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iOS 7 rumoured to be a 'significant overhaul', but running late

iOS 7 will be a "significant overhaul", according to well-connected Apple blogger John Gruber -- but it's also running behind schedule.

iOS 7, the next major update to Apple's mobile software, will be a "significant overhaul", according to well-connected Apple blogger John Gruber -- but it's also running behind schedule.

In a chat on Branch last night, Gruber and various other high-powered Silicon Valley gossips chewed the fat on Cook and company's possible next moves. "What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind," wrote Gruber, "and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it.

"Regarding Ive," Gruber added, referring to knight of the realm and Blue Peter badge winner Sir Jony Ive, recently installed as head of software as well as hardware, "Word on the street is that iOS engineers with carry privileges all have some sort of polarizing filter on their iPhone displays, such that it greatly decreases viewing angles, thus making it difficult for observers to see the apparently rather significant system-wide UI overhaul."

"Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy," added Rene Ritchie of iMore, "but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad."

Apple insiders who talked to the Wall Street Journal recently claimed the new look is much "starker and simpler", a "flat design" as opposed to the current curved reflections, which tallies with Ritchie's comment. 

iOS 7 seems likely to make its debut, then, not in a new iPad in April or May, but with a new iPhone, perhaps at the WWDC show in June, although that would be a departure from previous years. It may pitch the launch as more about a fresh start for iOS than a brand-new iPhone, with the 5S likely to be very similar to the 5, if previous updates are anything to go by.

iOS has looked, essentially, the same since it launched six years ago. Android has long since surpassed it in flexibility and features, and in many incarnations in polish too.

I would go as far as to say iOS is stale, and features such as notifications -- added in an effort to keep up with Android -- have not been seamlessly integrated. Alongside the Maps calamity and Siri's hobbled international launch, Apple has some making up to do with its next release. It'll never offer the profusion of (often confusing or pointless) features Samsung does, but it needs a good freshening up.

What do you think Apple can do to rejuvenate iOS? What do other operating systems currently do better? Or is it just tickety-boo as it is? Interface with me in the comments, or over on our cutting-edge Facebook page.