iOS 7: first impressions

So I’ve been using iOS7 on my phone for the last two days and thought I’d post something about

Firstly though, some people will want to know how I have it now when it was barely announced this week and isn’t available to the public until the autumn.

I don’t actually actually have ‘it’ because nobody does, outside Apple itself. What I have is a pre-release beta version. Apple released this build to developers this week so that they can get working on apps that will complement the operating system well in advance.

And actually, anyone can have it now. You just have to register with Apple as an app developer. It costs around €80 and then you can download and install it. Doing so entails a certain risk because by definition beta software isn’t fully finished.

However in this case, the ios7 beta seems pretty stable to me. There are one or two niggling little things that are obviously not quite right, but to all intents and purposes, it works properly and all the functions seem ready to go.

Because it’s beta software, it’s not really fair to write a review of it. Any review published now doesn’t reflect the experience that customers will have when they download the finished version later this 2

But I do think I can give an opinion, with the caveat that I won’t mention something about it which I feel is likely to be fixed by the time it appears. First impressions? It’s fantastic. A really great operating system that is substantially different in look and feel from iOS6.

Some things will take some getting used to. For instance, the colour scheme is challenging at first. I think it’s no coincidence that Apple has used a white phone in all its promo videos as the colours it’s using now for its flagship app icons look better with that body colour.

Undoubtedly lots of people will be turned off by the bold use of colour and typography, but please remember that Apple was faced with an impossible task here. This operating system is used by so many millions of people that it’s not unfair to say that almost everyone is familiar with it. How do you make a product that makes everyone happy?

photo 1You can’t really. If you’re clever you try to make a product that makes you happy and you hope that this is acceptable to enough people that it’s a success. I think that with iOS 7 Apple has decided not to be all things to all people, and that’s to be lauded. Some people will be put off by the look of it, but you know what, it grows on you.

I looked at my wife’s iPhone 4 next to my iPhone 5 last night to compare the two, and when you see them together, iOS6 looks old fashioned, heavy and clumsy. iOS 7 looks light and vibrant and modern.

Will it age well? We’ll have to see but for now I can’t see myself uninstalling this for iOS 6.