Like most smart phones, the iPhone provides suggested words as you type a text message. Mostly this is useful, but occasionally the suggestions are strange. This example, from when I was texting my son to say that I didn’t need the mower brought over is simply macabre!
So the story is … at church Arthur manages to drop his car key down a hole in the floor where the speaker wires go, and the hole is so close to the wall that you can’t see down it, but using my iPhone camera and LED flashlight along with a hooked metal rod I was able to perform an operation to extract the key from the hole. The uses of an iPhone continue to amaze me.
I just updated to iOS 7.0.3 and iTunes 126.96.36.199, and while I like the fact that you can now turn off the dizzying animations of the start screen icons, syncing music is still problematic. The first time I plugged my iPhone into the computer after the update, iTunes copied to my iPhone 1143 items that were already on the phone.
As I mentioned in a previous post, since upgrading my iPhone 5 to iOS 7, synchronising using iTunes has become really buggy. Try googling “itunes sync hangs waiting for changes to be applied” and you’ll see I’m not alone.
A lot of the time, syncing happens fine, but sometimes it will do bizarre things. For example, I had a 10 track album where 7 of the tracks had just an “Artist” name entered in the song data, and 3 tracks had both “Artist” and “Album Artist” set to the same value. On my iPhone, the album only showed the 7 tracks where the “Album Artist” field was set. After clearing the “Album Artist” on all the tracks, the album then showed up correctly on the iPhone.
Also on random occasions, the sync process seems to hang at the “waiting for changes to be applied step” and then after about 20 minutes want to re-sync thousands of my songs to the iPhone for no apparent reason.
Previously in iOS 6 if I wanted to listen to a particular album by a particular artist I could tap on “artists” and see a list of artists going down the page. In iOS 7 I can still do that, but because of the album art, the screen only shows 4 artists at a time, so it takes a lot more scrolling to find the artist I want.
In iOS 6, having opened an artist, I saw a list of albums to choose from. Now in iOS 7 I see a list of every song from every album from that artist, which means that if the album I’m looking for is down the bottom of the list and requires lots of scrolling to get to.
Also the albums are sorted by release date, not alphabetically, so if the release dates are not set in the metadata or are set incorrectly then who knows what order the albums are in. If the release dates are set correctly, you have to know the release dates in order to know where in the list the album might be.
Then, in IOS 7 to play an album I can’t just tap on the album cover or album title (which would seem logical), I have to tap on the first track title, and then instead of playing just that album, the music app enters a playlist of every song by that artist, so that when the album finishes it just goes on to the next album. Also if I turn on shuffle, instead of just shuffling through the tracks on the one album, it will shuffle through all tracks by that artist.
I’ve been using iOS7 on my iPhone 5 for a couple of weeks now, and overall I’m not that pleased with it. There is nothing new that is of major use to me, there are few little niceties added, some things which are backward steps, a few interesting but useless things, and a some annoying bugs added.
Things I like about iOS7:
- The screen for turning on/off Cellular Data is one level higher up in the Settings hierarchy.
- The way in which you can switch between or close running apps after double clicking the Home button. I particularly like that you can close the app that you were currently viewing.
- In the camera, swiping left/right to change camera modes.
- In Safari:
- the method for viewing/switching between open tabs.
- having a unified URL/Search input box.
- Being able to slide anywhere on the lock screen to unlock.
- Being able to see the delivered timestamps on individual messages in the Message app by swiping to the left.
- Being able to open the “Spotlight” search from any home screen by swiping down.
- Calendar app: Infinitely scrolling view, and year view.
Things I don’t like about iOS 7:
- I’m not a fan of the new UI aesthetic. It’s bland and flat and boring. It looks like its been left out in the desert sun and faded. In some places the UI elements are hard to see because they have light gray on a white background. Also light gray on white icons gives the false impression that buttons are disabled. (e.g. in the Clock App) The UI looks like it was designed by the same people who designed the Microsoft Windows 8 UI. Yuck.
- Apple Maps still suck.
Things I’m ambivalent about in iOS 7:
- The slide up control panel. Yes its nice to be able to easily get to some settings like the flashlight and WiFi/Bluetooth toggling, but the setting I use the most is toggling Cellular Data on/off and that’s not there. But Airplane mode is there. Seriously, how often does the average user need to turn on airplane mode? Also, although I’m not keeping count it seems that I accidentally open the control panel about the same number of times that I intentionally open it to do something. I could do without this new feature
Cool but useless things in iOS 7:
- The 3D look on the home page and Safari tabs, where the perspective changes as you tilt the iPhone. Nice, but a battery drain, so I turned it off.
- Spirit level in the Compass App. Maybe one day I’ll have a need to use this and I’ll bump this item up into the “Like” section. I can’t envisage how or when.
- The Album wall in the Music App (that replaced Cover Flow). While its nice to be able to see more albums on the screen compared to Cover Flow, it’s still highly problematic in that it shows every bit of music you own. This means that a mediocre song that you download as the free Single of the Week gets the same prominence on the wall as your favourite album with a dozen classic tracks. It would be nice if the album wall only showed entries where you actually owned the complete album.
Major faults/bugs/problems in iOS 7:
- Synchronising of smart playlists doesn’t work reliably, in fact synchronising in general I’ve found to be pretty buggy.
- Smart playlists are not doing live updates on the iPhone, only when syncing via iTunes
- The way the Music App shows albums in the “Artists” section is just awful, a real backward step from iOS 6.
These major faults/bugs are all related to the music app, and I’ll deal with them more fully in separate posts, including some workarounds that I’ve found.
So in summary, with iOS 7 the Apple Overlord giveth, but the Apple Overlord has also taken away. There’s not a whole lot to praise here, and in retrospect I would have been quite happy to stay on iOS 6.
I’ve updated my iPhone 5 to iOS 6.0.2 this afternoon and it has fixed the problem I was having with wifi connectivity at home. Yay. Prior to the update the wifi connection kept dropping out and I kept having to go into settings to re-establish it. Now the connection is rock solid.
I’ve not noticed any increase in battery drain that some users are complaining about after an update to 6.0.2.
[This content was originally posted to Google+]