As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on iOS 7. I’ve installed it on my iPhone and my iPad, and at this point I hate it. Well…that’s a bit too strong. But let’s say that the negatives are outweighing the positives so far. That might change.
My number one complaint is that iOS 7 is ugly. Apple had always stood for a carefully thought-out elegant beauty in its products; they claim that they still care about it, even though Steve Jobs is no longer around…but the evidence is against it. In particular, the awful decision to get rid of skeuomorphism destroys the pairing of form and functionality that had always characterized Apple user interfaces. Also, the attempt to make everything light and minimal means that it’s much harder to perceive symbols like the left arrow to return to the previous webpage.
Maybe it’s a matter of age. I’ve conducted a very informal poll of iOS 7 users of various ages, and there is a slight but statistically significant difference of opinion based on age: most of the under-30’s like it, most of the over-40’s hate it. In between it’s in between. This could be a matter of acuity of eyesight, or it could be a matter of familiarity with traditional objects on which skeuomorphism has been based. Not surprisingly, my sample included a number of teenagers (iPhones and iPads being extremely popular in Weston), and I actually did find a couple of them who had the same reservations that I did. But clearly we’re in the minority overall.
Another negative is that many websites don’t function correctly. For instance, I always used to be able to watch Washington Week on my iPad, but no longer. In both Safari and Chrome it refuses to play at all; in Puffin it gets partway through and then quits. Apparently it’s all because of HTML 5.
So what are the positives? Kirk McElhearn cites improved keyboards for many apps. But that’s not really a new feature in iOS 7: many apps already used it before. What does seem to be new about the keyboard is the easy way to type emoticons. I don’t exactly find that useful, but then again I’m not 17 anymore.
Rene Ritchie cites “5 amazing iOS 7 gestures”:
- Calling Control Center and Notification Center
- Peeking at, and navigating to, lists in Mail and Messages
- Swiping through history in Safari
- Tossing away cards and tabs
- Accessing Spotlight Search from any Home screen
#3 is nice. So is #5, I suppose. But “amazing”??? Come on, now!
So, as I said, the jury is still out.