iOS 7 Review

iOS 7 Has Arrived!
9/18/2013 | Fernando Lyons


Earlier today, Apple released its most significant operating system upgrade since the iPhone was released in 2007.  This operating system, iOS 7, is available for download on the iPhone (4 and newer), iPod Touch (5th generation), and iPad (2nd generation and newer).  While some features are only available on newer apple devices (AirDrop), there are plenty of other features for owners of Apple devices to gush over.  


The first thing you will notice is the cosmetic changes.  This is a significant visual overhaul for Apple, whose interface had become old and stale.  You will notice subtle motion and animation when navigating from screen to screen, flatter icons, and and a softer color palette.  Some may consider the new look a bit feminine, however my 12 year old daughter hates it, while I like it (go figure).  The dymanic (animated) wallpaper feature, which Android users have enjoyed for years, is finally available on Apple devises (this feature was previously only available on jailbroken Apple devices).  The typography has been changed, however, I am on the fence with this feature, as it looks great, but makes the text and keyboard buttons appear smaller.  Multitasking has been improved, as users now have a row of large visual preview screens for each open app, which can be used to access the open app or close it by flicking the preview screen upward.  


Another nod to Android users is the new Control Center, which allows access to the most commonly used control settings, such as Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, WI-FI, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and the new AirDrop (peer-to-peer file sharing service) feature.  Also included are a flashlight, timer, music controls, brightness controls, camera, and calculator.  The Control Center can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.  The Notification Center has also been improved with a view of your day, including weather, calendar, and stocks.  Also, the annoyance of having to delete the same notifications on all of your Apple devices has been eliminated.  The Control Center can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen.  Both the Control Center and Notification Center can be accessed without having to unlock your device.  


Siri has been overhauled, providing more detailed results, and the ability to change to a male voice.  Updates to apps can now be performed automatically, without having to access the App Store.  The Safari browser has been improved to include a single URL/Search bar and a snazzy tiled view to better navigate visited pages.  The camera has been retooled allowing users to swipe left or right between modes, and access the photo filters is provided with a button on the lower right side of the screen.  Finally, one of my favorite new features is iTunes Radio, which looks to take the streaming music crown from Pandora.  So far, I am impressed.  Users can create stations, similar to Pandora, however, users do not have to tolerate the annoying advertisements, which are disruptive to the overall music listening experience.  As expected, users have the abiltity to purchase the song you are listening to directly from iTunes Radio, due to its iTunes integration.


To obtain the update go to Settings > General > Software Update, or simply plug your device into iTunes on your computer.  Be prepared to delete some apps, as you may need up to 3.1 GB of free space to download and install the approximately 700 MB file.  Download and install times may vary, from a few minutes to several hours, depending on your WI-FI speed.   New Apple devices will come preinstalled with iOS 7.        


Overall, I am very satisfied with the update.  It has breathed new life into my iPhone 5 and iPad 2, eliminating my impulse to run out and buy the latest Apple devices.  The new operating system runs flawlessly on all my devices, and makes the easiest smart phone and tablet to operate, a lot more accessible.

UPDATE - 9/19/2013:  After listening to iTunes Radio for an extended period, I encountered a few advertisements.  While not as intrusive as Pandora ads, which occur more regularly and cover your screen while songs are playing, you will experience the occasional interruption between streaming songs on iTunes Radio.

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