When Apple originally announced iOS 7 at WWDC 2013, it became pretty obvious that the release was to feature the biggest change to iOS since any version of iOS in the past, it really is the biggest change to iOS since iOS 7. Naturally with big changes comes confusion to users after upgrading, luckily Apple knows this and has made the changes, even pretty big ones, retain much of that iOS familiarization in iOS 7.
With a big software update naturally comes a list of awesome new features, but within them niggles, so here’s our 5 new things to love about iOS 7, and to be transparent, 5 things to not love about iOS 7.
5 things to love
1. “Revolutionary” new UI
One of the biggest things to come out of iOS 7, and easily the most noticeable, and noted, is the new user interface, whilst the new UI of iOS 7 may take some time to get used to, it’s actually not that bad, and once you give it time it really does grow on you. We’ll be talking more about other aspects of the UI throughout this post.
iOS 7 clearly takes cues from the likes of Android, Windows Phone especially, with it’s more flatter design, with clearer vibrant colour pallet and more pronounced font type face, but that’s a good thing!
You always here of people complaining that one thing’s copied the another, but the fact is, everyone has copied someone sometime! Once you realize that, you can then begin to appreciate some of the awesome improvements added to iOS with iOS 7. Whilst the UI won’t appeal to everyone, its definitely a welcome change to what iOS has generally being for the last 6+ years.
2. UI Tweaks
iOS 7 features some incredibly useful UI tweaks, that yes look all well and good, but more importantly actually make the OS work better. Multitasking is better than ever with a full screen UI, plus ability to close 3 apps at once with a simple swipe up gesture. Swiping up from the bottom brings up Control Centre featuring quick Settings toggles, music controls and access to a preset selection of apps. Notification Center has also had a make over, now offering a Today view, and swipe options in Notification Centre to show any missed Notifications or All.
3. New UI for Apps
When an OS comes out with an entirely new user interface, or supporting a UI in a certain way, third party developers take advantage of it, we saw that with the first iPhone UI, Windows Phone’s Modern UI and more, iOS 7 is no different. A wide variety of third party developers have stated that they are updating / updated their app with a brand new UI to support the UI querks in iOS 7, which can only make the experience that much better overall, and we can’t wait to see just how different these apps look in time.
The folks over at MacRumors have created a list of apps that have taken advantage of the new iOS 7 UI already, and this is just the beginning! Even Apple has now added a section in the App Store for apps “Designed for iOS 7”, apps are starting to get exciting on iOS again!
Safari may seem like a strange thing to mention as a Top 5, but it kind of makes sense, especially when you consider the most used app on anyones Computing device is the browser! Whilst Safari has a dreadful icon, once you get past that and launch the app it’s actually a pretty awesome browser. Naturally Safari on iOS 7 has a higher grade of web performance with HTML5 score improving from 386 to 404, as well as a pretty damn slick Tabs view. Whilst ‘what does that icon mean’ fever may occur when you first launch it, remember everything is where it used to be and you’ll be on your way.
5. New APIs
APIs are awesome, not only do they give Developers more and more freedom to create amazing apps for the platform in question, but they allow apps and games to truly take the hardware and the software to it’s ultimate limit. One API enhancement brought to the table in iOS 7 that hasn’t really had the exposure it deserves is the ability for developers to add Game Controller support in to their apps, this has potential to be pretty darn big, watch this space on that I say as Apple has already begun approving apps supporting it! Of course that’s not the only API introduced in iOS 7, over 1,499 other ones were, but that’s the most exciting one to us.
5 things to hate
1. If you can, wait till iOS 7.0.1
Think of iOS 7 as iOS 1 revisited, iOS 7 is not simply an update of iOS 6, it’s a UI overhaul and software overhaul too, this naturally is going to cause bugs and niggles that even with the GM aren’t fully over yet. For example try closing 3 apps at a time quickly in Multitasking with over 7 apps and you’ll find an icon with no window, bug, or renaming a Folder then restarting your phone, it’ll turn to the old name, bug!
Of course bugs aren’t surprising, and reports are already circling that Apple is already working on iOS 7.0.1 and even 7.1, which is when I’d suggest would be then safe to update.
2. iOS 7 feels rushed
Apple changed the entire ethos of iOS with iOS 7, but the problem with that is it feels like they did it all pretty quickly, almost too quickly, and in quite a lot of occasions you can’t help feeling the OS was generally rushed. This might just be us but, general inconsistencies over the entire UI just make it rather ugly to use, also is that lag I see in the final version, eww. Of course this point could easily be pointed as a Point 1 continued, which it is, waiting for at least 1 OS patch is always best, but at GM stage, especially on iPad, iOS 7 in some areas doesn’t even feel ready, to the point we recommend all iPad users stick to iOS 6 for now.
3. “Revolutionary” new UI…those icons.
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking ‘this was in the Top 5 things we love’, true it was, but it’s definitely fair to say the UI, specifically the icons are far from well received in iOS 7.
One reason for this is that iOS 7’s icons were actually not designed by the same team that designed the rest of the OS in Jony Ive’s team, inconsistencies in departments could be very much the reason for Point 2.
Thankfully the icons have, and are constantly seeing rapid improvements in time, plus look miles better with the wallpaper default on the new iPhone 5[S] and iPhone 5[C].
Brief history lesson. iOS originally was the work of Scott Forstall (seen here with 50 Cent … I don’t know either) and with it came a UI scheme known as skeumorphism to iOS, essentially meaning apps looked like what they were portraying (Game Centre looked like a Pool table, Notes looked like a padded Notepad etc), but due to tension at Apple due to Forstall he was ousted after iOS 6, and work on iOS and iOS 7 was put towards Jony Ive and Craig Federighi, cue iOS 7.
4. Features left out
Luckily this is a small section as not much has been left out in comparison to iOS 6, but a couple have been left out which are pretty big of note.
- Social Sharing
This is a big one. One of the best things about iOS 5 (Twitter only) iOS 6 (added Facebook too) Notification Centre has been the simple ability to swipe down and tap either ‘Tap to Tweet’ or ‘Tap to Post’ to post an update to either Twitter or Facebook respectively. That feature, no more in iOS 7, why? Who knows, cause we sure don’t! It’s interesting to note though that iOS 7 has a new unified share sheet throughout the UI so we’d expect it to be available from the Home screen somehow in the future, but lacking it is really something I’ll be missing a lot!
- iCloud Keychain *coming soon*
This feature has been confirmed to be coming soon so not as much worry is on this, but it’s still odd that they’d omit it from release after it being in so many Betas. iCloud Keychain is similar to 1Password, *which is available for OS X and iOS by the way*, in the way that is saves your Passwords securely and separate from the apps that would usually which to access them, the browser. In iOS 7 Apple added their own version of this with iCloud Keychain and it was actually working pretty well, so it’ll be interesting to see why it went and when it comes back. iCloud Keychain of course syncs your Passwords with your iCloud account from OS X Mavericks, and adding iOS 7 would sure be awesome!
5. Performance on certain hardware
We hear this every update, “my phones slow since updating”, which begs the obvious statement of why Apple limits the device availability of iOS updates. iOS 7 performs perfectly optimal on the iPhone 5 and 4S from what we’ve seen, although its fair to say it was designed for a 4 inch device, however performance on iPhone 4 has been less than can be desired. Performance on an iPhone 4 isn’t painful, it’s no more painful than one of those cheap low cost Android devices everyone carries around, but for anyone who remembers how the iPhone 4 was running when they first bought it, it’ll be quite different that’s for sure.
Of course this is to be expected, the iPhone 4 is over 3 years old, which is pretty much the lasting period of iOS devices historically so it’s at least good that they provided iOS 7 anyway.
And there you have it, our Top 5 Things to Love and Things to Not… about iOS 7, I think it’s fair to say iOS 7 is a mixed bag, but mostly its a good bag, think of it as a pack of Revels where 2 of the flavours are a bit sickly but the rest are good, that’s pretty much what we think of iOS 7. Based on the Revel example, that’s a 7/10 review for iOS 7 then!
=Want to download iOS 7, check that Software Update on your iOS device, or download the latest update of iTunes.