Thoughts on iOS 7

Earlier this week Apple demonstrated the new version of iOS 7. I watched part of the keynote live and the rest while travelling later in the week. So what I’m putting here is based just on that along with what I’ve seen and read publically and not actually using the beta myself. I do have a test device for that, but won’t be doing that until home later this week. Also since I’ve been on vacation and not following the news out of WWDC in depth I might have missed something and will update/correct this as needed. These are what stood out when watching the keynote and reading a few online items off that.

What I liked

The overall look. I’m odd in that I like Windows 8 overall. And iOS 7 really reminds me of Windows 8. It’s not a clone or copy, but it’s inspired by the same design principles that inspired that system. And I like it. The icons aren’t all perfect, but this is a beta and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them polished a bit before the final release. I do think the overall look answers the concerns about the outdated look to the interface, but of course actually using it will do much to see how well it works.

The control center is a great feature and one that excites me from an ease of use view. The toggles for things like Wi-Fi and flight mode are great when travelling. My recent vacation reminded me how long it takes to hop into settings and turn on airplane mode when getting ready to get onto a plane or when going somewhere with little or no cell reception that drains the battery so fast you can almost watch it count down. I do hope that those quick access links at the bottom can be customized, but I doubt it given’s Apple’s past track record.

Better multitasking is finally here too. This was the one of my two biggest hopes that were addressed. Don’t underestimate the ability to start and app and not have to wait for it to update. Compare bringing up a mail app to say bringing up a news reader where it takes a minute to update before you’re done. Background runs are a great feature, and I expect Apple’s implementation will mitigate battery concerns.

Activation lock is a big deal. Working for a company that deals with nearly 1,000 iPads anything to reduce theft makes a big impact. And personally I like the idea that if I lose my iPhone or it’s stolen then it might not be useful to the finder and means I’m more likely to get it back.

Notification Sync. No more clearing the same notification from multiple devices.

I can finally put as many icons in a folder as I want. No more adding numbers to the end of a folder name or jailbreaking for this purpose.

What I’m Not As Excited About

I think that a lot of these features seem interesting, but not there yet or just won’t work for me. I love the idea of a browser integrating secure passwords into the browser, but I’m not sure I feel a lot of trust to iCloud for it at this point. And for me the iCloud, and therefore Apple only, nature of this solution makes it a non-starter for me. I’ll stick with RoboForm, though if I was a developer of a password app I’d be looking into iCloud integration if that’s possible.

AirDrop looks nice, but the rather limited selection of devices it will work on I think means it will be of limited use until older devices cycle out of common use. I know a lot of people still running iPhone 4’s.

The radio service really doesn’t show me anything that would move me from a program I was currently using. I think Pandora might be in the most trouble since it seems the closest to what Apple produced. I’ll play with it, but don’t see it moving me from Slacker. Again the Apple device only likely makes it a non starter for me.

What Disappoints Me

Still doesn’t look like any good inter-application communication. I still have to hope every developer integrates use for the systems I want. My photo site of choice is 500px and I’d love if they could write a 500px share target and then I could send a photo to it from any app. I’ve hoped for this for a while and really though that it might show up this year. I still think we’ll see this feature, but really wonder how much longer Apple can put this off?

Last Thought

There are always software products that look in trouble after the new version appears. This year thought I think the biggest might be the jailbreak community. Each jailbreak version seems to take longer than the last and I’ve noticed each time I’ve missed the jailbreak a little less. A lot of the things I’ve turned to jailbreak apps for now look built in. I’m not sure at this point I’ll be that worried about jail breaking when 7 comes out which will be a first.