As soon as it struck 10.30 PM in India (10 AM PDT), I went to my iPhone’s settings and checked for software updates. And sure enough, like in previous years, the iOS 7 upgrade was made available at the appointed hour.
Having upgraded to iOS 7 and used it for a day, I have mixed opinions on the new version. While some parts of the refresh are quite remarkable, yet others leave you unimpressed with the lack of attention to detail, something that was a hallmark of Apple during the Steve Jobs era.
Let’s proceed to review the new OS version point by point:
What You’ll Like
1. Simpler yet richer new visual experience that makes your phone screen look bigger by better utilises screen space.
2. Under the hood improvements for faster and smoother performance.
3. Redesigned apps for Mail, Photos, Camera and Safari (web browser) with enhanced functionality and simplified user interface, and a new iRadio app for Internet Radio (US only).
4. Improved Siri and Maps applications. Siri now recognises Indian accents better, particularly with the language set to “English (UK)”.
5. Redesigned Notification Center with a summarised daily task list view, and a new Control Center that makes it easy to access frequently used controls (Wi-fi, Bluetooth, torch, brightness adjustment, etc.).
6. New AirDrop functionality brings file sharing over Bluetooth to iOS.
7. New Background App Refresh functionality adds true multitasking support to iOS, allowing apps to refresh even when in the background.
What You Won’t
1. Uneven visual refresh makes some parts richer and some others too simplified, making iOS 7 as a whole less intuitive and more confusing to use.
2. New simplified built-in app icons need more work – they lack character and a visual connect with what they represent. A 20 year old named Leo Drapeau has done a far better job of the redesign than Apple.
3. New Mail and Safari apps still lack several useful features (for instance, the ability to add multiple photo attachments to an email in a single go), while the Maps app is still practically useless in comparison to Google Maps.
4. New Camera app has more features but poor interface design makes it harder to use it efficiently.
5. New Notification Center uses more text than graphics, increasing the time needed to glean the same amount of information.
6. Control Center doesn’t have a 3G/Cellular Data toggle, but includes less frequently used controls such as Airplane Mode!
7. Airdrop functionality works only between iOS 7-enabled devices, meaning you still can’t transfer files to a non-Apple device.
8. Background App Refresh increases battery consumption as apps will refresh more frequently (and perhaps unnecessarily).
All in all, it’s a mixed bag and I certainly hope Apple releases iOS 7.1 sooner rather than later to fix some of the more prominent oddities.