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.
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?
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