Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
iOS7 thoughts

I am not the kind of person to try out operating systems in beta version. But neither am I somebody who only updates his operating system when absolutely forced to. So when iOS7 was released to everybody, and the reviews didn't report any major problems, I decided to update my iPad. That turned out to be a mistake. Basically I gained nothing much, and lost a lot of performance.

The most visible difference between iOS6 and iOS7 is that Apple completely changed the design of just about everything, including sounds. So if you knew how your icons looked like or what a specific "ding" was supposed to tell you, you'll have to relearn all of that. That includes changes to how things work, e.g. completely closing an app used to be done by pressing the icon in the list of running applications until it developed an X in the corner which could be touched to close the app; now that doesn't work any more, you need to swipe up the thumbnail of the window to close the app.

I don't really dislike the new look. Nor do I especially love it. But for somebody who is used to other operating systems which offer more choice in the look of the UI, I find the Apple approach sometimes somewhat rude. It is like as if somebody came to your house and redecorated it. It's not a question whether the new curtains are nicer than the old ones, it is a problem of somebody else taking that decision for you and not giving you any choice. You'll say I could not have updated to iOS7, but we all know that this would only be a temporary solution until I wanted some app requiring the new operating system version.

Where I have a bigger problem with iOS7 is that I have a 3rd generation iPad running on the A5X CPU. And that one is borderline too slow to run iOS7. As now there are lots of fancy animations which iOS6 didn't have. And so I frequently experience janking and lag that I never had with the old version. Even just typing text sometimes ends up lagging. Or I get some delay when searching for something in the App Store, resulting in an "can't connect" error message, and just doing the same search a second time fixes it. This definitely isn't the smooth Apple UI experience I am used to.

A solution would be to wait for the iPad 5 to come out, rumored for October 15, and having the much faster A7X CPU. But that feels like an evil marketing trick to me: Make a new OS that makes old iPads run badly so that you sell more of the new iPads. If it wasn't for the iOS7 lag, there wouldn't really be a good reason to buy a new iPad after only just over one year. It feels like as if now Apple has lost Steve Jobs, they don't make machines any more that people WANT to buy, and so they resort to evil tricks to make them buy those machines anyway.

I had the same problem with the iPhone3G. At some iOS release, the phone start to be sloooow. None of the following release change the problem until the iPhone3G is not longer supported.

I switch to Android - but I do not take a mainstream one, and this model is no longer updated. But at least it works !

I think my next smartphone will be a Nexus one or Windows Phone.

I haven't really noticed a slow-down on my iPad 3, although I don't doubt it is there. It certainly doesn't feel crippled to me though.
I have an iPad 2 and haven't noticed any lag on it since upgrading, but I really don't use it for anything more than casual browsing, Youtube, and Netflix, so maybe I'm just not really doing anything that stresses it.

I'm surprised that it's only now that you're seeing that Apple does planned obsolescence every couple of years though. The constant stream of changes to cable ports that aren't compatible with the older ones would be enough to drive me batty if I were truly "in the Apple platform." As it is, I mostly just support Apple at work and I've got several Apple-philes there and watching them go through the upgrade cycle an then have to buy all new cables every 2-3 years as well as keep upgrading their devices all the time is kinda funny.

The one that gets me is that the newer laptops don't even have ethernet ports forcing you to buy a Thunderbolt-to-ethernet adapter if you want to do any corporate-network type of stuff with them. Sure, you can go wireless after that initial connection, but you still have to have that wire for the 1st time at least.

But anyway, the point it that they've been doing it all along so you can't blame them for only just starting now that Jobs has died. Quite frankly I see it as pretty brilliant. People are hooked on the devices, always want the latest and greatest, so with the planned obsolescence of not only the devices but the cables as well. . . . The guys at work grumble about having to change things, but they love their Apple so they buy all the new stuff anyway.

My whife, who's a medic, uses her iPad and her iPhone all the day for both medical stuff and (most importantly) agenda, contacts and phone calls.

When she accessed the new agenda, which is basically a white sheet with red icons/buttons, she almost cried. She felt like someone accessed her stuff and destroyed everything. And... in some way I can understand here.

On a side note, my very personal advice is to abandon the iOS world and switch to Android. I made the jump one year ago and It just changed my daily life.
Similar experience, though there are two things that stand out:

eBay app - black screen, despite being "updated"

iCloud settings - connecting forever, so I had to disable them for the time being.

Otherwise, same laggy experience on iPad (retina) as Tobold's.
I have seen a lot of people online complaining iOS7 slowed their 3rd Gen iPad down but so far I have not noticed that on mine. Will have to keep an eye on it.
Well, that made up my mind on upgrading my iPad 2. Put me in the "will wait until forced" category now. Thanks for that tip.
Not sure what generation I have (the one with the retina), but I haven't noticed a lag. Haven't played with it too much. And do you mean deleting the program when you talk about the shaking X?

But that's just kind of computing, you know? They keep the software tuned to the recent product. A 5 year old computer isn't going to run Windows 8 as well as a new one.

I don't know if there is a way to backtrack to the last OS, but it's not like they forced you to upgrade.
I've heard the reduce motion setting can help a little. (Settings->General->Accessibility->Reduce Motion).
Can you downgrade again?
you have to see these tightly coupled devices on short(ish) release cycles as an almost-subscription scheme: if you don't pay your tithes ever 36 months, it will not work any more.

btw: MS and Google also run 24-36 month cycles ... and their competition even shorter ones (HTC/Moto).
I just see the mobile world as the PC world of a couple of decades ago.

It was Bill Gates who said hardware will be free (e.g. 2004) So when a market is growing so fast (both number of customers and the capabilities of the devices) then it makes sense for the manufacturers to spend their efforts on new features rather than optimizing to run on three year old machines with a quarter of the performance (TG Moore's law is working better in Mobile than PCs.) When the market is more mature, and the new features such minor improvements, companies can fight over how to save $0.25 so their plastic junk will sell at Walmart.

I bought a Nexus 7 just to have an Android device and it's fine but I significantly prefer iOS. It would frustrate me to wait after Google releases a new OS for the handset maker to get a new release and then the carrier to release it. In fact, if you have a non-stock Android (e.g. Samsung) then how many years old devices will run the latest Android OS without rooting?


The last week of iPhone sales were greater than the value of the Nokia or Blackberry company, so it looks like Apple can limp along for a while.

They had the old iPod 30-pin connector for 9-10 years before the new Lightning cable came out. This is longer than the lifespan of mini-B (approximately 7 years), which was used in portable devices prior to the current micro-B. It should also be noted that in USB 3.0, there's yet another a newer version of micro-B, so that's another ~7 year lifespan that's shorter than how long the 30-pin connector lived.

If there's an argument to be made against Apple, this isn't it.
Can you downgrade again?

That is the problem: The downsides of upgrading aren't exactly advertised, and then you can't downgrade again without jailbreaking your device.
I don't own any apple product but experienced the very same thing upgrading my cheap ass tablet (Cortex A8 cpu) from Android 2.3 to 4.0 regarding the video play back which was smooth before even for HD and now isn't. At least the UI is as fast as before.
A 5-year old computer won't run Windows 8 so well. Maybe so, but your old Windows 7 will run just about any standard PC software just fine. So will your old XP, if you still have one.

Windows supported 16-bit Windows 1.3 programs up until 64-bit came out. Say what you like, they've always done backward compatibility well up to now.
The lack of choice was a problem of Apple devices from the beginning.

Android fanboiz laugh gleefully.
The New York police are even promoting upgrading:

@gerry - Even back in 2004 Joel wrote about Microsoft moving away from its backwards compatibility religion

When a market becomes commoditized you just want the cheapest. When a market is mature, you want the choice ( Android.) When a market is new (e.g. iPod1 iPhone1 IPad1), you want a single integrated, designed for each other, hardware/software system - the way computers were originally sold by IBM and DEC.

But all the iOS7 news does highlight one of the real strengths of an ecoSystem: whereas there is a delay between Google releasing an OS, the hardware maker taking that and releasing their version and then the carrier deciding when they will get the upgrade out. Whereas Apple had 200 million people upgrade their OS in the first few days. Which generates far more attention than many release from many manufacturers spread out over time. Whereas the brand new Nexus 7 tablet with LTE - a very nice tablet - is not allowed to run on the largest US cell carrier, Verizon. The Moto X phone is quite nice but it was manufactured and sold by Google and it did not ship with the current version of Android.

I have an iPhone4 and decided to stick with iOS5 since I didn't really see anything worthwhile in the upgrades. My phone still seems slower lately and I haven't added much to it. I wonder if there's a way to make a device slower over time to force you to buy newer items you don't need.
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