iPhone/iOS rumour mill grinds on

iPhone/iOS rumour mill grinds on

01 MAY 2013

Apple is reported to be working on a wide-reaching refresh of its iOS platform, with claims it may be unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference the company has scheduled for June, as speculation grew that a new iPhone will also be announced in a similar timeframe.

According to Mashable, the update will introduce a new user interface for the platform, with a “flatter, less showy aesthetic”. 9to5Mac said this will mean an end to the “skeuomorphic” design used currently, where icons resemble real-world objects such as note pads and calendars.

Such a move is said to reflect the departure of Scott Forstall, previous iOS software head, and his replacement by hardware chief Jony Ive.

Bloomberg said that Ive is also “exploring more dramatic changes to the e-mail and calendar tools”. It also reported that he is “methodically reviewing new designs”, to avoid similar issues to those which marred the launch of Apple Maps.

Other speculation is that the OS will include a “glanceable” design intended to present information more easily to users. This was compared to the design used by Microsoft for Windows Phone.

While iOS has been widely credited with shaking up the smartphone market when it was introduced, it has not seen a significant design refresh since. And in the meantime, former dominant force Symbian is fading into oblivion, while new platforms including Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 have launched.

It was also suggested that the new platform will be used to improve Apple’s position in the vehicle market, with features such as Maps and Siri made available to in-car systems.

Many reports have suggested that some features may end up being held back for iOS 7.1, and that internal deadlines are also closer to release than usual, due to the wide-ranging nature of the work.

Meanwhile, it was suggested that the next iPhone will include a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, to offer improved FaceTime calls. There will also be a dual-shot feature, enabling images to be captured by both the front and rear cameras simultaneously.

Reports said that Japan’s KDDI is set to begin accepting pre-orders for the device from 20 June, indicating a launch early in the third quarter of 2013.

Among the specifications contained in a document purported to have been leaked by the operator are a 13 megapixel camera, and a fingerprint reader. It has previously been reported that Apple has encountered issues related to a fingerprint sensor it is looking to integrate into the iPhone.

No mention was made of NFC, a feature included in most flagship smartphones from vendors other than Apple, but currently absent from the iPhone range.

The current flagship iPhone, iPhone 5, was announced early in September 2012, and made available later that month.

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