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Happy iOS 7 Day
2013-09-18 23:27
iOS, Apple, iPhone

I’ve been using it since Beta 2 this summer, and I like it a lot. Going back to iOS 6 was always a bit painful, even with the early Beta issues. It was unstable in the early days, as you might expect from a Beta build. Rebooting the phone was a common procedure to get things running again. But by the last beta, everything was pretty good. Every now and then, you’d run into a spot where an animation wouldn’t be flawlessly smooth, but I’m not sure how much of that was the beta software’s fault and how much of it is from me running iOS 7 on an iPhone 4S. And while Apple supports iOS 7 on the iPhone 4, I hear it’s not worth trying that.

The Control Panel sliding up from the bottom of the screen is the biggest improvement, as far as I’m concerned. It takes all those options that used to be five clicks away and puts them into one sliding panel available nearly everywhere. (It won’t come up from inside some apps, but I’m sure that’s a coding thing that’ll disappear in time.)

Having the ability to slide from the left edge to the right to go back a screen is a nice touch, even when it gets a little tricky on apps that use a similar swipe gesture. I imagine a lot of apps with that left-to-right gesture (many to slide out a pane) might find new ways of making that work, just to avoid that confusion.

The hardest thing to find, though, is the search box. On iOS6, that was the screen to the left of the home screen. That’s gone in iOS 7. Now you need to pull down on the screen and the box slides down from the top. That’s handy in that it’s available on every screen of the springboard, but it takes some getting used to.

Once you find it, it’s easy enough to deal with, but I imagine a lot of people will be missing it. A quick search of Twitter shows lots of people can’t find it, though it seems Apple put a “Welcome to iOS 7” introduction on the final release that shows you where it is. ::sigh::

The overall design, though, is just more consistent. It feels like Apple has learned from the piecemeal changes it’s done over the years and put those lessons learned into one new ground-up rewrite of the design. (Having the Control Panel on the lock screen next to the camera is nice, too.) The more minimalistic design feels good. The thinner icons and the nicer typography is great. As a bit of a font nerd, the typography APIs are very exciting.

Auto App Update is nice. While I can see it coming that someday some major app will make a redesign that nobody likes and everyone will grumble they were “forced” to upgrade, the convenience of not having to think about it or push buttons to make it happen is huge.

Safari will take some getting used to, too. While I like having so many windows worth of history available to scroll through – and love having my desktop Safari tabs show up there, too – the interaction design is a bit of work. I can understand trying to minimize the chrome (no pun intended) to display more of the webpage, but having to tap the bottom edge of the screen on top of what might be a link or a picture just to bring up the toolbar at the bottom? That might be asking too much.

I like the little animations of the app icons you touch zooming out at you, and the way they pop off the folders. Having fewer icons on the screen at once inside the folders is a bit annoying, but I don’t use too many folders, so that’s OK by me. Like many, I wish they were a touch faster, but that’s a nit-pick.

It’s just fun to have a radical new design in play and to see everyone remodeling their apps to fit in. Everything is new again. That’s cool.

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