Before I begin let me start by saying I have owned every Apple iPhone since the introduction of the 3Gs many moons ago. I switched over to Android a year ago after iOS became stale and boring for me. I have since stuck with Android as my primary home and ecosystem for all of my mobile devices (Apple still dominates my home). So after the introduction of the iPhones 5s I figured I really didn't need to try iOS again. I thought maybe it would be the same thing with a fresh coat of paint, but the techy in me continued to urge me to give iOS7 a spin in it’s newest and most optimal condition on the iPhone 5s. So on a whim I picked up an iPhone 5s today fresh out of the box. Here is my first and last impression of iOS and this device
Out of the box
So as expected when I opened the box I was greeted with a beautiful piece of hardware. It looked the same as it’s predecessors but had a half-inch added to the screen so you know that helped. Still the phone looked dated to me, maybe it’s because this was the same design I left behind a year ago. Not to say the phone wasn’t nice, but after awhile even a Porsche begins to look dated if you stare at the same design year after year. Anyway, I took the phone out of the box and booted it up, entered my iCloud information and was very pleased to see that Apple had not forgotten my previous purchases I made over the years. So I went on ahead and began the business of downloading my usual go to applications, Alien Blue, Google Applications, Flipboard. So far so good and yes the fingerprint scanner works well as long as your fingers aren't soiled or sweating.
Navigating the known unknown
So let me start by saying I actually feel like the Play Store is easier to navigate than Apple’s App Store. Maybe I’m just becoming that old man that likes things handed to me, but the App Store felt cluttered and the way the apps were categorized just felt off. Now I'm not saying its bad, it’s just different and I feel like the search option in the Play Store is superior to that of Apples App Store (But this is Google we are talking about here). So when I put the term “RSS” in the App Store the first five results are actual RSS apps. But then I get things like Hangman, Alarm Clock, Vodio etc. The Play Store gives me 100+ results that were all Newsreaders or RSS apps with no mistakes (Don’t believe me try it for yourself).
Then there’s the Control Center, which I think, is great and it operates terrifically with iOS7. But then they jack it up with the new Notifications shade which shows me the date, weather and some calendar events but doesn't allow me to interact with them or swipe away notifications individually WHY APPLE, WHY?
- The camera is very good. I don’t know what some other reviewers are looking at but to me the Z1, Note 3 and G2 cameras poo-poo on the iPhone 5s camera. This is not saying that its not a terrific camera, I’m just saying it’s not as REVOLUTIONARY as some people would have you believe.
- This phone is smooth and fast. Everything boots quickly and the speed in which the camera can snap an HDR shots puts every other smartphone I’ve used to shame (Yes that includes the ones above). iOS has its trademark smoothness, but it’s not as smooth as iOS6 there are still jitters and actual micro freezing here and there. It doesn't happen often but when it does you notice it.
- The phone charges FAST! I love that. Even though the phone may not have the battery life of some other phones out there you can still throw this bad boy on the charger in your car or in your home for about a half-hour and literally have enough juice to go do whatever it is you have to do.
Did you notice everything positive I had to say about this phone was about THE PHONE and not iOS7?
- Instability, I can’t believe I am writing this while talking about an Apple product. My iPhone crashed 4 times in 4 hours I counted the crashes while I was bowling with my family. When it wasn't crashing it operated in typical iOS fashion, which is very good.
- Inconsistency, I know some other reviewers have covered this in the past but I think it begs repeating. This OS is very inconsistent in it’s design and this problem is exacerbated by all the apps in the App Store that have not updated their apps to match the Apple design standard (GOOGLE). I could go on a rampage about how bad Hangouts, G+ and Play Music are functionally but I won’t. If you have used these services on Android you will find them unbearable on iOS and the fact that Hangouts keeps bringing up the old iOS keyboard is enough to make me want to throw my mouse at the Google Hangouts team for iOS (FIX IT!). If it’s not the keyboard, it’s things like the G+ app where I still have to fully type out +Brian Healy to friggin mention him in a post. Or better yet how about that arrow and cog on the top of any post I want to comment on. So to go back I could tap that arrow or I could just swipe backward (something not pointed out by the app). Then there’s that Cog, I tap that and it allows me to Mute post Report etc. But when you're coming from Android where you have that universal BACK button or the three dots settings button the interface is not intuitive and simply gets in the way. Other apps suffer the same fate of the old keyboard and back buttons that may or may not take you back to where you thought they would.
- Screen Size, do I really need to say it? The screen on this device is just to damn small. I don’t have hammer thumbs but my productivity and ability to see objects on the screen let alone type anything plummeted the minute I started trying to do anything worthwhile on this device. I was browsing Alien Blue (Because I love Reddit) and even with the fonts turned to Medium it’s small. If you increase it to large it begins to look a little stupid, this is because the screen of the device is just too small and your trying to jam pack content on to a screen that doesn’t have the real-estate to support it.
So I would like to take a moment to dispel some common myths about iOS vs Android. In my opinion Android has caught up and even surpassed iOS in some instances when it comes to Smartphone applications. Android has a long way to go from a tablet perspective though. iOS still has a better helping of indy applications that are beautifully designed, but because of the limitations Apple has placed on iOS you will find that most of the big brand apps simply function better on Android while looking the same as they do on iOS. This is because Android allows apps to talk to each other and integrate if needed, iOS does not, each app is it’s own island (and boy can that be felt across the board). Despite what people say; I actually find Apples keyboard deplorable, but again this may be because I have used other keyboards on Android. Even Google’s keyboard is light-years ahead of Apples and on Android it’s only average. My experience in just this short time has shown me something that I wouldn’t have realized two years ago. When you build a wall around something, the only voices you hear in that walled garden are your own. This approach may give you a leg up with regard to making system wide changes quickly, but it does nothing to help you innovate and move forward.
If you have a room of 24 people and you don’t allow any other voices to contribute to that discussion you end up in an echo chamber inevitably believing your own hype with no voice of descent to bring you back to reality. Your ideas only have the input of 24 and those 24 will eventually run out of ideas. If you have an open forum where anyone can contribute, the ideas are limitless. Android has its flaws but one thing I have learned that I previously didn't appreciate was the power of open source and the freedom of innovation it brings. In the Android community we can reach out to a developer and request a change, that developer can then place that change in their app, put it into a G+ community to have everybody test it and then decide if they want to roll that out to the Play Store. Likewise, they can simply make the change and provide you the APK. This can be done in mere hours, the App Store doesn't allow for this type of collaboration. People always talk about fragmentation and Android; or the Wild West that is the Play Store. I would rather live with that than not have those fresh ideas and one off developers who build something that was originally built for them because no app was in the Play Store that could perform that function and was later adopted by the community as something great for everyone like Tasker, Amber Reader and many others.
So what did I learn tonight? I learned that regardless of how long or short this experiment may be, I know that at this point there is nothing that iOS has to offer me that it didn’t already offer 2 years ago. This simple truth actually saddens me and makes me hopeful that Apple pulls one hell out of a rabbit out of their hat this year. As for many others and myself they are no longer the frontrunner in the mobile space and tragically the news hasn't been delivered over the wall yet.
I know this was long, but thanks for reading.
Trudy Muller, spokesperson for Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirmed reports that a major security vulnerability is present in iPhones and iPads were also present on its Mac notebooks and desktops powered by the OSX operating system."
- Android (just using it as a semi-power user is so fun)
- Scuba diving (Advanced Open Water Diver)
- Photography (although I'm still very new in this) - Canon 550D
- Travelling: Especially to countries with big landscapes and cold weather. Recent trips to Malaysia, New Zealand
- Nanyang Technological UniversityPhD on Sustainable Earth, 2013 - present
- Nanyang Technological UniversityPhysics and Applied Physics (Hons), 2009 - 2013Bachelor of Science, Applied Physics
- Innova Junior CollegeGCE 'A' Levels, 2005 - 2006Physics, Mathematics and Computing
- Femtosecond Dynamics LaboratoryPhD Candidate, 2010 - present
- Singapore Armed Forces, Republic of Singapore NavyNSF, 2007 - 2009
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