Apple’s announcement of iOS 7 got me more excited about anything the company has announced, ever. So much that I decided to return my week-old HTC One back to T-Mobile for an iPhone 5 last week. Now I’m back to my Nexus 4, down $100 in restocking fees, and I’m just fine with that.
I’ve been using Android phones since the G1 and have never strayed. Despite its eco-system lock in, one of the main reasons iOS has never appealed to me is that it simply looked boring. A little too plain. Well, iOS 7 changes that in a lot of ways, but the system itself remains largely intact, for better or for worse. Still, the latest version of its mobile operating system is pretty great.
My first thought was to purchase a 5th generation iPod Touch and load up iOS 7 on it. No harm, no foul. In retrospect, I should have done this, but I craved the full iOS 7 experience and didn’t want to be held back a lack of GPS, phone capabilities, etc.
Returning the HTC One wasn’t easy. It’s currently the only Android handset I’d spend money on that’s not a Nexus device, but the allure of iOS 7 was strong.
Apple got a lot right with iOS 7. The facelift was much-needed and Apple added enough new features that would appeal to almost any Android user. Why? Because iOS 7 feels like there’s a little Android in it now as far as function is concerned and features like Control Center show this. But even the features that look influenced by other operating systems retain a wholly Apple feel.
My short time with iOS 7 proved to be a rather great experience. The new way to multitask, Control Center, and notifications were all a joy to use. Apple’s new modern look for iOS is going to delight a lot of people.
Living with iOS 7
Given that I was running the beta build of the OS, the bugs I ran into were expected, and there were only a few. The system itself and most Apple-made applications worked perfectly. A few apps like Netflix, IMDB, and a few others constantly crashed, but that’s something to expect. I am an Android user, after all.
It didn’t take long for me to remember that I can’t do certain things on iOS that seem to be taken for granted on Android.
After installing Gmail and setting up my accounts, I needed to send off my UDID so I could be added to a developer’s account through an application, but I couldn’t. iOS still has no default application settings, so I had to set up the Mail application. Easy enough to do, but with Gmail already setup and the go-to application I wanted, having to set up another application I’ll never use was a bit annoying.
I found myself using it quite differently than any Android device. The lack of glanceable information provided on the home screen (widgets) sent me to the browser significantly more. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the new Safari is pretty nice, but I did miss having my scrollable Twitter widget a swipe away on my home screen.
It was only the second day into owning the iPhone 5 that I became more accustomed to the revamped user interface, which was in fact the only reason that owning the device was appealing. The system still works in the same way, and retains most of the benefits and limitations. Why I thought the revamped UI would make me overlook this simple fact is beyond me.
George makes this clear in his iOS 7 initial impressions
“Make no mistake that while iOS 7 may look quite new at first, it is the same operating system from Apple you’ve come to love.”
For me, only the first part of the above sentence is true. The refreshed UI is more than welcomed, and really is beautiful to use, but it’s the same operating system from Apple that I’m not completely in love with.
“Your first impression of iOS 7 might not be one of total embrace, but that will come in time.”
This is also the opposite for myself, as my first impressions of iOS 7 were the main appeal for owning the iPhone. In time, that total embrace became more of an awkward side hug.
All issues I may have found with iOS aside, I probably could have kept the iPhone 5 and adjusted just fine. Still, what ultimately made me return the device is an issue that many will face when switching operating systems : Purchased applications.
Being with Android since late 2008, I’ve purchased a ton of applications and the idea of having to purchase them again for iOS wasn’t exactly desirable. It also didn’t help that many iOS applications are more expensive than Android applications, either.
In the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed my short affair with iOS 7. It’s undoubtedly the best version of the OS and will be very attractive to new and old users alike without overwhelming. I know I’ll eventually grab the latest iPod Touch, just to have iOS 7 around. I mean, I still have feelings for it and I’m not going to act like there was nothing there between us! I just wasn’t ready for iOS and I to be primary device lovers. We’ll take it slow, stay friends, and see where this iPod Touch take us. For now, I have to see if the HTC One will take me back.