iOS 7 round table review: One month later
iOS 7 launched a month ago, though in truth many of us have been using it for several months now, counting the beta. Some of the amazing new features have been transformative, and changed the way we use our iPhones and iPads every day. Others... have been buggy and frustrating. So, overall, how has iOS 7 been working for the writers and editors of iMore?
Transitioning to iOS 7 was no big deal. Much has been made about the dramatic user interface changes to iOS in this new release, but it's pretty easy to get the hang of, and while icons and lettering look different, most apps fundamentally operate the same way they did before. On the whole, I like the look and feel of iOS 7, though I find some of the embellishments, like parallax-tilting desktop wallpaper and prolific use of zoom effects, to be more distracting than helpful.
I've actually had iOS 7 installed since the first beta. My impressions haven't changed much since then minus the irritation of bugs. Unlike a lot of people, I like the color schemes and design direction that Apple went with iOS 7. I didn't for the first few days just out of resistance to change (I think it's human nature).
The thing I'm most excited about are all the app updates coming through that inherit iOS 7's design cues and native APIs. It's like experiencing iOS all over again for the first time, and in my opinion, that's a great thing.
I've been using iOS 7 since the first beta. Overall, iOS 7 has grown on me but to say I loved it ‘out of the box’ would be a lie. Apple made some dramatic changes with the look and styling that were less than pleasing initially. They’ve made some changes within apps that have essentially forced me to start using 3rd-party solutions. I’m OK with that. Often times those 3rd party solutions are better than the old way anyhow. My biggest gripe with iOS 7 is that while it seems fine on the iPhone 5, it has turned my iPad Mini a steaming pile of lag with some terrible looking fonts wrapped in a beautiful package.
My thoughts on iOS 7 haven't changed much in the month that I've been using it full-time. I'm still a big fan of the redesign overall, even with some minor qualifications like the width of some lines. It runs very smoothly on my 5s, as quick and responsive as you'd hope.
How developers have responded to iOS 7 has been the most exciting thing so far. The best-looking apps on iOS 7 don't weren't content to just be flatter, but more colorful as well. Apps like Evernote and Vert use color both to bring attention to content and establish a strong visual identity.
The other aspect I enjoy most about iOS 7 is that despite the visual changes, much remains unchanged from the user's perspective. There's really no re-learning that has to occur when moving from iOS 6 to iOS 7, it's just the visual overhaul that takes some getting used to. Most of the truly important changes in iOS 7 are under the hood.
iOS 7 is a huge step forwards for Apple, a step towards a future we're only just beginning. A lot has been made of the design, and while I don't like some of the icons and color choices, overall I love it. I think it's the best thing to happen to app design on any mobile platform. If apps are updated and haven't been given the iOS 7 glamour treatment, it makes me sad.
One of the things I've been enjoying the most is Control Center. I still believe more can be done with it, but having access to music controls and the flashlight in particular with just a swipe is so convenient it's a joy to use.
Elsewhere, I'm so, so happy that Apple has brought access to iTunes cloud music with iOS 7. I don't subscribe to iTunes Match, and I bought a ton of music over the years that I couldn't stream from the cloud until iOS 7. All the hype was around iTunes Radio, but this is much more important to me.
My experience with iOS 7 has been largely positive. As a webOS refugee, it's not surprising how much more I use the double-click home button to jump to the multitasking apps view. The iOS 4-style tray was mostly worthless to me, but by adding the full-app previews and true background multitasking it's become one of my favorite features.
The little physics bits like the active backgrounds and the accordion rebound action in lists like Messages still bring me some delight, but not nearly as much sitting there playing with it happens now as before. There are two other options that have changed how I use the phone: pull down to search in the launcher and Control Center. The latter has allowed me to reprioritize where I put apps for quick access (I no longer need to have Calculator or Camera on a first-tier launcher page). The former has made it that much easier to jump into search. It's kind of like webOS, in that it's available on every launcher page, but it's also just easier to know that I can swipe down and be in search.
I was neutral to positive on the iOS 7 visual design, and while there are some parts that still aren't quite there, once iOS 7-compatible apps started landing in the App Store (and getting pushed automatically to my device, praise be to Cupertino), it all started to gel. Now when I have to go into an app styled in the old iOS style it really stands out.
Also, is anybody else seeing the same much-improved battery life that I am?
I have not yet updated to iOS 7. I'll do it eventually, but iOS 6 still works for me and I haven't seen any feature that's made me want to rush into it.
Over the last few months, I've used iOS 7 for hundreds of hours and written tens of thousands of words about it. Needless to say, it's grown on me. It's become my new normal. Going back to iOS 6 (I kept an iPad and iPod touch on it) is like stepping back through time. It's still beautiful, but relics now of an era long past. iOS 7 is the future.
The back gesture in everything from Messages to Notes to Mail to Settings to a bevy of App Store apps is consistent enough that I now notice when it's not implemented. That goes for the entire physicality of the iOS 7. It's beyond delightful.
Some other things have been less consistent. I still don't know when Next Location is going to pop up in Notification Center. Maybe it's my wacky schedule, but it'll be there for a while, then go away, even when I haven't changed locations. Likewise, auto-refresh seems to still be in the process of getting implemented into apps. Sometimes updates are there, sometimes not.
For the most part reboots and re-springs are a thing of the past. The release version has been solid, more solid, in fact, than several earlier versions of iOS. And this is the worst iOS 7 is ever going to be. We're on iOS 7.0.2 already and I'm guessing 7.1 will be here soon enough.
One month in, and I'm even happier with iOS 7 than I was at launch.
Your iOS 7: One month later review?
Whether you've been using iOS 7 since launch, or since the beta, we'd love to hear what your experience has been. How's iOS 7 working for you, one month later?