Gone are the shiny, shadowy and glossy elements. App icons are also redesigned.

The iPhone Notes app loses the yellow background, replaced by a flat white appearance. Also, such iOS apps as Mail, Calendar and Maps share the same design features, each application’s buttons given a different hint of color.

Of course, the iOS 7 unveiled alongside OS X 10.9 during Apple’s June WWDC show, could feature a different design than the one being pushed by Ive.

But as the soul of Apple design – and with the ear of CEO Tim Cook – Ive’s proposal should receive serious consideration.

Can you imagine a mostly black and white, flattened iOS?

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  • Andrew

    I don’t care what colors or flat or not… just give me something different!

    • Diego Gastón Milano

      Different != Good
      I need something different, AND as good as Apple used to do to innovate and enchant. Go to Android otherwise.

      • arrontaylor

        different || good
        at this point i dont even know if it matters

      • Diego Gastón Milano

        I can tell from everyone’s complaints. :)
        I am trusting there will be some new good changes in iOS7, let’s wait and see.

      • Prasoon Singh

        Ya and not this black and white nonsense.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I don’t care what Apple does or is going to do as long as they don’t cock it up ;)

    • pauleebe

      But it won’t be different necessarily.

      “‘Different’ and ‘new’ is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.” – Jony Ive

    • http://twitter.com/burlow burlow

      apple’s goal isn’t to entertain you or any customer. the point of an iphone isn’t to keep you excited with the interface, but rather with what the phone can do (apps, features).

    • bloodshed

      just give me jailbreak

      • Gorgonphone

        yes

    • Gorgonphone

      no !!!!!just different o be different can result in lame… i say build and improve on what we have now with better effects and features that make the phone more useful and fun

  • Klikkit

    It’s a shame Apple are moving towards a uniform, bland design from what this article says.. What happened to 1984? I’m a big fan of Apple’s current skeuomorphism.. almost as good as Jaku’s

    • http://www.facebook.com/spolo Stefano ‘Graziani’ Polo

      the skeuomorphism apple is using is very ugly and I think most people can agree. I just want simple design that looks awesome. I don’t need my calendar or notepad to look like a real calendar and notepad. I want them to look like a digital, tech concept like they should…since this is a digital, tech gadget!

      • Klikkit

        I know what you mean, one thing I prefer about Android’s UI (though sometimes this causes it to look cluttered) is the way the icons aren’t the same square shape, they are all unique icon shapes (similar to the windows desktop)

      • BoardDWorld

        Then get an Android. I’m not blind, I don’t want high contrast and I sincerely doubt it will go that way… And Androids icons are a dam mess…

      • Klikkit

        calm down, I said it’s the one thing I prefer about Android..

      • Diego Gastón Milano

        Agreed too. :)

      • Diego Gastón Milano

        Agreed.

      • Jonathan Kesler

        I prefer a lot of things about Android, and some of these I doubt you’d be able to argue against.

        1. Customization

        2. EASY SETTINGS TOGGLES, no need to scroll through three different pages to turn off location settings.

        3. A lot of different ways to protect your phone

        4. Customizable lock screen, no more BORING slide to unlock.

        5. Customizing the UI itself with different launchers

        6. FLASH… ’nuff said

        7. More open syncing between different kinds of devices, just log in to your Google account and you can sync most of your media seamlessly to almost any brand and kind of device.

        I’m not a fanboy of either. I have an iPhone 5 and have had iPhone since the 3G. I own both an iPad and a Nexus 7, I have a Windows PC and I would never switch to Mac OS and my girlfriend has a Lumia 920 which in my opinion is better than iPhone 5 it doesn’t need many apps because it so smoothly integrates all the things that matter to you within the phone itself without the need to have 7 different social media and messaging apps..

        So I have the full spectrum of the big three OS’s on the market today.

      • dfasdfsa

        People still use flash?????

      • MarcPhilippeB

        I want you to use that simple design for six years first without turning you off, before hating against skeumorphism. it keeps the things interesting. A flat design can be boring relatively fast.

      • http://twitter.com/RicharDeanAreMe Richard DelFranco

        Windows 8 sales show that flat ain’t where it at…..Johnny Ive should stick to hardware design and stay away from software interface design. I love the Apple’s current skueomorphic UI. It separates itself from every other UI in a pleasing way. I use Windows 8, and, it’s much tougher to spot things quickly. Especially when there’s a lot on the screen. With skueomorphic design, there’s never a doubt what something is, and, it’s just plain nice to look at. I miss Steve Jobs. I really do.

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

        How on Earth are you even correlating Windows 8 sales with the user interface! I’d even agree with UX but UI?!

      • Jonathan Kesler

        I think the problem with Windows 8 is that it was released too soon and too abruptly. Microsoft did not give notebook and desktop computer manufacturers enough time to manufacture touchscreen computers.

        Windows 8 is an OS that desperately needs a touchscreen.

        Let me tell you, I have a 2013 Samsung Series 7 Ultrabook, which is a touchscreen laptop and Windows 8 is far better than any OS out there. It is an absolute joy to use, I look forward to using my laptop, which is something I hadn’t felt in years now.It is much better than Windows 7 or Mountain Lion (or whatever apple is calling the current version of Mac OS X).

      • 4p0c4lyps3

        Very well put…simple and concise.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickw1995 Patrick

    this will be amazing

  • Osama Muhammed

    can someone show a quick picture example please i cant complete this in my imaginary mind this is getting weirder and weirder

    • http://www.facebook.com/shiiosavila Shiios Avila

      Look at the background of the ios 7 banner on top of this article. Imagine it as the base color for every stock app but with different colored buttons depending on which app it is (colors from the wwdc logo, imagine the yellow background in the ios 7 banner as the buttons for notepad ). Fonts will be black obviously but not sure for the font within the buttons (could be white since the number 7 is white from within the yellow ) I’m actually indifferent for the new design, I’m satisfied with the current look yet not nervous at all for an overhaul change. I’m sure they would nail it.

  • http://twitter.com/HeitorStifler Heitor Castro 

    I have no expectations about iOS 7. Just hoping for Apple to surprise me.

  • Osama Muhammed

    “each app has been given a unique button color” .. Now WWDC logo makes a sense

  • http://twitter.com/rick5up Ricky

    I thought ther would be a video hahaha

  • Jim Wilson

    My suggestion is, if its not broken don’t fix it. Forget all this personality crap, gcoing flat and B&W sounds terrible to me personally. Apple’s thoudands of engineers should spend time creating great new features, figuring how to package the iPhone with a 5″ screen, ranther than re-engineering the iOS icon and background screens, which presently are wonderful. And BTW, what’s wrong with the Book shelf looking like a book shelf.

    BAD MOVE IVE.

    • http://twitter.com/iPod_touch Jordan Dixon

      Caves weren’t broken when humans were living in them about 100,000 years ago. Wanna go live in a cave? No, I didn’t think so. If everyone lived by the whole “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” we’d all still be living in caves, drawing pictures on stone – because that way of life wasn’t broken, but we found a better way of living.

      • Jorge Cabral

        But that is exactly what Ive is doing… He is going to paint the “cave” in a different color instead of thinking about actually leaving the cave of giving it new characteristics like a window or a door… We have heard very little about how iOS will change in functionality and more on how it will look but maintaining the same limitations it has now… I believe that is what Jim Wilson was refering to.

      • Jonathan Kesler

        THIS!!!!

        THANK YOU!!! FINALLY SOMEONE WITH SOME SENSE AROUND HERE!!!

      • Jonathan Kesler

        This makes no sense. You’re actually going to make this comparison over apple’s iOS changes?

        Personally, I think that, in typical post-Jobs apple fashion, all they’re going to do is make the OS flat, black and white, and not add a single useful feature, while still very arrogantly laying claim that iOS is “the most advanced mobile operating system in the world” when iOS can’t do half the things android has been able to do since ICS.

    • Gorgonphone

      yes

    • Jay Mac

      YES! THIS! I just said something similar to this on iMore’s website. And YES again to @jorge_cabral:disqus comment as well! Ive is just painting the cave. And he’s painting it even worse. Black and white is boring. It makes little sense when there are more rumors than ever saying that budget iPhones and iPhone 5S’ are going to coming out in colors. I don’t get it. Sure some aspects are not good. I think it’s safe to say that very few people find Game Center appealing to the eye. But who ares if iBooks is a book shelf. Who cares if the notes app look like a yellow note pad. Odds are by now, people have found different apps to replace some of them because either the stock apps didn’t do what they needed, or they didn’t like the look of them.

      Everyone’s hoping for something new but we’re not going to get it. The main part of the iPhone, the homescreen, will still be a grid of icons. Only now possible either “flatter” or black and white.” Oh…how exciting.

      And if this “redesign” mess is all we see in iOS 7, with no stand out new features, I’ll be very upset. This is the year for iOS to shine since it’s a 5S hardware this year. I rather have amazing new features then black and white apps.

    • Sajana Indula

      “My suggestion is, if its not broken don’t fix it.”
      That kind of mindset was what got BlackBerry destroyed when the iPhone came out. If they pulled their pants up and “fixed it” then RIM would be in the main iPhone competitor as of now.

      • Jonathan Kesler

        It’d be up there with iOS and Android because I doubt RIM would’ve stopped Android, hell, Android is a better OS than even iOS now, and it’s being backed by more powerful hardware like the HTC One, GS4, and Xperia Z.

    • Guest

      It was this kind of statements that lead to Blackberry’s downfall.
      The Bold and its brethren were perfectly good phones,but that didn’t stop the public from gravitating to the newer and much more appealing iPhone. Its high time Apple switched stuff around in a big way, since it too is now getting long in the tooth.

  • Mr. E

    As long as it blends well with the hardware it’ll be fine

  • Jamie Tilden

    Ugh this sounds pretty terrible actually

  • http://www.facebook.com/shiiosavila Shiios Avila

    I’ve always thought that apps looking like the real thing is part of the Apple appeal. I mean its simple, attractive and better suited for the less tech saavy (which is a majority of ios users). They are basic apps after aIl, if people want more there is plethora of good applications in the appstore. Also, I actually think the Ayecon theme can stand the test of time… Hope it gets updated to comply with the ios7 changes.. (Notes icon cannot be yellow anymore basing from this article)

    • Gorgonphone

      exaclty

    • Jonathan Kesler

      Jony Ive is a good hardware designer but this sounds like as the designer of iOS 7 he will fail. I personally hate the thought of a “flatter” iOS.

  • gregor.zolii

    If I’d have a sense of humor, I’d say with iOS 4 apple gave us the chance to change the wallpaper on your device. Now, with iOS 7 the black background will come back. That’s what I call innovation. Don’t worry, just joking :D

    • Gorgonphone

      i have a black background now…lool

  • Lagax

    So… I don’t like this! It sounds like they really need sb else to design their OS! I always thought Ive would get us a really great iOS design! But this goes too android! And every apple user tries to rebel(at least a little bit) against commercialization and equality! I miss Steve Jobs! He would fire a person for only thinking about this!

    • Gorgonphone

      yes Steve kept ivy down n the hardware design room fro a reason… ive is not they guy for the UI and over all look of the OS you guys will see this when IOS 7 comes out

  • onebyone_

    I want something different and more battery life to my iDevices.

  • Antzboogie

    Just waiting for Jailbreak so I can change colors myself later Lol!! Apple we want complete control over our devices not one you give to us thanks.

    • Gorgonphone

      yes

    • Jonathan Kesler

      You’re of my mindset as well. If you’re not too invested in Apple I suggest you try an Android I’ve been waiting 5 years for a major overhaul to iOS and it hasn’t come.

      The thing about apple is that they are so narcissistic and arrogant that the iPhone isn’t your phone, it is Apple’s phone that they have so kindly let you purchase to use within the limits they allow you to use THEIR phone.

      That’s why a jailbreak voids warranty, because you DARED to tweak THEIR device.

  • maverickmax

    notes app without the yellow :( thank the universe for jailbreak tweaks :D

    • Gorgonphone

      um just give us the option to change the look don’t force us to accept your new flat bring design please.

  • Juan C Garcia

    yeah mo fuckas! TIRED of the same freaking iOS for years…. do something fresh and blow our minds (and cocks)

    • Gorgonphone

      NO! only do something new if its going to be better than what we have now..

      • Dylfo

        What we have now looks old and boring though

      • Juan C Garcia

        sadly, even if they make ios 7 shitty as hell, people will still buy their products…so in the end, they dont give a fu

      • Johnny S.

        You sound like a butthurt fandroid

      • Juan C Garcia

        I have an iphone 5 dickhead, and include myself in the ones buying the 5s even it ios7 is shitty like your mothers twat

      • Dylfo

        You’re right

  • Ross Baltimore

    Enough about Ive’s flat design, skeumorphism, “new” iOS Concepts, and all of the same stupid stuff we’ve been hearing about since like 2 days after Forstall was fired. The only thing that has changed less than the iOS user interface over the last 2 years is the “reporting” about it.

    If you have news, report it. If you have a tenuous rumor from someone who claims to have seen some of the new iOS 7 GUI, report that (even though it’ll probably turn out to be wrong). If you read an article 6 months ago about Jony Ive’s vision for a flatter, less skeumorphic interface, just post a link to it and say, “Change a couple of words here and there and pretend I wrote a totally new article.”

    • http://twitter.com/iPod_touch Jordan Dixon

      This is a new tenuous rumour from someone who claims to have seen some of the new iOS 7 GUI

  • Avery Massenburg

    Kinda sounds like iOS 6’s music player. And that doesn’t look half bad.
    I’m looking forward to the new design.

  • Ross Baltimore

    Actually, now that I read this more carefully, this article probably has more actual substance than I have it credit for. I was wrong – my apologies to the writer.

    • Gorgonphone

      no you are wrong now..

  • iOops

    I sure hope they don’t drop the ball.. This is starting to sound more and more.. what’s another word for retarded?

  • Gorgonphone

    it will be simple and boring as hell..

  • Prasoon Singh

    Just black and white? Um we’re not in the 80’s anymore.

  • Prasoon Singh

    This black and white rumor thing is just incredibly stupid. We’re not in the 1980’s anymore Apple.

  • Prasoon Singh

    So by having something new, you make it black and white? Great job.

    • Kurt

      copying the look of the Prada Phone again

  • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon Weidema

    you would be surprised with what a good designer can do with black and white, ill wait and see lol

  • RyanB

    Do you know if this a genuine theme?

  • RyanB

    iOS’86 winterboard theme in Cydia.

  • inf3rn0

    Maybe the media could die down a bit, concepts could stop appearing every other day, and WWDC would just come a bit faster…

    …nah.

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Sounds completely like a WinterBoard theme is all iOS 7 brings to the table…lame.

  • kziad_one

    I don’t care about what iO7 is going to bring. Just waiting for the release so I can rejailbreak my iPhone 5. Any jailbroken iPhone 5 customized just right out perfomes any android, but without it it’s just a brick. About this black/white/flat bullcrap, with so many Cydia’s themes available Im not worried, So Apple CHOP CHOP !!!

  • Michelle Ireland

    If this is the future of iPhone..I’m out. This new design sounds absolutely unattractive and dull. Jony Ive sounds like a backwards bore

  • mav3rick

    Double post.

  • Jonathan Kesler

    Oh to be jailbroken again. *sigh*

    Unfortunately I updated to 6.1.4 not knowing that evasi0n wasn’t going to jailbreak any other versions until iOS 7 was released. I can only look longingly now.

  • Niki Vaghela

    There needs to be a huge change