iOS 7 team poaching Mac coders to meet WWDC preview deadline

Apple has shifted engineers from work on OS X 10.9 to double-down on iOS 7 development, leaks suggest, juggling staff so as to ensure the new iPhone and iPad platform is ready in time for WWDC 2013. The significant refresh of iOS – which is believed to see a "flattening" of the interface, away from the so-called skeuomorphic designs that have persisted through existing versions – has been coder-intensive, sources tell AllThingsD, though there's confidence that iOS 7 "will ship on time."

Chatter of just how much of a challenge the mobile overhaul was turning out to be peaked earlier this week, with unofficial reports from inside Apple suggesting that the extent of the company's plans may force a staggered release of sorts. As well as aiming to change the aesthetics of iOS, chief designer Jony Ive is also believed to be looking to rework certain core apps, including email and calendar.

Whether those refreshes would be ready in time for the main iOS 7 release was unclear, the insiders pointed out, with some concerns that their arrival might be pushed back into 2014.

So as to avoid any delay – though, to be fair, Apple hasn't yet pegged a public release date on iOS 7 – the company has been "borrowing" engineers from the Mac team to work on the iOS project. It's a move that has some history; Apple did the same back in 2007, shifting OS X coders to the iOS 5 team so as to meet its deadlines for that release, too.

The end result may well be worth waiting for, though. Though iPhone and iPad sales have remained impressive, there has been a growing call for the company to look at the cleaner, less fussy examples set by rival platforms and reconsider its wood- and leather-effect designs, which attempt to mimic real-world materials or devices, in most cases unnecessarily.

iOS 7, therefore, will be "de-glitzed" according to one unnamed source, with elements like the green-felt finish in Game Center to be removed in favor of a more authentic finish. That's also been described as "a much-needed 'de-Forstallization" by another source, referring to former interface chief Scott Forstall who left the company in 2012, and who was known as a strong supporter of skeuomorphic design.

Exactly what parts of iOS 7 will be ready for WWDC in June 2013 remain to be seen. If the preview takes the same form as in previous years, however, Apple will likely pick ten key features to highlight and save the rest until closer to release.