In the past, Jonathan Ive, the executive behind the sleek look of Apple's hardware, has had his own software development team create proxy operating systems that are used in the design phase of a new product.
The team developing the software that will end up in the product in stores, however, has been working on software without even knowing what product their programs might eventually be operating, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
With the departure in 2012 of Scott Forstall, the former head of iOS software, the two divisions have worked together with Ive attending software design meetings that have been described as "pleasant and cordial," a source close to the company said.
CNN reported Saturday that Ive is pressing for design changes that will give Apple products a simpler, less cluttered and flatter look.
Ive is not a fan of the analogue-oriented icons that Forstall favored, such as the symbol of a reel-to-reel tape deck that appears during a playback operation.
Analysts expect changes for the next generation operating system to be conservative, both the Journal and CNN reported.
Expect "some fairly significant changes to the design within some key apps and system-level elements, but overall don't expect a hugely different iOS," said MG Siegler, an Apple columnist at TechCrunch.
The term iOS refers to Apple's operating system.