Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iOS 7 – did my wishes come true?

Screenshots of iOS 7 from Apple's web site

Last week, I wrote a wishlist of features that I wanted to see in iOS 7. These were five improvements that I hoped would be announced at Apple’s WWDC keynote.

The keynote was yesterday and so Apple has duly announced what’s new in iOS 7. So how did they do?

What they didn’t add

Three of the things I wanted do not appear to be in iOS 7 – these are the ability to change the default apps, remove default apps that I don’t use, and third-party intents (for example, sharing to social networks or apps other than those that ship with the phone). I suppose the first two of these are niche desires and if I was really bothered by them I could jailbreak my phone. I’m a little bit disappointed that third-party intents didn’t make it though, as this is one feature that Android does well.

And what they did add

Two items on my wishlist have been added to iOS 7.

I bemoaned the lack of password synchronisation in Safari – Apple announced iCloud Keychain which will synchronise passwords between Mac desktop and iOS devices. It’ll also do Wifi passwords as well, apparently. I’ll still be using 1Password though as iCloud Keychain apparently won’t work on Windows.

And while I was hoping for a visual refresh, I wasn’t expecting an almost complete ground-up re-imagining of the entire operating system. iOS 7 looks fantastic, in my opinion, and I’m really looking forward to the autumn when I get to try it for real. The new ‘control centre’ is very welcome for turning on airplane mode and Bluetooth, and I like the like of the new Notification Centre with larger text and buttons.

If Safari and Mail are sufficiently improved over their iOS 6 counterparts, then I’ll happily go back to using them, thus negating the issue of not being able to make third-party apps default. I’ll need to try them out first though.

Is iOS 7 just ripping off Android and Windows Phone?

I’ve heard a number of comments that iOS 7 introduces nothing new compared to Android and Windows Phone, and, if anything, its new design aesthetic is directly ripped off from these operating systems. Having never really used anything other than iOS I can’t really comment but there do seem to be more similarities than before. I suppose there are a limited number of ways that you can do things on a small screen and if one company finds a better way of doing things then others are bound to imitate it. I doubt it has been done maliciously.

I also agree with the point that Apple is probably less keen on attracting people away from other smartphone platforms, and instead ensuring its current users don’t switch away. Remember that Apple also makes money from every app, song, iBook and TV show that you buy from its stores, so Apple has a vested interest in keeping users within its ecosystem. They won’t want users switching to Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry and so will want to keep the grass green on their side of the fence.

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