Friday, September 20, 2013

iOS 7

I downloaded iOS 7 for all my devices this morning - probably right at the most challenging time. It did take a bit of patience and depending on WIFI speed - it may take a try or two.  I was at a eye appointment which has free WIFI - but the downloads at 10:30 were a bit slow.   By early afternoon you could download the system and go through the setup easily.

As you can see from the picture at the left the icons in the operating system have been altered (I think for the most part better) - the look and feel on the devices is attractive.   One thing you notice immediately is that the opening screen looks 100% better - the photos I use for each of my devices look great.

Several of the Apps that I use the most have been substantially redesigned.   Evernote, for instance, has a better user interface and some updating capabilities which will make it even more useful.

The Music App has added iTunes Radio which should give services like Pandora and iHeart radio a run for their money.   Unlike iHeart it does not seem to have the ability to tune into broadcast stations.

The iOS has also been simplified to be able to get down to the notification center  - which in the past I did not use much - but with the simple new swipe gesture I suspect I will use it a lot more.  The new control center allows you to do things like setting airplane mode with one touch.

There are lots of things that you just need to try out.  The changes in iPhoto are impressive and simplify the photo experience.  Airdrop - which allows you to send stuff to other users in the area - is a real addition.   Safari has a series of additions including tabs.   The new system also has a feature to update content in background.   That is very helpful.  Siri has been improved - I will need to try that out a lot more.   My prior experience with Siri was not entirely helpful.  It has added Wolfram and Bing searches.

I use Find My Phone a lot - when I have left my phone around the house.   There is a new feature that if you really lose your phone can lock it down.   When you get it back (if you do) you can reactivate it using your Apple ID.

There is one thing I do not like.   The new Video App has two serious flaws.   First, when you look at the first video screen, it lists all of the videos I have purchased from iTunes. (In my case that is about 400 movies)  Yet, some of those are in the cloud and some are native to the device.   While it is possible to distinguish the movies that are on the device (they do not have a little cloud in the lower right corner of the image) it means that if you have a large video library, it takes some time to go through all the options.   There is a second problem which is equally annoying.   I have used iTunes to archive a number of non-commercially produced videos - things like videos of our kids when they were young (for a number of years we did a highlight reel each year) or the tapes from an appearance I did on C-SPANN when I was on a national commission.  It looks like I cannot access those on my iOS device.

As has happened over the last couple of years, I have noticed that the integration with the cloud has been proceeding apace.  That is a potential problem in at least two areas.   First, for those iOS devices that do not have a constant link to the internet (WIFI only devices) that can leave you without important materials at a key time.   That extends not just to media but also Apps like Evernote.   Second, if you travel outside the country, as I often do to Mexico, where cellular charges are outrageously expensive, you will need to do some better planning.

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