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Is the new Apple Music icon our first glimpse of iOS 15?

It's no stretch to say that Apple's iOS software is beginning to look a little long in the tooth. You have to look back as far as 2013 to find the last major design overhaul of iOS when the company's realistic skeuomorphism was dramatically eschewed in favour of stark, flat design with iOS 7. But it seems a touch of texture could finally be back on the cards for iOS 15.

A brand new app icon was quietly released by Apple yesterday, and this is the source of the rumours. The new Apple Music for Artists icon (below) is a simpler, more streamlined affair. And it features – shock, horror – shadow. (Check out our best Apple deals if you're ready to join the iOS ecosystem.)

iOS Music icons

The new Apple Music for Artists icon (right) vs the old version (left) (Image credit: Apple/Future owns)

Now, at first glance, a new logo for Apple's artist-specific music stats app might not seem a huge deal. Apple Music for Artists has a naturally small audience, and the average iPhone user won't even see the new icon on their homescreen.

What's curious here is that the new icon so closely resembles another new iOS icon – also aimed at a relatively small audience. The icon for App Store Connect, designed for content producers, was recently updated in the exact same style, complete with white background, thin outer frame and, yep, shadows. 

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Now, that might not seem a big deal either – Apple has updated two iOS app icons, so what? As many users have spotted, these new designs look rather a lot like the icons introduced with macOS Big Sur – which means they sit somewhere between skeumorphism and flat design (hello, neumorphism).

MacOS Big Sur icons

The icons look rather a lot like those found on macOS Big Sur (Image credit: Apple)

Put these coincidences together, and it's starting to look like Apple could be planning to make iOS look a lot more like macOS. Which means iOS 15 could be a lot less, well, flat. And with several corners of the internet suffering from flat design fatigue, a more three-dimensional iPhone UI could well prove popular (even if the reaction to macOS Big Sur's icons was initially mixed).

There are already a ton of exciting iPhone 13 leaks doing the rounds, but it looks like it isn't just the hardware that's in for a fresh coat of paint. And with Apple's virtual WWDC event confirmed for June, we'll no doubt find out exactly what iOS 15 will look like in just a couple of months. If you want the best iPhone experience available right here and now, check out today's best iPhone 12 deals below.

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