Initial Impression On iOS 7

24 hours is not long enough to judge a produce or service. Certainly not for a complex product like operating system.

In the morning, I woke up to a nice sunny day. The iOS update was ready for me, and I just had to install it via OTA within the phone. The initial excitement was replaced by disappointment and then reluctant acceptance. An hour or so of download then it decided to cease update at the verifying phone phase. This is one of the few teething issues that dilute the experience and it’s unlike Apple to not anticipate and cater to such scenarios. Nevertheless, I was really eager to see how iOS 7 look and work, having not installed any of the betas.

I got home after work, linked up the phone to WiFi and continue with the update. This time, fortunately, it proceeded as normal. So, that moment was the first time I experience iOS 7 in person.

On the first impression, the default Apple icons look more in unity as compared to previous releases. There is more cohesive feel and it looks more zen like with the absence of drop shadows and skuemorphism. It’s not flat by any means. It’s layered, fade-in/ out, translucent give users a sense of depth.

What I Like

Obviously, the control centre is a welcome addition. Now, we don’t have to fondle deep into the settings to configure simple and often access items like WiFi, cellular and calculator. I’m glad they addressed this.

Folders. Now we don’t have to create multiple folders because of the limitation of 16 apps within a single folder. I can better organized similar apps now and my screen should appear less cluttered.

For those using assertive touch, it’s no longer buggy. In the previous iOS, when you try to lock the device straight after exiting any app, it returns you back to the home screen. It’s not critical, just annoying. The wait is neglectable but it has remained an unsolved issue till the roll out of iOS 7.

In the lock screen, users are no longer confined to the small, long stripe of bar to unlock the phone. Now, we can just swipe anywhere in the screen from left to right. It makes unlocking a more seamless experience.

Some Grumbles

The App Store is really sluggish and buggy. I got a display in the folder, stating there were 16 updates. I went in, clicked the update tab and it displayed all apps as up-to-date. Going to individual app and clicking them to update sometimes work, but it took me many tries before I’m able to update and I just totally give up. I tried signing out of the Apple account and rebooting the problem but it didn’t help. By virtue of trying after trying, I finally update all the apps. It was a very frustrating experience having to go such length.

I would also have liked the display at the top of the screen to be bigger for easier viewing. Information such as time is less visible and it takes more than a glance to grasp what’s on the screen.

I also have to say that the animations are overdone. The fading-in and out animations are impressive on first look, but it’s not really practical. Just a day into this and I already not feeling it. An option to turn this off would be grateful.

Safari is a little buggy. I was surfing midway when unexpectedly it closed on me. The tab took me back to where I was but it was not entirely stable.

The performance within the messaging screen is sluggish. It’s not the same buttery smooth performance we are used to. Though it’s not jerky by any means, it’s still not up to par with the usual high standards we have come to expect, especially for a core and commonly used app like messaging. When you click the “send” button, the lag is especially apparent.

Speaking of messaging, the iMessage isn’t reliable. Even I’m sending to someone with iMessage enabled, it didn’t really register and it would just sent as normal SMS. The other party could still send me via iMessage. Sometimes rebooting the phone solved the problem, but it’s a persistent issue that requires permanent solution. I just did a network setting reset and so far, it’s working fine. Fingers crossed.

Update: Nothing worked for me. I restored the phone to a new state and set up everything from scratch. Hopefully this time it will work.

***

Overall, the experience feels very modern. Maybe it takes some getting used to, but it’s very futuristic looking. Apple have always embrace the values of forward-thinking and solving real world needs. This is a massive change over the previous six versions of iOS. Naturally, it takes time for users to find their feet. Apple, I believe, will educate consumers as they always do through this transition phase.

There is still much room for improvements. Bugs will be squashed and glaring performance issues will be eradicated. We are at the start of a long journey.