Number one: got there in the end
I have been using iOS 7.1 in beta form for some time now so the official release on Monday did not offer much in the way of changes for me. Even in beta, I have experienced no crashes, from version 3 onwards, and no more restrings which were present in 7.0. It has felt snappier than before and for the past few weeks I have been in a state where the system has worked very well indeed.
Battery life has improved markedly, I’m not sure why, to the point that I can reach 4pm with more than 60% power remaining and Siri now works every single time for me- it is quick and always responds in good time. Even better, voice dictation is stunningly fast and the accuracy always impresses me.
The shift / caps lock key is still somewhat strange in how it is designed, but I would be splitting hairs to make a big deal of it. But then again I am left splitting hairs because of how iOS 7 has grown since it was originally launched in a blaze of needless zooming and strangely coloured panels. The subtle changes have been added one by one until we reach what is iOS 7.1 today, an operating system which is incredibly smooth, reliable and which ‘just works’.
There have been some mis-steps with iOS 7 and some of the initial design choices were ridiculous, but we are where we are now and it is a good place to be for iPhone and iPad users. Some still see a multitude of improvements that could be made, as do I, which include a larger screen, more flexibility and all of the other niggles that have travelled with Apple over the years, but it is hard to argue that what we have now is not a stunningly reliable and effective mobile operating system. And that is why it is still my platform of choice.
Number two: longevity
In June 2010 Samsung released the Galaxy S (Android 2.3.3), Sony Ericsson released the Xperia X10 Mini (Android 2.1) and HTC released the Wildfire (Android 2.3.3). The OS versions in brackets represent the official latest Android version available from each manufacturer. You can get newer versions, but almost all require rooting which the average person would likely not do.
In June 2010 Apple released the iPhone 4 which has just received a major performance boost in iOS 7.1. I felt that Apple stretched the limits of the 4 with iOS 7 and witnessed friends and colleagues struggle with slower speeds and less than responsive screen taps. It still wasn't awful, but was a million miles away from what would normally be expected on any iPhone. Over the past 24 hours I have had reports exclaiming that the iPhone 4 feels like new again and that it is now as usable as would be expected.
The comparison between Android versions and iOS is in some ways easy to argue, but of all the phones on the market today I am struggling to find anything close to the near 4 year old iPhone 4 that can still run the latest operating system from its manufacturer. And the fact that I know a few people who still use the iPhone 4 every day and who bought theirs when they were fairly new is testament to the build quality and longevity on offer. It reminds me of my old boss at work who last year was still using a MacBook from 2006 at home almost every day. He had changed the battery and that was it in 7 years of use.
The fact that iOS 7.1 is so smooth now is impressive, but the fact that it can run with most features in place on an iPhone 4 is even more so. We can knock Apple for many things, but I don't believe longevity is one of them.