We've already had our say on where the iOS 7 ecosystem is headed, but we had that say earlier in the day before iOS 7 actually became officially available for download. But that time finally arrived and as has always been the case, our downloads were easy, painless and completely clean across all of our myriad iDevices -- including those of our better half, who we updated even though our initial inclination was to wait and see how our own updates worked.
Well, honestly, there was one glitch -- we got several "update unavailable, try again later" messages so it took a few tries to get our updates operational -- a sign that huge numbers of users are already moving ahead with their own updates. TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani -- who has already posted an excellent blog post on his iOS 7 update adventure - did mention to us that he'd had a few "crashes" on the way to his updates though we're not exactly sure yet what he means by "crashes." In any case, Rich provides a great quick reference overview of 16 critical things that are new so we don't need to do so here. Read Rich's post for the details.
There are more than 200 new features, at least 40 of which are complex and entirely related to the enterprise -- something we'll cover in detail in a separate article later this week. These are not features that end users would see, and in many cases they aren't even features app developers would see.
iPhone 4S Update - Check!
We've not seen any mention of the various e-mail-related updates, but the “swipe to delete” feature has been nicely improved and is worth mentioning. As well, the subtle parallax view on the home screen is now enabled. This is the subtle new home screen visual cue that gives the user the impression your icons are floating over the background. It creates an understated 3-D effect that is all the more effective because it is understated.
We don't really know why we think this is so cool, but we do! We will note that the background image is critical for getting the most out of the parallax 3-D effect -- and background images with a vertical orientation help the effect to stand out more. And of course dynamic background images (i.e. animation) are now supported as well for both the lock and home screen. None of these things affect the use of iOS 7 but they simply add to the strong overall sense of newness. Yes -- we know, Android has had home screen and lock screen animations forever … to which we say, so what?
iPhone 5 Update - A-OK!
Finally, we'll touch on the camera app. This is not the same very cool new enhanced camera capability you will get with the new iPhone 5S camera, but the iOS 7 UI improvements are very nicely done relative to the iOS 6 version. Apple has also added a new set of eight tonal filters a user can select, from which to take photos; you want to shoot in black and white or perhaps get that hankering for sepia-toned prints in hand? Now you can. Apple has also added the same eight filters to edit mode for post-processing.
Have NO Fear!
Fellow iOSers -- update away! Yes, it is a big release and yes it is a major UI overhaul. But in the end we defy anyone to feel confused, out of sorts or otherwise out of sync with iOS 7. It's different yet at the same time it is also quite comfortingly familiar.
Rich underscores in his post that iOS 7 is a radical departure. We don't agree -- we simply think it is a great improvement over what had become a somewhat stale UI. We don't believe it is radical because in the end nothing has really changed -- though many things have been made easier to do. The key is that the changes are all intuitive -- most of them fall into the category of having fulfilled our wish list collection. What we mean here is that Apple has listened and delivered what we really inherently want.
iPad 4 Update - Done Deal!
Who among us, for example, didn't wish that we had instant and simple access to the control panel? Well, now instead of going through several steps to get to airplane mode or any of the other things the new Control Panel does, you simply flick up and there it is. To those who say, “Hey, Android has had this forever” we say, so what?
Now your app updates will happen automatically and even provide you with an update trail. The "reader" function in Safari is now moved from the address bar to an easy-to-reach quick touch button on the upper left corner of the screen -- a simple tap, no more reaching -- it’s a modest but very effective change. Who doesn't want these things? Air Drop, meanwhile, is simply the easy way to share with anyone -- no untoward bumping required. These things aren't confusing -- they are all just … better.
If you happen to read one of the various articles now out there that give you pause to update, here is our advice. First, no, you are not a dim bulb, and any article that suggests this may prove the case that really defines the author as the dim bulb in the group, not the reader. It is all simple. Really -- trust us on this.
There is a lot of subtle innovation here as far as the old devices go. The iPhone 5C will bring the user more of the same. But do treat yourself to checking out the iPhone 5S wherever it is you purchase your smart phones. The iPhone 5S is the real next generation platform where iOS 7 and the hardware come together to really raise the bar on innovation.
Go ahead and update!
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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