Lately, it’s difficult to be heard above the constant screaming negativity towards Apple’s latest operating system.
Heck, I’m guilty of joining the chorus too, this is a piece I wrote on this blog last week: Five user experience problems with iOS7. It’s a fair summation of the problems with iOS7, in fact it only scrapes the surface according the comments underneath it.
As Marc Shillum (featured in this post about Apple and the key to consistent marketing experience) stated recently, what we perceive to be the product, the iPhone, is in fact “an ongoing service relationship with a company that is delivered through software we have little control over”.
Basically the operating system is the product, not the phone. No wonder there's so much outcry when Apple tweaks its operating system, or as with iOS7, completely rewrites it.
So in order to inject some positivity into the conversation, and to provide much needed balance, here’s a list of brilliant things about iOS7.
Let’s start small
The Clock app tells the right time now...
I know this is only minor but it’s attention to details like this that makes the UX that much more rewarding and gives you confidence in the developer.
Now if only they can make the Weather app constantly represent what’s happening outside and the Compass always pointing in a relative direction then I’ll be really happy.
Kick out the chrome
Removing most of the chrome from the design has given the display a much needed contemporisation.
The old grey bars on the top and bottom are gone. Instead we can now witness Ghost Rider in all his flaming, full-screen glory.
There’s a financial positive here in that Apple has basically saved itself from manufacturing bigger screens and handsets, by making the iPhone appear bigger with nothing but a mere optical illusion.
Apple’s new Control Centre, accessed simply by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, is a brilliant cross-section of easily accessible features.
Here you can switch wi-fi, Bluetooth and sleep mode on & off quickly.
It also provides you with a brand new torch feature (admittedly it just leaves the flash on, but still, it’s very handy.)
You also have fast access to music controls and here’s an under-appreciated one – brightness controls, which are usually hidden in the general settings.
Lock screen music controls
This has made my commute a far easier experience.
Without unlocking your phone or double tapping the home button, you can now directly skip tracks, pause and see the full track details of whatever is currently on the iPhone stereo.
Great if you're in a rush but you really need the right T'Pau track to help power your way there.
This also works for the Spotify app as well as iTunes.
Find My iPhone
We saw this at work in our office only last week when someone who shall remain nameless (alright, Matt our head of social) lost his iPhone quite innocently and soberly in a taxi.
Find My iPhone has been part of the iOS for a few years, but now there’s an added bonus – Activation Lock.
The moment you turn on Find My iPhone, your lost iPhone will lock itself and can’t be unlocked, erased or reactivated without your Apple ID and password.
You just have to remember to keep Find My iPhone switched on in your settings. Isn’t that right Matt?
You’re probably aware that you can double-tap the home button to access any currently running apps, and that by swiping up you can kill a specific app.
Did you also know that you can kill up to three apps at the same time by using multiple fingers? You do now. You’re welcome.
This screengrab was achieved with no small amount of teamwork by the way.
Timestamps in Messages
A quick little tip, based on something that I’d become quite frustrated with until today. How do I know what time a message was sent?
“I’ll be there in ten minutes” a message might read. "Ten minutes from when?" I'll scream at my nearing-sentient device.
Just swipe to the left to reveal all the timestamps.
Apple has introduced a few more improvements in it’s most recent update, which address some initial user experience problems.
If you were one of the many users experiencing motion sickness from the ‘zooming in and out’ feature when turning an app on or off, or the parallax floating effect in the background, good news – you can turn it off now.
Just go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Reduce Motion. You’ll also find this lessens the drain on your battery and processing power.
There’s also been some bug fixes to certain user’s inability to send iMessages over the data channel and the addition of iCloud Keychain functionality to aid security.
I’ve already talked long enough elsewhere in the iOS7 problems post about how much I admire the new non-skeomorphic design, which really is the most immediate and definitive improvement within iOS7.
Now it’s your turn. There’s been plenty of commentary based on the rubbishness of iOS7, so why don't you let us know how great the iOS7 is instead in the comments below…