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printed December 20, 2014
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Review: Apple iOS 7 from A to Z

Intro Basic UI Apps Wrap-Up Comments  11  

iOS 7 is a breath of fresh air. iOS 6 and earlier versions were beginning to look stale. In many ways, iOS 7 is just a fresh coat of paint. In other ways, it goes far, far deeper.

The new design language is certainly modern and minimalistic. It loses the hokey 3D textures and muted tones of yesteryear for flatter, more colorful icons and animations that fit better in the year 2013.

iOS 7 gains useful features, including a better notification system, better access to basic controls, and a richer, more enjoyable multitasking system. These make using the operating system faster and more enjoyable. The home screens, however, continue to be somewhat inflexible.

Most of the applications and services aboard iOS 7 have been completely overhauled with both the new design language and new features. Stand-outs I liked include the photo gallery, music, Safari, and the camera. Some of the apps that feel only glossed over include email and messaging, and the contacts and phone apps. These latter few could be so much better (perhaps in iOS 8?)

Considering all the new and useful features, there's little reason to stick with iOS 6. If you're running newer hardware, such as the iPhone 5 or iPad Mini, go ahead and update. If you're using older hardware, such as the iPhone 4 or 4S, you may want to hold off if only to wait and see if reports emerge of problems. Remember that new versions of iOS often run slowly on older hardware. If you value performance over features, perhaps it's best to skip iOS 7 for now.

The new operating system makes strides in usability, though there are still some questionable things here and there. Learning which apps want a swipe, tap, press, or flick takes time, but it's fairly intuitive. If you're coming from an Android device, it will feel much simpler, but less flexible. If you're coming from a feature phone, well, you've got a learning curve ahead of you.

iOS was long overdue for a redesign, and Apple's latest mobile operating system is the best version yet.

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