The World Wide Developer Conference of Apple to be held next week in San Francisco is expected to introduce a complete makeover for iOS, the company’s mobile operating system. Karthik Subramanian has the low-down
There are gadget lovers and then there are Apple lovers. There is something about Apple that has attracted a near cult-like following the world over and next week’s World Wide Developer Conference has raised expectations on how the experience of the company’s mobile products — the iPhones, the iPads and the iPods — is set for a complete overhaul.
A lot of hope is riding on two legendary Silicon Valley figures — industrial designer Jonathan ‘Jony’ Ive and software engineering chief Craig Federighi — who are said to have completely revamped the user interface of the mobile operating system iOS7 so much so once the software updates are rolled out after the announcement at the conference, users will be able to use their Apple mobile products in a brand new way.
Apple is incredibly secretive about its projects in the making. However, last week, at the D11 Conference of Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital, Apple CEO Tim Cook told technology writers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher that Apple fans could expect a major overhaul of both iOS and OSX to be announced at the WWDC 2013. He also hinted that the ‘Jony’ Ive upgrade to the software was of prime significance and that he had been working on it for nearly seven months. “We recognised that Jony had contributed significantly to the look and feel of Apple over many, many years, and he could do that for our software as well,” said Cook. “The whole concept is to tighten the groups even more, so we can spend more time finding magic at the intersection. Now, it’s seven months later, and I think it’s been an incredible change,” he added.
Cook’s quotes can be agonisingly confusing as they hide more than they reveal, but some of the popular Apple forums online such as 9to5Mac, Apple Insider and Mac Rumours have been putting out information that most believe is true.
Skeuomorphic design out
Skeuo...what’s that, you might ask. One of the changes expected in the new iOS 7 design is doing away with the skeuomorphic design, a style where the digital entities resemble their real-life equivalents. Like the wooden shelf for iBooks or the handwriting style font for Note App of iOS, this design palette was supposed to be a favourite of Steve Jobs.
Recent design changes on Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Google’s new design suggest that flatter, non-skeuomorphic designs are capturing people’s attention better.
The word is out that the new iOS 7 will be a lot “flatter” than its predecessors. Also, Ive is expected to bring in his brand of minimalism to the design.
Another service that is most likely to appear next week, at least in the U.S. markets first, is Apple’s answer to Google’s recently announced music streaming service “All Access”. Technology forums have tentatively named it ‘iRadio,’ a service that would allow Apple users to stream unlimited music from its iTunes catalogue for a monthly fee. Players such as Spotify and Pandora have been offering this service for some time now, but it looks like it is about to get mainstream traction.
Google’s “All Access” is not available in India, where securing the rights for the service seems to be a problem. But in all likelihood, the services can be expected to arrive within the next few months.
In what is probably the strongest indication yet that Apple might be working on the famous ‘iWatch’ project, Cook spoke about the “immense interest” the company has in wearable technology at the D11 conference.
He said ‘Google Glass’ might end up becoming a niche product as he did not think many would prefer wearing glasses but added that wearing a gadget on one’s wrists was a totally different ball game.
The WWDC 2013 is being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from June 10 to 14, and the announcements regarding the new designs for iOS 7, as well as a possible upgrade to the Macbook Pro with faster processors, are expected to be made by Apple’s top brass.