Apple Overhauls Design With iOS 7, Will Changes be Better for App Developers?

It’s no secret in the mobile app community that developers get their hands on beta versions of new operating systems months in advance. This benefits companies such as Apple because it helps draw excitement for the new OS, and it’s good for developers who can boast about updates or even brand new apps.

Now, app developers have the “gold master” version — the version that the masses have to wait until Sept. 18 to get — of the highly publicized iOS 7, and they are likely hard at work putting the finishing touches on updates and new apps that are optimized for the new software.

This usually brings a mixed bag for developers. They have to worry about the extra work they put in for the new OS, they have to worry about backwards compatibility and they have to worry about maximizing the new capabilities of the software. On the other hand, the end of the process likely brings a great-looking app that they might not have thought possible a year or so earlier.

Our friends at GigaOM authored a fantastic story that looked at the amount of app submissions over this year, and the number has dropped significantly (see the chart below). While the exact reason can’t be 100 percent confirmed, it’s incredibly likely that developers have been perfecting the iOS 7 versions of their existing apps or waiting to submit a brand new concept.

iOS 7 looks like something we should expect from Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design. The man behind the colorful iMacs from the early 2000s is at it again. This time, he is not only focusing on the aesthetic changes of the hardware , but he is turning iOS 7 into a flatter, more colorful, interface. Ive and Apple have been inching more toward a minimalist-style of design for years, and it seems iOS 7 is the biggest leap in that direction yet. The challenge for developers is to fit into the new style or risk looking old and out of date.

The pros and cons of the minimalist design vs. the principles of skeuomorphism — digital design that resembles real objects — was expertly explained by EveryThink CEO Yair Grinberg in a VentureBeat guest post . Which design is prettier, more user-friendly or better for designers? It’s a tough call. It might take awhile to really know.

At Appular, we know this: Any new product release, whether it be from Apple, Google, Microsoft or any of the major players in the tech industry, will be highly scrutinized, analyzed and criticized. While developers have had beta versions of iOS 7 for a little while, let’s try to exercise patience when judging new apps and app updates. It seems that iOS 7 is the most drastic change in mobile operating systems in years, and we can expect a fair amount of bugs and difficulties in the early stages of adoption.