Is iOS 7 functional — and stable — enough for you?
Full disclosure: I live on my iPhone 5s. I'm on it almost constantly. I have very few problems with iMessage. I don't get a lot of crashes. And while I have a Nexus 5, when I'm on my iPhone I don't find myself missing much if any major functionality. (I am missing a bunch of minor stuff, but I'll address all that specifically in future posts.) Maybe I've molded myself to match the machine in hand. Maybe I'm just in the sweet spot Apple designed it to address. I don't know. What I do know for sure is that it's dumb to assume my experience and my use case translates to anyone and everyone else's. Pretty soon all phones will be smart phones, and given the many and diverse needs of billions of potential customers, no one device or feature set will fit them all. Bugginess is one thing, and absolutely has to be addressed. Expectations are something else, and those can only be managed. They're also two very different things, so lets address both!
Some people are experiencing crashes with iOS 7. Sometimes it's Springboard/Backboard (the iOS interface and windowing system) crashing. That's when the screen goes dark, the Apple logo appears, and it takes a few long seconds before you're back on the Home screen. Sometimes it's an app that crashes. Memory, especially on the 64-bit iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini, seems to be part of the issue. I'm not smart nor savvy to know how much of a part, or what else in iOS 7 might be going on to compound it.
To get a rough understanding of how often it's happening, I asked around. From my incredibly mainstream sister to my uber-geeky friend, almost all of them could only recall it happening about once a month as well. That's anecdotal, of course, and some, likely those who hit the resources hardest, are experiencing the crashes most frequently.
Apple is advertising iOS 7, in part, based on its stability so making it rock — or deep water — solid simply has to be a priority. Hopefully Apple will kick iOS 7.1 out the door ASAP so everyone can enjoy its improvements.
The expectational part is tougher to address. I saw iOS 7 and thought it a leap forward, others simply confusing. Neither opinion, or any in between, is right or wrong. They're simply reflections of our individual tastes and needs.
I have immense respect for my colleague, Phil Nickinson's passion for Android, and my MacBreak Weekly co-host, Andy Ihnatko's decision to switch to Android. At the same time, I have my own, what I feel are equally valid reasons to stick with iPhone.
I used to think iOS wasn't designed for geeks, but eventually I realized it was more nuanced than that. It was designed for the mainstream... and for very specific types of geeks.
There will be people who just want a free phone, maybe to text, maybe to Facebook, and they'll pick up whatever Android device the carrier offers them, no or few questions asked. There will be people who want to get into mobile and feel Apple be the safest, easiest way to do that, and will just work for them. There are people who want to tinker and customize, who want as much choice and as much control as possible, and Android provides that. There are people who are tired of tinkering and customizing and want the known target Apple provides. And there are people who love technology and want to move back and forth between all the platforms as often as the mood strikes them. None of them are stupid or misguided or wrong or anything else. They're just people looking for, and sometimes finding, what suits them best at any given time.
I get gamma-bomb-mad at Google sometimes because it chokes on my having 7 different accounts logged in at once, which is entirely not the normal person scenario all their services were designed for. So, I can easily understand why people get enraged at Apple for not having surfaced XPC inter-app communications, or deployed the print-to-PDF feature, or allowed default apps to be set, or enabled persistence enough for their SSH or IRC flow, or any of a thousand other, specific things. I understand frustration over iOS the same way I understand the very different frustrations over Android.
Mostly I understand what I said up front — that I can't speak in broad generalities and I certainly can't speak for everyone. So this is where you come in. If you're currently running iOS 7, how stable is it for you? If it's crashing, how often? And how functional is it for you? Are you routinely hitting up against walls? If everything is fine, don't be afraid to say so. But if you're experiencing any pain, I — and I'm pretty sure Apple — would love to know about it!