The pros and cons of iOS 7

If you’re one of those who are still on the fence about the new update, here’s a quick guide on what you need to know
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First Published: Thu, Sep 19 2013. 08 26 AM IST
The iOS 7 is a new direction for Apple, but enough remains familiar that it won’t alienate people.
The iOS 7 is a new direction for Apple, but enough remains familiar that it won’t alienate people.
Updated: Thu, Sep 19 2013. 01 57 PM IST
New Delhi: The operating software (OS) update is hard to get now because everyone in the world seems to download it right away. Instead of jumping in line, check out our quick guide to see if you’re better of waiting a couple of days.
Apple has a way of getting people excited about things, but in many ways, the public launch of iOS 7 is a justified cause for the hype. It’s the biggest change that will happen to your iPhone or iPod Touch, and it brings not just a whole new visual style, but also many tweaks to the way your device works. If the iPhone 5S is just the steady march of progress, then iOS 7 is a sharp turn. But it’s not entirely for the better or worse. If you’re one of those who are still on the fence about the new update, and are wondering if you need to get started on your download right away, here’s a quick guide on what you need to know.
For one thing, as we mentioned, it’s the biggest visual overhaul to iOS since the launch of the iPhone. The first iPhone used wooden shelves, leather calendars and other elements described as “skeumorphism” to suggest the use of apps, to make them familiar in a completely new touch-driven environment.
Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 though, the principles of touch-based user interfaces have become increasingly standardized, and the need for these visual flourishes has decreased. The new version is still referencing real world materials, but instead of rich leather and green felt, the material of choice is glass, the fonts are thin and the icons are “flat”, with a design that some say resembles Windows Phone, though that’s a comparison that most people wouldn’t jump to automatically.
The new design elements completely refresh the way in which you use the phone as well. For example, if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen, you get access to Apple’s new control center. This lets you adjust various settings such as brightness and volume, and turn on a flashlight if you need it. Aside from answering or cutting calls, you can now set a reminder, to ignore the call then, and get a reminder about it an hour later, which is great. Notifications, meanwhile, take a page from Android, adding a ‘Today’ view, which shows your appointments, the weather, stock quotes etc. It’s fairly limited right now, but over time could evolve to add more functionality.
The camera and photos apps have also been upgraded, adding filters. Though the new camera app is only for the iPhone 5 and above, and also for the iPod Touch fifth generation, while the new photos app is for iPhone 4 and above, iPad third generation and above, iPad Mini and iPod Touch fifth generation.
Besides that, there are a number of changes in the way you use the device on a day-to-day basis. For example, multitasking is simplified with easier switching between apps, and you can now close multiple apps instead of hitting one red cross at a time. Another great new feature is the addition of automatic updates for apps. This has been available on Android for a while now, and finally, Apple also lets you turn on automatic updates—so when a new version is available, you get the update without having to go the app store, every time.
That’s all pretty positive, but some of the new features seem fairly unappealing. For example, the new folders structure. If you’ve got a lot of games, you might have tried to organize them in a folder, only to realize that there’s a limit to how many apps can be placed in a single group. To remedy this, each folder is its own universe now, with multiple screens to swipe between. If you’re a folder organizer though, then it’s probably because you didn’t want to swipe through too many home screens to begin with, so this limits the effectiveness of folders as organization tools.
One problem which has been affecting some people is that iOS7 seems to be hitting the battery life pretty hard. The iPod Touch (fifth generation) we updated didn’t seem to have a problem with this, but some iPhone users are complaining about it. This could admittedly be due to the background refresh feature, which lets apps update data even when they’re not in use. But it could also be because of Apple’s new eye-candy—the dynamic and 3D parallax wallpapers. There is slight battery loss for these reasons for all users, but iPhone 5 users seem to be more drastically affected.
Also, while Apple has not been shy about borrowing ideas from Android, one feature that is more than overdue is the sharing feature. On Android, you can share just about anything with any app. Other way is you go directly to apps to share your photos or links, but Android makes it so much simpler—just tap the share button on an app, and you get a huge list of other apps that would support the content. Two clicks and you’re done. Something like sending an Instagram photo to your Dropbox folder is a trial on an iOS device, and it’s child’s play on Android.
The iOS 7 is a new direction for Apple, but enough remains familiar that it won’t alienate people. The new features, meanwhile, add value without necessarily being must-haves. And there’s still room left for improvement. If you’re still on the fence though, then you might be better off waiting a few days to make sure any bugs that are found get ironed out, before jumping on board as well.
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First Published: Thu, Sep 19 2013. 08 26 AM IST
More Topics: iOS 7 | iPhone | Apple | iPad | iPod |
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