By Jaime Rivera | July 5, 2013 8:00 PM
If I sat my brother in my car today, he’d clearly remind me how he doesn’t like grey leather. He’s never really liked it, and yet, grey leather is probably one of my favorite design choices when I bought my car. The same case repeats itself with the fact that he’s an SUV guy, and I’ve always preferred sedans. There’s just no way that we’re going to agree on taste, nor what we consider better, and that comes from two guys that were brought up in the same house hold, and yeah, he even dated some of my ex-girlfriends back in High school (Ironic, since he’s older).
In the same way, I’m sure that a ton of you were impressed and excited about Apple’s iOS 7, and in the same fashion, I know that another big group of people weren’t. For some, iOS 7 answered all the dreams and desires they needed to continue using their iPhones or iPads with delight, while for many others, it was just a change that needed to happen.
For me, my experience with iOS 7 has proven to be a mixed bag. I’ve had the oddest love and hate relationship with it ever since I began testing the first beta. I told you a couple of weeks ago that I wanted it, and yeah, I’ve been testing it since day one as a result, but it hasn’t all been fun and games. Most, if not all of my biggest annoyances where solved with Control Center, and it also included the added benefit of fixing a lot of the things that I learned to tolerate as well. Still not everything is perfect, and a ton of things that weren’t broken shouldn’t have been fixed.
Lot’s of you may say, hey, this is a beta and you shouldn’t judge it. You’re right; none of us should ever judge pre-production software for its reliability, nor for its impact on the performance of the device. Trust me, the “hate” portion of my relationship with iOS 7 has nothing to do with how many times Skype crashes or the fact that Whatsapp always forgets to show me the keyboard. It has more to do with how it looks, and how it doesn’t look.
Let me share with you why I love and hate it, and I’m sure your opinions will either agree or disagree in the comments:
What I love about iOS 7
I’ve always said that a smartphone should be smart. I debate calling a feature-rich phone smart, because these are two different things. Today’s smartphones are simply phones that can do more depending on the added functionality that you provide in apps or services, but it’s not like if they can do things for you without the need for your interaction. I love that iOS 7 already knows that I use Instagram, Nike+, Whatsapp and Mailbox the most, and therefore intends to update them in the background after every notification. I say intend because this feature is not yet available for all apps until they’re enhanced for iOS 7, but it’s a step in making the smartphone really smart.
I love Control Center. The most basic toggles are available to you everywhere, and yet, even the non-basics are there. It’s the little things like the flashlight switch, the calculator, the clock or the camera toggle that make it even better. The fact that music is integrated, that Airdrop knows when it’s on Wi-Fi and automatically adjusts, etc, etc. I’m sure all of you will throw Android in my face, and yeah, I know it’s an Android feature, but I’ve got to hand it to Apple for taking a two-step procedure on Android and making it only one simple swipe.
Probably one of my favorites is the “Moments” feature in photos. My Camera Roll looked horrible before these guys figured this service out. I also love the Today section on Notifications Center. What took these guys so long? Reminds me of the old Windows Mobile Today Screen that I would always fall in love with. And to end, I love infinite folders, the new Safari, the new and more efficient Calendar app, and some other enhancements that came to Siri.
What I hate about iOS 7
iOS 7 is so simplistic that it sometimes looks ugly or half baked. You can argue that it’s still beta software, but rarely do beta apps change in their visual aspect. The icons look like a drawn cartoon and the new pallet of colors reach the level of annoying sometimes. Jony Ive claims that simplicity is not just the lack of clutter and ornamentation, but when you launch services like Notes, it’s clear that they went too far. I’m not saying that I liked the old notepad design better than a white canvas with yellow links and text, but at least I felt a sense of order with the previous design that I just can’t easily adapt to in the new design. In most places, it seems like if all they did was get rid of the stitched leather, but not really enhance these apps with all the extra space that was left by the new UI. Add that to the fact that most of the UI is whiter than white, and man, there’s a point where my eyes become strained.
Then there are those “duh” things that should or shouldn’t have been fixed and were or weren’t. My biggest one is to try to make a phone call from an app. Why didn’t Apple include a call button in Control Center is just beyond me! I’m also annoyed at launching apps from a folder, as once I press the home button, I’m not taken home, but back to the folder. That’s just not right if we pretend to keep calling this the “home” button. I could keep going with the lack of photos in the contact list in year 2013, or the fact that the “reader” feature in Safari on iOS 6 and bellow was a very elegant book-like UI that now is just dull text with a dull font, or the fact that the weather icon still can’t tell you the weather. The Siri UI is one of those things that really wasn’t broken, and that now looks so simple that I can’t tell what the text is saying sometimes.
Probably my biggest disappointment with iOS 7 is that it just looks different, but not better. If I had to compare Android 4.2 with Android 3.2, the difference is night and day. It just feels like a more thought-out UI, where in the case of iOS 7, all I feel that was changed is the ornamentation, but the basic elements of the apps are still the same. I’m sure that keeping the UI as familiar to iOS 6 as possible was an important goal, but some things didn’t get any better as a result.
The bottom line
Surely, there’s the new Parallax thing when you tilt the phone, which I still find a gimmick. There’s a new translucent keyboard, which I also find a gimmick, and the list can go on. Don’t get me wrong though, iOS 7 is far better than iOS 6, but sadly that’s because iOS 6 was a patched disaster. Apple did deliver in bringing us a new and more modern UI this year, but it still doesn’t provide any groundbreaking features that I’d tell you to consider instead of Android or Windows Phone.
I guess I couldn’t have said it better than in that last sentence. Does iOS 7 make me recommend it more to you than Android or Windows Phone? Sadly my answer is no. It’s not better nor worse, it’s just different. In 2013, we need more than just something different. The future of the smartphone market is in the hands of the company that can revolutionize what the original iPhone revolutionized six years ago. Sadly for Apple, with Android 5.0 and Windows Phone 8.1 still in the oven, it’s still anybody “else’s” game.
What about you? Do you like iOS 7 or do you feel that it’s not for you? Leave us a comment.