iOS7 and the Future of Mobile
Mobile culture is entwined to convenience. Shorter steps between common tasks have become the order of the day because that's what appeals to customers. iOS7 has tons of new streamlined features that make life easier, but it's not without it's flaws. In the spirit of objectivity, I have taken care to include the features that annoy me, along with those that sparkle with Apple's well-documented brilliance.
4 Things to Love
- Control Center. I love the new swipe-from-the-bottom Control Center. Not only does swiping for it make me feel like some kind of techno-wizard, but the ability to quickly turn bluetooth on and off alone saves me probably half an hour a day. Most of iOS7's other controls like volume and brightness were accessible from the multitasking menu in iOS6. However, not having to do the four-fingered claw upswipe everytime I want to adjust brightness alone is worth undergoing this meaty update.
- Better Organization. If there's one thing I hate, both in my writing and in my digital devices, it's clutter. Now I can put as many apps into a group as I like, and then swipe to find them in the group. I was able to eliminate three groups from my homescreen thanks to this feature. No more having to keep track of secondary groups.
- Smarter Multitasking Menu. I didn't really care for iOS7's multitasking menu at first. After working with it for a few days, I saw the merit in being able to see the windows of certain apps to remember where I left off. Also, the new method of swiping a window up to clear the app from memory is better than the old system of “hold finger, try to tap x, resist the urge to frisbee the iPad out the window” in the same way that bread makes a bettter sandwich than tree bark.
- Game Controller Support. One day, I tell myself, Apple will take gaming more seriously. While I think that day is still a long way off, they have taken at least one positive step in acknowledging iOS gaming's existence by adding native support for wireless controllers. I've written to a few hardware manufacturers to see about getting review models of their iOS7 controllers, and if I can get one to say yes, you can look forward to seeing screenshots of Galaxies on Fire, Mass Effect: Infiltrator, and GTA3 along with my impression of how much better iOS gaming is now that I can feel it. Seriously, I can't wait to see what some companies like Logitech and SteelSeries come out with.
3 Things to Hate
- Notification Center/Search. To drop down the Notification Center, you swipe down from the top-middle of the screen. To access the search, you swipe down anywhere on the home screen. It's way too easy to activate one when you're trying for the other.
- New Animations Are Slower. The idea of an upgrade is that you are getting an improvement on a product you own. iOS7's new “zoomy” animations for both the groups and the app launches are noticeably slower than those in iOS6. They're very pretty, smooth, and fun to watch, but the lag is obvious and eventually becomes annoying.
- Homescreen Can Induce Motion Sickness. This is a minor nitpick, but I'm going to pick it! When you turn the iPad in your hands, the app groups and icons also seem to move, just a little. While the visual trick is neat, it makes my eyeballs spin around in the sockets. I guess the idea is to increase engagement by making the icons still visible if you've turned the device at an angle? I honestly can't guess the practical purpose because I have yet to find one. Again, not something I do with my iPad a lot, and something I imagine is only a problem on larger screens, but it's still an annoyance and I hate it.
iOS7: The Final Verdict
The improvements in iOS7 are great time savers and convenient. The annoyances are minor and inconsequential. Battery life seems the same, but I can't vouch for any devices I don't own. Bottom line: iOS7 has a lot to offer and can improve your productivity and workflow. If you don't mind working around a few funny design choices.
Agree? Disagree? Think that iOS7 is an abomination that must be slain with a pure iron sword soaked in the tears of faeries? Let me know your thoughts at editor[at]iPad4Life[dot]net, or leave a comment about your favorite and/or most loathed new feature of Apple's latest version of its flagship mobile OS.