Quick Thoughts on iOS 7 and the iPad

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iOS 7

iOS 7 Features

As expected, Apple previewed iOS 7 at yesterday’s WWDC 2013 keynote event and announced that it will be released to the public this fall. iOS 7 is of course the next generation of the operating system for iPad and iPhone.

I watched the entire keynote via Apple’s live stream, and looked on most intently during the section devoted to the iOS 7 preview and demos. Now I’ve got a few quick thoughts on iOS 7 and its impact on the iPad in particular.

These are just my very quick reactions to what we learned at the keynote, and they may change drastically once I actually spend time with iOS 7 on the iPad.

The Good

Multitasking for All Apps: With some intelligent scheduling and other clever functionality built in – this all sounds very impressive.

New App Switching Method: Looks a lot like webOS cards and nicely done in most ways.

Control Center: Quick access to services toggles and some settings is nice, and also long, long overdue.

iWork for iCloud: Looked promising and it’s very good to see that it works on both Mac and Windows. If it works as well as advertised then it should provide a good alternative to purchasing desktop companion apps when you’re using the iWork apps on iPad.

UI Design Changes: Refined typography, redesigned icons, a whole new palette of colors, distinct layers to establish hierarchy. Most of this sounds nice and looked nice in the presentation – though I’m not so sure about some of the new icon designs.

Multiple Page Folders: Allowing hundreds of items is better than the current limits of course – but it feels like maybe more wholesale rethinking of folders would have been even better.

Safari Improvements: Look very good, especially the smart search, the much nicer tabs view, and integration of iCloud Keychain for secure logins.

Notifications Sync: Yay, much needed. No more having to dismiss the same notification on multiple devices.

iTunes Radio: Sounds good, especially the part about being free and ad-free for all iTunes Match subscribers.

The Mostly Good

Changes to Photos App: The new filters look good and it’s nice to see more sharing options and the ability to share videos via iCloud. I wasn’t overly impressed with the new automatic organization of photos into Moments and Collections based on when and where photos were taken.

App Store Changes: A  few nice new features, like the ability to search for apps by age range. Automatic updates sound cool, but only if we can choose to turn these off and set some limits on when they can occur.

AirDrop: Meh. Sounds OK, but I can’t think of that many occasions when I would really put it to use. Maybe it will knock my socks off when I try it.

The Not So Good

App Switching Still Requires Home Button Double-Press: I find that this method can often feel a little clumsy – especially as the home button on the iPad doesn’t register the double-press correctly all of the time. I’d much rather see a slick new gesture for this.

iCloud Changes: We didn’t hear that much about major improvements to iCloud, and definitely nothing about offering real restore options. Backups are far less useful when there remains only an All of Nothing restore option.

Better Inter-app Communications: We heard zilch about this.

Siri upgrades: Adding Wikipedia and Twitter integration and new voices and a couple new languages is all good stuff – but it still feels like Siri is way behind Google Now in terms of being more of a ‘smart’ assistant.

Overall, I still can’t quite shake the thought that the iPad was a bit of an afterthought at yesterday’s event and maybe even in the development of iOS 7 thus far. There certainly seem to be more features and improvements targeted at the iPhone than the iPad.

9to5Mac has even said this morning that Apple appears to be running behind on the development of iOS 7 for the iPad, and that’s pretty clearly indicated by the fact that the first developer beta for iPad is running an unspecified number of weeks behind the iPhone beta. I hope this won’t mean a later public release for iOS 7 for the iPad this fall.

I don’t feel hugely disappointed with iOS 7 for iPad, but I certainly don’t feel wowed either.

What do you all think of iOS 7 and the iPad?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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11 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts on iOS 7 and the iPad”

  1. Hey, there is an iPad gesture matching the home button double click – four fingers swipe upwards.

  2. Thanks for the reminder for the iPad gesture for the home button double-click, PrzemekH.

    iCloud is essentially useless to me because of the all or nothing back up and restore — unless I were willing to purchase a ton of space that I don’t need, because I can back up and restore for free on my MacMini hard drive. I use DropBox for everything I need and iCloud for only the things I can’t use anything else for (iCal, mostly).

    I noticed all examples were given on the iPhone yesterday. Supposedly, the automatic updates are going to be optimized to prefer when the phone (and, iPad, I presume) are plugged in and on WiFi, but I, too, would like the ability to configure that.

    At least one person other than me was hoping for a different theme option for IOS7. I presume that may be likely. As for Game Center, I really, really want the option to turn it off rather than having to keep declining to approve it. When I’m playing a game, I’m not playing against anyone else, even if that option is available, so I don’t want the hassle. The Game Center icon change is the worst of the changes. It makes absolutely no sense to switch to something like that just to avoid some semblance of skeuo-whatever-it-is.

    1. I feel your pain Jean, though I still find iCloud useful for some things I do tend to rely on Dropbox far more as well.

  3. Overall, I liked most of what they presented with control center being the one I liked best.

    I really don’t like the color scheme used on the new icons.

    I love my ipad, but I switched my phone from an iphone to a note 2. I definitely feel like Siri has a lot of catching up to do with google now. Not very excited about bing integration, but not much of a surprise either.

    1. “I love my ipad, but I switched my phone from an iphone to a note 2.” Hey that’s my line. I made that same switch around 6 weeks ago and couldn’t be happier with it. Have been writing a fair bit about it over here: http://www.247tablets.com/

      1. I’ll check that site out. I made the switch in early march. After about 30 minutes I was like “what have I done?” but after a few days I knew their was no going back. The only app I really missed was Omnifocus, but I’ve switched my workflow over to Trello and its actually worked out great as its more multiuser friendly.

        Almost everyone around me uses iphones and thought I was crazy, but after my wife kept wanting to try mine out, she switched to the S4 in the beginning of May and she loves hers.

        1. Yeah, I found the change a bit daunting at the outset too, but very quickly found I really enjoyed using the Note 2. I like the (admittedly) huge size, the S Pen, swipe typing, apps like Swapps for elegant app switching, and more. OmniFocus was by far the thing I missed (and still miss) most too. I’m using Wunderlist now on iPad, Note 2, and Mac.

  4. Unless we’re given the option to turn them off, I’d put the App Store changes into the “Not So Good” category myself. Why? So often we see app updates that do nothing but simply add advertisements, who would want to update to that? Or app updates which are incredibly buggy, and do nothing but make the application worse.

    This is why I pick and choose which apps I update in the App Store now. If Apple removed this choice from us, it’d be a huge mistake.

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