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iOS 7 Lands With A Thud

iOS 7 arrived today and having had a full day to see how it handles I found some interesting conflicts.

Some reviewers are saying that the update is like getting a whole new phone. All I can say is that they are either incredibly easily impressed or have never tried any of the competing platforms.

The update falls into two different deliverables: a new look and new functionality.

The former is going to be a matter of personal opinion. For my part I think the overall look is an improvement and the UI changes - buttons and menus for example are aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand some of the new icons are poor. Your opinion might vary.

The new features however, don't really deliver on the promise of the launch material.

The new notification panel sports a Today panel. And there's now a Control Centre which offers quick access to some important settings. But it also has some that shouldn't be there and because of a bizarre design decision which means that the window doesn't run to full screen the whole thing feels awfully cramped and fussy.

l can't tell you how Airdrop works as only iPhone 5 users get access and all those around me have 4 or 4S versions (a commentary on iPhone sales in New Zealand in itself). The fact that it probably won't integrate with the future Mac OS X version further reduces its utility. Despite the snide comment about NFC at WWDC I think in any environment where you aren't already associated with most attendees then NFC would be a far more useful technology to have on board.

Siri has allegedly seen some improvements - access to new search engines and the ability to control some hardware functions amongst them - but thus far the performance has been just as erratic as in iOS 6.

For the rest, Safari has seen the biggest change, better use of screen real estate and gesture control.

There are other changes - some of which are more visible than others - but overall the feel of the iPhone is preserved.

And therein lies the problem, its still an iPhone, loathe it or love it. The changes don't address the issues of flexibility when compared to Android phones and iOS still looks terribly dated in comparison to Windows Phone, abandoned skeumorphism and all.

So if you loved the iPhone before you'll find a lot more to enjoy. And if you didn't get on with it before there's nothing in here that's going to make you a fan.