In the past, most of the iOS designers were cut out of the loop on specifics relating to the hardware of the devices they were designing for. On prototype projects, Ive used a stealth group of software developers. However, that is slowing starting to change, says the Journal.
The Human Interface team led by Greg Christie is being briefed about industrial prototypes earlier. A source described the change as "a thawing". Ive now sits in on the team's review sessions to vet new designs and despite Christie being a blunt talker the sessions are described as "pleasant and cordial".
Some suggested that in Apple’s next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more “flat design” that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative. For the past few years, Apple has unveiled versions of its mobile operating system in the summer.
Last year, Apple pushed out iOS SVP Scott Forstall and combined the Mac and iOS software teams under SVP Craig Federighi. According to employees, Federighi is keeping the teams separate for now but there is a lot of overlap. For example, there are two teams working on Calendar. It's expected that some reorganization will happen this summer.
You can check out a recent iOS 7 concept video here that has some flatter design elements.