Thursday, September 19, 2013

iOS 7: One day in

Like millions of others worldwide, I upgraded the OS to iOS7 yesterday on my iPhone 4 and iPad Mini. With less than 24 hours experience of the new OS, here are my initial, and very subjective impressions.

Lets get this one out of the way first. On my iPhone 4 which is almost three and a half years old, there are occasions when this shiny new OS is decidely laggy. That may be down to un-optimised apps (although the new iOS7 ready version of Facebook takes about 17 seconds to launch). It's more likely down to the ageing hardware. On the iPad Mini is zips along.

Ok, so here's the lowdown

The Good

  • It's a shiny new interface bring a much needed refresh to a perfectly capable but tired looking OS
  • The notification centre is FAR better and brings the iOS devices closer to what Android and other mobile users have had for a while
  • Ditto the ability to quickly and easily change key settings like wifi, BT etc.
  • Cool (but frankly nonfunctional animations as windows/apps open and close
  • The swipe to close apps in multi-tasking - hey where have I seen that before? Oh yes, Palm's WebOS about 6 years ago.....
  • A neat touch - on the iPad Mini at least - Messages where you don't have a photo for the contact show a grey circle with their initials
  • Apple's weather app - looks much better, though I still use the BBC weather app as my preferred choice

The Bad
  • Siri - never the greatest voice, but now sounds like he's talking through the back of a pillow after having downed eleven pints of lager (yes I know I can change it to that dreadful American woman's voice - or even a foreign language, as demonstrated by both my kids on their iPhones during a Siri-fest a few minutes ago)
  • The keyboard. 
    • The new keyboard is inconsistently applied throughout apps - most use the new one, some (including some of Apple's own - Pages for one) use the old version. Poor.
    • Because the new keyboard is less shaded and the fonts are much thinner, it feels smaller to me. I know it's an optical illusion and I'll get used to it. But that's how it feels at the moment
  • That shiny new interface? It looks like cartoons. Not yet convinced it's better than the old interface.
  • Suddenly after three years of swiping emails left to right to call up the delete button I have to swipe right to left. Why?
  • Reminders. Never the greatest app in the box, but it was vaguely functional (though I still can't get proper sync between my iPhone & my iPad Mini in this one app. Now it's far less intuitive (at least to me), and intuitiveness is something Apple prides itself on.
  • Moving app icons around the screens. This might just be down to my ageing hardware and iOS7's performance on it, but I've found it MUCH harder to accurately drag and drop app icons without putting them somewhere I didn't mean to.
On balance it looks as though there are more cons than pros - that's not necessarily the whole picture though. I'll get used to the OS and some of those concerns will go. There may be some early bugs that a future dot release will improve on.

On the whole, I think it's better.

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