An interesting thread between various tech reporters over on discussion site Branch has hinted that Apple could be behind schedule with its significantly redesigned iOS 7, but that the company still plans to hold an April iPad event.
The journalists involved in the discussion, which is still ongoing, seem to agree that Apple's design guru Jony Ive is working on major changes for iOS 7, possibly a complete user interface overhaul, which could be the cause of the delay.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber wrote: "What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it."
"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," Gruber added.
Fox News anchor Clayton Morris claims that he has also heard from engineers at Apple who have "been moved off of their current 'non-profit generating projects' in order to work on the high priority software projects."
iMore's Rene Ritchie said: "Ive's work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad," reiterating rumours that Ive plans to scrap the skeuomorhpic elements found in Apple's iOS apps in favour of a more minimalistic design. On his blog, Gruber claims to have heard similar whispers to Ritchie. Apple's recent Podcasts app update also indicates that the Apple's skeuomorphic designs could soon be a thing of the past.
On the subject of the next-generation iPhone, Engadget's Tim Stevens wrote on the Branch thread that he thinks Apple will wait until its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June to reveal a new iPhone, and suggests that, if the device turns out to be a '5S' update, "a new, revolutionary (Ive-managed) version of iOS dropping at the same time would be a great way to counteract any malaise about the hardware."
However, MacStories' Federico Viticci says that he doesn't think "Apple needs or had time to introduce a 5S in June," because the iPhone 5 is new enough. He thinks Apple should use give this year's WWDC stage time to iOS 7. "More than a 5S, I think new iOS announcement can make a lot of people excited and curious again."
iMore's Ritchie claims to have heard from several sources that there "was/is an event planned for April," and expects that it will see the launch of a new 10in iPad if it is ready on time. The Next Web's Matthew Panzarino agrees with Ritchie in that an April iPad event could be on the cards.
Gruber says that he's heard nothing about Apple events, but he also thinks that the company wants to introduce a 'Mini-style full-size iPad' in April. "If we don't see it in April, I'd guess that it's late. And if it's late, I think they'd do a standalone event in May rather than hold it until WWDC in (I presume) June."
Additionally, Gruber doesn't think Apple will unveil iOS 7 alongside the new iPad because he doesn't expect it to ship with the updated operating system.
Also joining in with the Branch discussion, TechCrunch's MG Siegler, who started the thread after reading the Wall Street Journal's report that Apple will begin its new iPhone production this quarter, wrote that he's heard on multiple occasions that the next-gen iPhone will have a fingerprint scanner that could be used for authentication and payments. However, he's also heard that Apple will charge developers to use the scanner's functionality in their apps.
Panzarino says that he has also received word of the fingerprint scanner from sources outside of the news stories about Apple's acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec last year.
For more details of the discussion, visit the ongoing Branch thread here.