iOS 7- Initial Impressions
September 18, 2013
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I was reading through several posts that reminded prospective updaters to iOS 7 yesterday of the potential frustrations that awaited users as a result of high server loads and various bugs within iOS 7 that would no doubt slow down their update to the latest iteration of Apple’s mobile OS. On October 2011, crowded servers meant that the iOS 5 install was delayed, and after I did get the OS onto my devices, a poorly-set synchronisation setting completely wiped all of my data, so I had pulled the closest thing I did in my undergraduate career to an all-nighter in an effort to restore the data to my devices. Fortunately, the iOS 7 update procedure today proved far more straightforward: my battle-worn iPad 2 was updated via a connection to my desktop. This was effortless, as iTunes simply asked me if I wanted to make the update, and efficiently installed the new OS. On the retina-display iPad, I merely had to hit the “update” button in the systems settings, and off it went, downloading at a steady 2.0 MB/s over my wireless network. Because my iPod Touch is a 4th generation device, it was shafted by the new iOS update, but the silver lining is that I will not be updating to an OS that could cause a large amount of lag in the older hardware.
- Whereas the difference between iOS 5 and iOS 6 were minimal, the jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7 is such a visual treat. Notice how some apps, such as iBooks and Amairo*Clock, still have previous generation icons in comparison to the elegant new icons for the native iOS apps, except YouTube, because they made some recent updates that make their app feel up-to-date and responsive. Also, allow me to reminisce about how efficient the update was: remember, folks, when you’re downloading stuff at 5 MB/s, downloading iOS 7 won’t take 43 minutes.
- A lot of mobile OS reviewers out there said that Apple could stand to learn a few things from Microsoft and its Windows Phone 8. It looks like Apple took this advice a little too literally, basing their new multitasking menu off the one found on Windows Phone 8. With that said, Apple one-ups Microsoft here, adding the capacity to close an active app by swiping the app upwards. I am very pleased with this functionality; it brings something I love about the Windows Phone 8 platform to iOS.
- All of the native iOS apps get a beautiful new look, feeling modern and minimal to emphasise the content. Browsing in the new Safari is as smooth as ever, though it did take me some effort to acclimatise to the new location of the favourites and share buttons. There is also a little something called shared links now, which provides a neat shortcut to links posted by the people I follow on Twitter. This is bloody useful.
- Lyrics are back on iOS 7 for iPad, baby. The newly designed music app looks even better than it used to, allowing me to navigate effortlessly though all my music, and most importantly, brings back lyrics to the iPad, which were removed since the iOS 5 update two years ago. This change was undocumented, and Apple had never formally explained why they removed the lyrics. It took two years to bring the lyrics back, and since I’m likely not capable of updating to iOS 8, lyrics on my iPad are here to stay.
- The videos application also gets a change, retaining its old layout but appearing more modern in graphical terms. I’ve opted not to mention the new notifications centre because aside from a new screen-filling appearance and increased amount of information it gives, it behaves similarly to the old one but strips away the capacity to post a Facebook status or Tweet.
I’ve only been playing around with iOS 7 for the past hour or so, but a majority of my reactions are positive. The new design is reminiscent of the Windows Metro design. Clean and elegant, it brings iOS into the modern era, making my iPad feel like my Windows Phone and doing away with the skeuomorphism that made the iOS feel like a previous generation device. Modern technology is supposed to be sleek and elegant, and the new iOS delivers: in fact, the new animations and behaviours make things feel like an elegant, interactive version of Prezi. While I’m still more used to the older multi-touch gestures; the new Spotlight search (one-fingered down on the home screen) and Control Centre (one-fingered up on the dock) take some getting used to, but I love the fact that I can now turn on my WiFi without going into the settings. While iOS 7 still functions as it did previously, the updates are refreshing and most welcome. Of course, I imagine that my iPad 2 will not have any support for iOS 8 once it comes out, but I do intend on using the iPad 2 until the very end.