iOS 7. Finally.
Or: Dispatches from the front line of mild technophobia.
Actually the above isn’t true, I’m much more technologically astute than many people, I’m just what I believe is called a late adopter. I didn’t get my first iPod until about two years after everyone else, and I only got a Kindle this Christmas, and only because I was given it as a present. But I digress. I’m writing about my first 24 hours of experience with iOS 7 because of all the posts I’ve written on here, my Aviary vs. Photoshop comparison is one which gets viewed at least once every week, even when I’m not posting anything else. Time willing, I’ll do another one soon.
To clarify, I didn’t update to iOS 7 sooner for three reasons: one, because I genuinely wasn’t sure my poor 8gb iPhone 4 could handle it; two, because no one told me that I’d get back the 3.8gb of storage needed to download it and that it wouldn’t be lost forever; and three, because I think it’s flipping ugly. I still do. It looks like it was drawn by the lead developer’s child with some coloured pencils.
My phone does run a little faster since installing it, but I think this is partly also because I deleted so many apps and so many photos to make enough space to download the OS that in general my phone has more memory. I love the fact that the lock and home screens now support portrait orientation images properly and display them fully, from top to bottom, but I have noticed that when I turn the screen off, it glows for a second afterwards like televisions sometimes do, which is a tad unnerving.
- The nifty little function center (not sure what the name of it is) you find by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This thing is a total babe! One of my favourite things is that you can quickly access Aeroplane Mode, which is really handy for me as I use it a lot at work, since my office is like a lead-lined nuclear bunker and I need a way to stop my phone flattening its own battery by constantly searching for a signal that really isn’t going to happen. Top marks to Apple for this nifty little function center, and it’s nice to see they’ve finally got an in-built torch too.
- The clock icon actually shows the real time! Yes, it’s the simple things in life.
- Facebook app works 210% more smoothly now than it did before. With iOS 6 I’d have about a 1 in 5 success rate of the app opening when I asked it to; now it works every time, although sometimes it’s a little slow.
- I like that you can now swipe anywhere on the lock screen to exit, and the new passcode screen is definitely easier to use for those with fat fingers like me. I’d expect it’s also much easier to watch and figure out what password people are using, but less so if they use a long alphanumeric one I guess.
- In fact, most of my apps work better now, but that’s to be expected since they’re all optimised for this OS (god help me when they all graduate to optimisation for iOS 8, because my phone definitely doesn’t support that, and then I’ll be back at square one, with apps I can’t install, which is what prompted this update.
- I think we can all agree that the white is unnecessarily garish, and the inability to change the colour scheme is a little discordant with how advanced the phone is.
- I’m a little ambivalent about Safari’s new way of displaying the current tabs; it’s by no means offensive, but really I don’t see that there was a need to change the old way. However, one thing which I really can’t abide is the decision to make Safari autofill results from your bookmarks when you’re trying to search or type a URL. At best it’s downright annoying and at worse could be really flipping embarrassing, d’you know what I’m saying?
- The notification center. This makes me almost too angry to talk about. What have they done to it?! It’s a glorified quick access calendar entry, which I’m sure is great when it’s linked up to your Facebook events and Outlook calendar and you have ten thousand appointments and reminders every day, but if you don’t, it’s pointless.
- This is a continuation of the above point, but for emphasis I want it to have its own entry. Apple have removed the quick-tweet and quick-status update shortcuts from the notification center. I have absolutely no desire to waste battery opening the apps to tweet or update my status, and I also most definitely have no intention of jailbreaking my phone so I can get a patch to return that functionality, so I guess I’m going to be going a little quiet on up to the minute social media updates.
So overall am I happy I switched? Yes, I am. As I said, two of my main fears were that my phone wouldn’t be able to cope with the new OS, and that it would use up all my space, and once those two fears were unfounded, it’s all good really. I doubt I’ll ever think it’s attractive, and I’ll certainly never get over Apple ruining the notification center, but I suppose it’s worth it to get hopefully at least another year of use out of my phone, before all my apps start losing functionality completely when everything begins to require iOS 8 or later. A 2015 review of Aviary vs. Photoshop Express will hopefully be coming soon.