Having used iPhones for nigh on 5 years imagine my trepidation when iOS 7 was announced back in June to fanfare and pomp. Changes to iOS had been mooted for a couple of years but in many ways the unchanging nature of Apple’s operating system was part of it’s appeal for many users. Small tweaks and features aside, the glossy icons and usability of iOS had changed very little in it’s 6 year life span…but with Android getting regular major updates and more and more buyers migrating to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, it was time for Apple to make some serious waves with their latest roll out.
Have they succeeded? Well going by the first few screen shots and reports from downloaders of the beta trial version, 7 appeared alot less bling and alot more simplistic/colour filled with a generous handful of new features like a shortcut screen, Airdrop filesharing system and an overall cleaner user experience. A few months later and Apple launched 2 new handsets to go with their new interface; the aptly coloured iPhone 5c and effectively a refreshed 5s. Although both phones have their own unique selling points over the iPhone 5, neither has that wow factor and therefore it was up to iOS 7 to retain customer interest in a phenomenally successful but increasingly derided product line.
Just over a week after the announcement of the 2 new phones and a couple of days before their on sale date, iOS 7 was finally released to the baying masses at 6pm GMT…rather annoying that we had to wait so long but I guess that way the whole planet gets it at the same time. Upon plugging my iPhone in and waiting for the new software to download I was greeted with a download time of nearly 12 hours! I guess the combination of millions of users attempting to download it at the same time plus a file size of nearly 1GB meant that nobody was going to get it anytime soon, but the next morning I was able to wake up with both my iPhone and iPad happily updated and running the bright new operating system.
After 2 weeks of using it I’m pretty much used to the system bar a few details. What is it like to use? Well I like the new icons and keypad…the whole user experience comes across as a lot more simple and probably in line with the Windows OS phones in terms of aesthetics at least. A lot of the other bits are pretty similar bar a few extra things like gradual ‘waking up’ of the screen and the interesting new active wallpaper. What I am not so keen on however are the new notification centres. The old one (brought up by swiping down from the top of the screen) was not something I used too often but it did have it’s uses…and clicking the home button twice brought up a list of open apps or things like change song/pause/volume. As somebody who dislikes unlocking their phone all the time I found the double click to be really useful to pause music fast. The new notification centres are brought up from swiping from the top OR bottom of the screen…the top one shows current weather plus any missed notifications whilst the bottom shows open apps and gives the ability to turn on/off wifi, bluetooth or airplane mode; I’ve read a lot of praise for these features but it is probably the one thing I am still getting used to.
Nearly every Apple user who can get this update will get it eventually…this doesn’t mean that they will all like it (my mum certainly didn’t) but ‘progress’ is something that is often forced upon the masses for the greater good.
Sorry this hasn’t been a great review of iOS 7, but in simple terms it’s a solid upgrade from what was getting to be a bit of a boring operating system…whether this is going to be enough for Apple to regain some ground remains to be seen.