iOS 7.1 wants: Faster transitional animations

I don't know why iOS 7 transitional animations feel slower than those in previous versions of iOS. But they do. The zoom ins, the carousels, the spin-around, these were never instant things. Yet I never felt like I was waiting of iOS to catch up to me as often as I do now. Maybe the leaps forward in iOS 7 make it feel like a more physical place, and make me think I should be able to run, not just walk, through it. It makes me think I should be able to fly.

But I'm waiting. Not waiting for data to load or be processed, for apps to wake up or content to render - those things are unavoidable and those things are why we get better technologies like Apple A7 processors and LTE radios - but simply for animations to finish.

iOS 7 includes a lot of great, transitional animations, including all the Home screen icons coming out of warp space in staggered formation when you unlock. Same with the zooming in and out of the stacked planes of icons and folders and Home screens and apps. It's amazing, stunning even at times. It visually teaches you how you're moving through the interface space, never letting you get lost or disoriented.

But once you've learned, it insists on teaching you over and over again. Once you've watched, you've got to keep watching. And that pulls you out of the very experience it was initially implemented to provide.

It's like playing a great video game - you enjoy the cut scene the first time, but when you replay, all you want to do is skip it faster each time.

As currently implemented, a lot of iOS 7 transition animations are cut scenes you can't skip.

Mobile Safari nailed this in iOS 1 (iPhone OS 1.0) by keeping a page responsive, even if it meant rendering a checkerboard pattern, no matter how fast we moved around it. It waited on us to stop moving, then rendered. We never waited for it to stop rendering so we could move. That's what made it feel so fast. That's what made it magical.

Because they're short, because they make sense, there's no need for the transition animations in iOS 7 to be removed or made skippable. They just need to be made faster and responsive. I'm nowhere near the first to comment on this. During the beta period I, like many others, held out hope for an animation speed up prior to general availability. Unfortunately, none came. Hopefully, one will.

It doesn't have to be doors-in-Star-Wars-fast. Smash cuts can be disorienting. But at 2x or 4x, they'll still provide the same visual cueing as they do at their current speed, but far less interruption. If touching the screen automatically finishes them and takes the input, they'll still delight the viewer without frustrating them.

They'll once again make iOS feel as fast as we are.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iOS 7.1 wants: Faster transitional animations

74 Comments

I totally agree!
One more question totally out of context
I only recently tried the Puffin browser
How come sunspider scores are higher than my computer?

I have thought this exact same thing, even from back in the early betas. I thought it was perhaps just a performance issue on the early builds, but after several updates later and then the final release I realized it was more than that. It was just me constantly waiting for animations to finish before i could launch an app. It's one of those things that you know they did to just say, hey check out this animation..... EVERY TIME YOU DO SOMETHING. I am still very pleased with iOS 7 though. I remember a jailbreak tweak i used a while back that sped up the animations in previous versions of iOS, but it wasnt really needed then. I sure could use it now!

And change the view to albums again, rather than scrolling through every song.

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It sure if this is what you mean, but......in the Music app, hit "more" on the bottom right, then "edit" on top right. From there you can add/rearrange the categories below. Albums lost out to iTunes Radio in the stock order.

I wholeheartedly agree. A full 0.5 sec reduction in run time of these animations would be perfect. As one other site notes (it was either Ars or Anand), if you the animations take long enough that you can grab screenshots of them for an article, then they are too long/slow!

Similarly, it takes FAR too long to fade in when pressing the power or home buttons. A 0.5 second reduction there will help, but it may even need more. Lastly, when using Siri over Bluetooth (like in a car!), Siri stops listening quickly, but takes 30 seconds before it returns to the previous function, like playing music. So I've found myself reaching over and turning off the screen so my music starts again -- removing the whole point of using my car's Bluetooth in the first place!

I totally agree. The icon animation at unlock is the worst instance. I also wish notification center text would be associated with the dynamic type (text size) setting. Currently it's too large for my taste.

Man, that's not even close to my too complaint about this still in beta hunk of crap. This is by far the buggiest update ever. I've been a first day updater since iOS 2 and I have never wanted to throw my fricking phone across the room.
Even after the animations are done you have to wait and wait before the system responds again.
Safari is an ugly, slow joke. I hate the unified bar and that all the options disappear whether you want them to or not.
Notifications don't always sound. The Today View is completely useless. Who wants to read a paragraph instead of just seeing a damn number that tells you the temperature?
When you close an app in multitasking, about half the time the app icon is still there but with no corresponding page, and the whole system slows down.
The swipes to go up a level in, say, mail only work about half the time.
I could go on and on. I'm thinking of going back to 6 and jail breaking to get the control center, which (even though it's ugly and borderline nonfunctional) at least is a good idea.
If you put this together with the rumors building of a bigger iPhone next year, I may just be done.
The only problem is that there isn't really a good alternative.

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Dammit. Too complaint. It should say top complaint. Also the new keyboard is less intelligent.

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haha What are you using iOS7 on?!? I don't have any of these problems and I LOVE the new Safari. The animations are fine for me, What's the hurry!?...

An iPhone 5. Clean install.
Safari in iOS 6 was also ugly, but functional. The new Safari is horrible. It's so incredibly slow, pages take forever to load. The tabs view has so much wasted space with no additional functionality, in fact LESS functionality.
This really feels like a rushed update. They should've let this cook for an few more months, and actually used it. I think they couldn't see the forest for the trees as they were working so fast to get it ready.
iOS 6 may have looked a little stale, but it was a mature OS. This feels truly like an early beta.

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How on earth did Safari's new tab view get less functional and waste more space? You can see more than one tab at once (spare those tabs on the left and right). You can close tabs by swiping. Makes mass-closing a whole lot faster. Oh, and you don't have to go through Settings to switch on Private Browsing anymore.

It was a major upgrade—anything but a downgrade.

Safari is dog slow for me. Almost anything to do with the Internet is.

Like when I open Facebook now, I get a blank white page for maybe 2 or 3 full seconds with no feedback, no spiny wheel or anything. Just when you think it's broke … Facebook grudgingly appears.

Same with Safari, except during that three seconds I've been trying to enter something in the search bar (and getting nowhere), then it starts working and I have to wait while it loads whatever from last time, then *cancel* that (unless I miss the microscopic "x" and it reloads instead), then try to type my query. Bloody frustrating and really poor in general.

I think the reviewers are so busy gushing over typography and Apple philosophy that they are missing a big story about how the new design is actually failing for a lot of folks, big time.

True that ! And you'd think they'd know this beforehand...

Some things they've made simply complicated !

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Totally agree ! Also I've noticed lack of consistency in design within the iOS - it's been pointed out in the comprehensive review on iMore and I can't help but point it out again.

The dial pad for making calls and the reply screen don't seem consistent with button thickness . Calling pad is an eye sore with too much white and thin fonts actually puts me off calling.

The Mail options to forward and other things are now in more section alongside delete rather than the bottom dock unlike in Safari.

Baffles me why there's no multiple delete unless am missing something.

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I've got no problems with the animations, like them more than iOS6. Safari is much better with the unified bar...ugly? look at iOS6's blue grey gradient look, THAT was ugly.

It reminds be a bit of Windows 95 - there are some animations that may look cool, but after the third or fourth time they are not dazzling, just in the way. It is not nearly as irritating on ios7 as it was on Win 95, but Win95 did have options to disable them.

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Makes me think more of Windows 7 and the slow cutesy Aero desktop effects. But you can turn off the Aero stuff.

The animation could be just a bit faster, the rest is just adjustinment. I would like to see the music section in control center do a better jo to retain the last item that you listened to. Before it was alsoways music or the audiobook, now it does not hold either consistently.

Yes! And make the music buttons bigger/more responsive!

I can't tell if it's just not registering my touch or if the actual tap area per button is just too small. But I KNOW I'm hitting the button, by the third (or fourth...or fifth) time you tend to make damn sure you're hitting it on the money. Control Center sounded like a great feature for skipping songs in the car....turns out, not so much.

Often control center tells me that a different song is playing than what actually IS, and then when I try to use the controls, iPod crashes.
Honestly, 7 is a pile of crap. I have more faith in Horse Ebooks right now.

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Just an aesthetic issue, but I would've assumed they blur out the background image when you are prompted to power the iOS device off. Having it simply overlay on top of everything on screen is a little busy-looking.

OS X has had a System Preference pane that allows you to add text on the lock screen, iOS 7.1 should have that feature too, instead of having a third party app engrave text on your image before you turn it into wallpaper. Especially with the Activation Lock, the icing on the cake would be to quickly add and update return instructions and/or owner information.

While I'm on the subject of wallpaper, I'm still scratching my head as to why there are no simple filters for the wallpaper selection feature. Now that iOS 7 lost the shadowing of text, having an image with white in the background decreases the legibility of the app and folder names. Integrating an adjustable blur or darkening feature will help contrast the background and the overlaid apps and folders and their text descriptions.

I'm still hoping for profiles for ringtones and notifications, but that will probably never be realized on the native iOS platform. Having to switch between a more serious/respectable ringtone and notification sounds during work hours and one fun/informal ones after hours and weekends (time based a la Do Not Disturb style?) would be nice.

Also, shouldn't the Personal Hotspot be able to be selectable as to its method: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB, without having to manually toggle that particular radio off? Wouldn't Bluetooth-only or Wi-Fi-only or USB-only save power?

Lastly, Control Center has its own page in the Settings app. Time to expand the page to give the ability to change the four bottom apps to whatever you want. Also, double-tapping the Wi-Fi icon from the Control Center should give the user the ability to select a new hotspot or go into the Wi-Fi page of the Settings app, instead of a tap to toggle it on/off.

When you know iMessage isn't going to work and you'd rather send an SMS, the user should be able to hold down the Send button to send alternatively.

Ok, my rant is done. Thank you for listening.

These are some great suggestions, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
Also, with all of the talk about skeumorphism, isn't it funny that the bookmarks icon still looks like a book? There are many instances of this sort of quasi-skeumorphism.

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Try running iOS 7 on a Mac mini, it's just painfully slow. Almost unusable.

I'm a big Apple supporter but this is just reality. iOS 7 *needs* a new device to run properly and I can't wait for the new mini to come out so I can get some work done again. The woefully inadequate (for iOS 6) 512 of system RAM is even more of a problem on iOS 7. The OS will remember a long list of apps you recently used, but switching back and forth between them engenders a two or three second wait every time. If the app in question has a large document loaded, we are talking literally 15 to 20 seconds before the app is usable again.

It's just ridiculous, and it's interesting that almost no reviews I've seen are even talking about it. I can only surmise that we are still at the stage where most iPad and iPhone users are still not using the devices for real work and thus haven't actually noticed the slowness yet.

No if you have an iphone 5 or 5s it's fine no problems at all some people just like to complain oh like bloggers

No I have a 5 and it's horrible. I'm not a blogger, I'm just a guy who uses his phone a lot, and is now dreading using it.

You have slow reception I did a side by side test no problem. By the way mine is used for work as well so I use all the time . Once again all in your head get an android and stop complaining .

Wow. Nice. Other people seem to be having problems as well.
I'm getting 20 down right now. My iCab browser is opening pages very quickly. Safari takes forever.
I don't want android. I want my iPhone to work.
I'm glad you're not having the same issues. Good for you!

I'm assuming you mean the iOS emulator on a Mac mini, but seriously, 512mb RAM? How old is your mini? If you want newer software to run respectably, you eventually have to upgrade your hardware. This isn't the fault of the software. You could at least upgrade your RAM. Srsly, it's cheap. It probably hasn't been mentioned in reviews because most tech savvy people realize if they are going to run on outdated hardware they're going to experience degraded performance. You're expectations are a little unrealistic IMO.

I bet he means iPad mini now that I think about it. He might have a legitimate beef there. Although the review on TUAW about iOS 7 on the iPad mini was pretty good. That's all I have to go on since I don't own a mini (waiting for the retina version).

I'm hoping faster animations and other performance tweaks (I'm looking at you, iPad keyboard/wallpaper selection) come sooner than 7.1. Along with bug fixes (I've encountered more app crashes, especially on apps developed for iOS 7, than all previous .0 releases), the performance on devices other than the new models should happen sooner than with a .1 release. I've always admired the way Apple supports their products with updates to older devices, and I hope they see that addressing these issues (even if they are rather cosmetic in nature) will go a long way in reaffirming this perception.

Rene, you may be able to answer this question, which I've been thinking about since beta 1: is it too far reaching to hope for quick reply in a 7.1 (or any 7.x) release, or is it customarily Apple to hold something like that for x.0 release? I've had an iPhone since the first day of the 3G, but I can't remember some of the biggest updates to the ".x" releases of iOS (and previously iPhone OS). HALP! My brain is waiting, then wishing, then hoping, then realizing a potentially sad truth - that I may have to JB again. That, for me, is the final reason to jailbreak; everything else has been addressed (with acceptable compromises). But it's a constant loop that my obsessive-compulsive brain can't stop. Again... HAAAALP!

We've been waiting forever for that. I'd expect it would be on a .0 release. Apple will add it when they're damn good and ready, if ever. I, however, am looking forward to a JB being available for iOS 7, although I'm not expecting it until after 7.1 is released at the earliest.

Basically i felt like the hardware took a big step forward, the software didn't. This is a case of the hardware, while twice as fast, the software is just isn't optimized to feel it. If I'm going to have to sit through all this animation, I might as well stick with my iphone 5.

Hopefully iOS 8 refines this experience. And that's when I'll pick up the hardware that takes it forward.

Do you have the 5 or 5s? I'm sure it's optimized for whatever OS it's running on, but I think the speed of the animations is completely arbitrary. If Apple doesn't tweak it in an update I fully expect the JB community to accomplish it is short order.

I've been a long time Iphone user since the 3G and haven't been more upset with an update. I am most fustrated with these slow animations - slow wake etc. I feel like I can't use the phone as fast as I used to. My taps are not being registered as fast as they should, scrolling is choppy, and I end up tapping / swipping things more than once to get them to register. I also notice that my homebutton takes 1-2 sec longer to register. I really hope they fix this. Don't even get me started on my Ipad 3, that's not even a year old. If this is how they do business, I will not buy anymore Apple products. It's rediculous that after 1 year they slow all of their harware down with an OS release. If they can't produce a good OS for older harware, just don't release it at all for those models. Just don't tell everyone it's the greatest thing and ruin the devices. I should've learned my lesson when I bought my first powerbook. After 2 years I wasn't able to update to a certain itunes,which I needed for syncing with an Iphone 4, because the OS was outdated. Once I updated to snow leopard, the laptop was useless. Problems after problems, then when I brought it to the genius bar they told me it was too old. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt because I love the products. They just purposely ruin them after a year or two. Not cool for such expensive things. Let's see if any updates come out to resolve these issues because as of now I'm a little pissed off.

I get your frustration, but if not Apple and iOS, then what? Android? Talk about frustration when the OS eventually bogs down. Agreed about releasing for older hardware. Especially the iPhone 4. The cutoff probably should have been the 4s, and then with many of the animations/effects/transparency disabled like it is on the 4. I highly doubt it's purposeful. They try to support older hardware to an extent, but this is a big OS overhaul and older hardware can only handle so much. I'm really hoping you mean Macbook Pro. The Powerbook was discontinued in like 2006. I can't imagine having that problem on a 2 year old machine. Did you buy it new?

This!!!

I don't know where to start. My biggest complaints are how slow the new software is. When I press the power button I have to wait for the initial screen to show. It use to be instant. Not anymore. Then I have to wait for it to fly in after sliding to unlock. I just want my faster phone back. My fiancé is ready for an upgrade and I wanted her to go iPhone this time around but I am seriously telling her to stay on android at this point at least another two years. As for me I'm stuck with this slow i5 and iPad 3.

I hope they fix this soon or I am seriously considering looking at selling and moving to something faster.

I kinda feel like all this belly aching about the speed on the iP5 is a bit cry babyish. I'm running iOS 7 on an iP5 and while the animations themselves take a bit longer than iOS 6, it's by no means excessive, and there's no actual lag or stuttering in the OS. I mean, a second longer here or there isn't going to kill you. It's the epitome of a "first world problems" scenario. I do agree it's a bit worse on the iPad. Even on my iPad 4 I get some jerkiness in the animations. Since the iPad 4 is running a faster processor/gpu combo than the 5, I attribute this to hardware optimization needing to be refined mostly. Safari crashes on me a lot on the iPad too. No surprise there as it was widely reported Apple was behind on the iPad version.

Yes, yes, yes. This is my top complaint. It actually makes my 5s feel SLOWER than my 5 did. Also, things need to be live while in motion as you suggest. The beauty of Control Center is its speed. Unfortunately, the buttons aren't live until it bounces back and stops moving. This prevents rapid opening of the camera and makes everything feel slower. In addition, when swiping back in safari, allow us to move the pages as they reload. There is noticeable lag after swiping back or forward. All else is fantastic. Come on, Apple. Please improve these!

I noticed and was annoyed by the slow graphics when I first tried the beta on my iPhone 5 but I eventually got used to it and it doesn't bother me at all now. I have no major issues on iPad Mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s or iPad 2 all on iOS 7. The iPad 2 is the oldest and slowest and still works just fine. <shrug>

Eventually the smacks start feeling good...

Actually, no - I just got used to it. Don't even notice it any more. I really don't know why all the negativity toward iOS 7. Now when I go back to an iOS 6 device it feels old and clunky to me now.

Holy crap. I just tried to paste a link into an iMessage and it crashed iMessages. The whole thing froze and hasn't moved since.
iOS 6 jailbreak, here I come.

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I completely agree. I love a lot of the things about iOS 7. I actually feel as a whole I get around the tasks faster than I did before. But I do find that I stare at the animations a too much and they are too in your face. I had to turn parallax off because it was giving me a bit of a headache. I like animations but hope they simplify them to be faster and less in your face.

When iOS 7 gets jailbroken, look up FakeClockUp on Cydia.
All iOS UI animation speeds are binded to a single variable, this jailbreak tweak allow you to set your own.

I want the apps I update to no longer show up and everytime I go to update the apps needing an update disappear getting vry annoying if it continues like this ill have a giant list of apps I've updated Idc to see what I've updated

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Bring back swipe to delete email! I agree about the animations too. They were cool for the first few days. But now I feel like I'm waiting on them all the time. They have to speed up.

Swipe to the left. But the right hand swipe doesn't actually save any time (if and when it actually works). Useless.

I thought the final release was slower too, I assumed it was just me trying to convince myself to get the 5S, maybe it is Apple.

Ok this ones funny. I was going to post that I had a problem so maybe a apple tech may see it and make note. So I'm on the toilet with my iPad in my lap reading this article and I think yeah my iPad has had a problem since I've DLed 7. The background picture keeps jumping and shifting, which I thought was a normal early bug. So before I wrote my complain comment I wanted to see if it still did it, so I went back to the home screen and nothing. I then thought maybe it's got be vertical and there it was the background moved again, but this time a lot. So I put it back on my lap and it moved again! So I picked it up and started moving the iPad around and noticed the background pic moves in relation with the iPad. I now know this isn't a problem but a cool feature, duh! Funny story and I feel dumb! And a glitches note though, when it's on my chest vertical and still it makes minor adjustments jumpy ones and is kinda distracting. I can only think the accelerometer is very sensitive and moving with the rise and fall of my chest. Maybe to sensitive? I'm sure I'm not the only one who place iPad on chest.

I have a jailbroken iPhone 5 running iOS 6.1, and this article alone is enough to keep me from updating until an iOS 7 jailbreak is released.
I use the tweak known as "Accelerate" which speeds up all animations so I've grown to despise the default ios 6 animation speed. iOS 7 sounds like it would be worse.

"I don't know why iOS 7 transitional animations feel slower than those in previous versions of iOS."

Because they are?

Yeah, I've been thinking about this since I updated to iOS 7. Animations are nice, but they definitely need to speed them up a notch or two.

It's strange -- they made Siri talk faster, which is great, but the animations do become very sloooow after a day of use...

The slow transition animations is one of the most frustrating parts about iOS 7 so far. I really hope Apple speeds them up and, as Rene suggests, registers and acts on user input that occurs as the animation is finishing up.

Just living WWSJS. What Would Steve Jobs Say. I don't think he would have been thrilled with the performance of iOS7.

I called this one a week ago. IOS 7 animations are not a step forward nor a revolution in design. They are just useless eyecandy designed to make us feel like we are using something new, when in fact it is plain old vanilla iOS with its grid of icons. This is the Vista of iOS and will be tuned down but right now Apple needs to induce iPhone 4 and 4s users to upgrade and keep its record sales. I have an iPhone 4 and iOS 7 feels slooooowww.

Great article and totally agree. The only other things I would want are changeable apps in Control Center, SMS quick reply, the return of the weather widget, and a wallpaper switcher. These are all things that the JB community will tackle quickly if Apple doesn't first, except maybe wallpaper switching. Unfortunately even JB devs seem to ignore it. I don't think Bosspaper has been updated in like 4 years.

To be honest, I find iOS 7 to be quite speedy. Perhaps we just aren't used to the transitions, or as much transitions, as this and it feels slower.

It could also be that maybe Apple think we shouldn't be working or using our phones that fast. Isn't life fast enough? Maybe they're saying "slow down a little guys; there's no need to always be so fast. Stop and enjoy what you're doing."

Who knows?

But it's running buttery smooth on my 5C and iPad 4. I love it.

I honestly don't get this article or the "waiting for animations" comments. Unless you're using old devices perhaps but my iPad 2 is running iOS7 fine? There's no waiting. I just see smoothness of transitions, not slowness.

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I so agree with this article.
Animations need to be twice as fast and soon.
Can we create some mass awareness or start a petition?

I am on 5s and animations are smooth but not fast enough. Have them get out of the way so I can get on with life. C'mon

I have iPhone 4 running iOS 7 and today i really wanted to throw my slow ass phone, but it's not that slow since it's got ios 7 which I totally understand will make it run slower, I guess, but safari kept freezing and when I wanted to tap on the bar the last thing I typed in, nope, had to reset it all and type back what i had wanted. I don't like how it's unified. The last way was far better...bring that back. And one time I went to open an app and it got STUCK. It was quite funny (yet embarrassing) to see the icons shot all the way up towards your screen, only stuck. Simply annoying when you need the app asap. And why can't they have the camera icon in all camera sections, or be able to send a picture to email, text, fb, etc. oye. Have to close out and go back into camera roll. Oh madon. I probably went over and beyond was was needed to be discussed, but eh. I really thought that ios 7 was slow in the movements just because it's on iphone 4...but luckily it's not. Hope there's improvement. And when do they release iOS 7.1? Christmas time? I forget.

its all about the animations. i bought an ip5 and loved the "old" but sophisticated look and feel of the ios6, there were less bugs and the animations were "stale" but stable, liquid like movement and i didnt have to worry about any jerky movements. Now after hearing and seeing the trailer for the ios7 i became excited about seeing the new control center, new animations and stuff but after updating to it, i became so depressed i wanted to go back to the old ios(which is impossible without JB). the most prominent and annoying thing about the i07 is the animation delay, "less fps" (as to how i describe it) when turning and the seldom flickering animation when turning it on from lock screen. I've notice than when accessing the message screen, when tilt animations are on, the "fps" is good, its on "60fps" movement when to turn it to sides but when you access the keyboard and do the tilting, it goes down to "30fps" or it becomes visibly slower. Now when you have the assistive touch option on, it becomes alot more slower. IMO, the new keyboard is whats causing this lag and i got to this conclusion when i used the spotlight search. after accessing the keyboard it becomes considerably slower including the scrolling and stuff. the most noticeable lag when using the keyboard is when you disable the "Find my Iphone in the icloud, since it will be accessing the keyboard to enter your current passcode to disable it, the animation for the pop-up is much much slower (the fps of it). i always liked apple for the stability and strength of its system but after their "biggest thing that happened to iphone" Im beginning to think otherwise. hope they fix or tweak this, it may not bother some people but i am one of those people who pay attention to detail especially if that object is pricey and i supposed to be very solid in term of name and performance.

Ummm... does anybody (including the article author!) realize that you simply need to go to General>Accessability>Reduce Motion to get rid of the time wasting zoom effects?!