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Apple’s Ive Seen Risking iOS 7 Delay on Software Overhaul

*from, May 1, 2013 (To view original article click here.)

Take Away #1: Jonathan Ive, six months into an expanded role as Apple Inc.’s top product visionary, has embarked on a sweeping software overhaul.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Already in charge of product design, Ive assumed oversight of the look and feel of software running all Apple electronics.
  • Ive’s expanded role comes after a shakeup by CEO Tim Cook last year that included the departure of software chief Scott Forstall.
  • Ive, 46, has begun revamping the iPhone and iPad applications, shunning realistic images, such as wood bookshelves for the Newsstand feature.
  • Ive is exploring more dramatic changes to the e-mail and calendar tools, said people who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.
  • Ive is also methodically reviewing new designs, seeking to avoid a repeat of last year’s release of map tools that were widely panned.
  • Ive is encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware divisions, which operated in silos under co-founder Steve Jobs, people said.

Take Away #2: The introduction of the new features, along with an emphasis on cooperation and deliberation, comes at a cost for Apple.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The sweeping software overhaul leaves Apple at risk of falling behind on a new version of the operating system that runs iPhones and iPads.
  • Engineers are racing to finish iOS 7, the next version of the mobile software, in time for a June preview of Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
  • While the company still expects to release iOS 7 on time as soon as September, internal deadlines for submitting features for testing are being set later than past releases, people said.
  • Staff from Apple’s Mac team have also been roped in to help the mobile-software group finish the job, people said.
  • Apple has made similar moves in the past, including with the first version of iOS in 2007.
  • Another possibility is that Apple’s next upgrade isn’t as robust or feature rich as projected, and some changes come in future releases.

Take Away #3: After Steve Jobs returned as CEO in 1997, Ive’s design of the iMac helped the company regain its footing after nearly falling into bankruptcy.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that Ive was his “spiritual partner” at Apple to whom he gave more operational power than anybody.
  • Ive is widely credited with working with Jobs to create the company’s most famous products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
  • Even so, his specialty has been hardware, designing a product out of materials like aluminum and glass – not software, which is based in code.
  • Ive has also shunned the spotlight, rebuffing overtures to figure more prominently at product events.
  • It’s not clear that Ive will be as effective as Jobs in getting teams to finish projects on time.

Take Away #4: Cook elevated Ive in October, seeking to end clashes between Forstall and other senior managers that flared in the wake of the death of former CEO Jobs, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The strife made it harder for teams to work together and threatened Apple’s ability to keep producing the types of electronics that made it the most valuable company in the world.
  • An operations expert who built Apple’s vast supply chain, Cook opted to leave the minutiae of product design to Ive amid intensifying competition from Samsung and Google.

Take Away #5: Software design involves the graphical style of images on the screen, as well as the deeper experience of how a user progresses through a given task.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Apple hasn’t changed the look of many mobile-software programs like e-mail since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.
  • Social networking features are limited, and applications don’t always work well together, said Benedict Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis in London.
  • “There is some tidying up that needs to be done and a rethinking,” Evans said.
  • Ive is moving the company away from layered and literal – or skeumorphic – design elements.
  • Instead Ive is moving towards ones that are intended to give the software a flatter design more unified and less cluttered.

Take Away #6: Ive has also shown interest in altering how people control their computers.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • He has met with makers of gesture technology that lets people navigate their gadgets by moving their hands, without touching the screen, and a person familiar with those interactions.
  • “If the hardware is going to stay minimalist and reduced, I would say the next step would be to look at 3D interfaces,” said Ross Lovegrove, an industrial designer.

Take Away #7: Ive’s expanded influence comes at a critical time for Apple, as Samsung and Google improve their mobile products – and hire Apple’s employees to do it.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Investors are anxious to see what new products the company will debut without Jobs’ leadership and the competition improves their mobile products.
  • One Apple engineer who left last year said he was quickly contacted by Samsung to invite him in to talk about ways the South Korean company can improve its software.
  • Google recently hired Steve Sinclair, a veteran iOS marketing manager, for its Motorola unit.

Take Away #8: Apple stock falls.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The stock fell 1.6% to $435.50 at 10:38 a.m. in New York.
  • Before today, Apple shares had climbed 9% since April 23, when Cook announced plans for the largest share buyback in corporate history.
  • Even so, Apple remains under pressure to deliver a new breakthrough hit amid slowing growth and a stock price slump.
  • Apple’s stock price slump has wiped out a third of its value since a September peak.

*To view original article from click here.

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