Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Six Features I Love about Apple iOS 7

Following my post from last week about iOS7 UI features I disliked I'm following up with what I love the most.  iOS7 is available globally on Wednesday, September 18.  The minimum requirements are an iPhone4 or an iPad 2 and it is a free upgrade.

1. Improved battery life!! I am seeing much better battery life, probably 20%-30% better, than I was previously getting.  My Iphone 4 is three years old and even after getting a new battery I had to charge it more than once a day. I was on the verge of throwing it out when I upgraded to iOS 7.  Since then the full charge can last me a day and a half and it makes a huge difference not having to run out of juice every day.  Apple has really worked hard to maximize battery life including minimizing the amount of data pulled by apps running in the background; their efforts show.

2. Things just work faster. I can't really quote any specific metrics but the new UI is snappier and much more responsive than before. Part of the credit has to be given to the new design, elements of which I criticized in my previous post.  It also works better even with 20 apps running in the background.  It really does feel like a new phone and most everything works faster than before.

3. Quick access menu! The new quick access to settings, pictured below, is something I started using daily from Day 1. I can quickly and easily access and toggle settings such as WIFI, the alarm, rotation, bluetooth, and brightness.  The one thing missing is a quick link to the 3G/2G setting, which I am continuously turning on and off to save battery life since 3G and 4G eats away at it. 

4. Camera features.  Built in filters, square images and other effects that, previously, you had to use an app like Camera+ or Instagram. It also just seems to take much better images and that logic was
 improved upon.  Also the feature that lets you browse through images is definitely a huge time saver if you take lots of images on your iPhone.

5. Safari and multiple tabs. I was using Chrome on my iOS devices just because it was better than Safari at handling multiple tabs.  However Chrome does crash quite often and I was looking for new options. Safari in iOS 7 has been vastly improved, is really stable, and comes with a wonderful graphical way to quickly flip through your tabs, just like you would with your album collection in iTunes.  Even on an iPhone it works quite well and you can quickly see what is on each tab.  A maximum of four tabs are displayed at one time but you can easily scroll through if you had more.  

6. Folders can finally have more than 9 icons! Having used iOS devices since 2007, I probably have a couple of hundred icons and apps.  And even using folders in iOS 6 I still had at least four or five screens of icons that I inevitably had to thumb through to find my rarely used apps. In iOS7 you can put more than nine icons in a folder. It still only displays nine icons but the 10th icon onwards is accessible by simply swiping to the left.  In the screen shot below you can see how my News folder has more than 9 apps, noted by the two bullet points at the bottom. This feature saves me tons of screen real estate and I was able to easily get all my stuff on two screens of icons and that's made it much more functional for me.

So those are the features that appealed to me the most. The common theme is that each item highlighted saves me time in some way. I could care less about new features such Air Drop, the compass and the iTunes redesign.  If I was going on a hike in the wilderness I would just stick to a real compass. Overall a solid upgrade and I suspect many existing iPhone 4 and 5 users will benefit from the software and will feel less of an urge to go out and buy a new phone.  F
or a full review of iOS 7 features there are several great videos on Youtube such as this one below.


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