Well, as expected, excepting for the regular bug fixes, not much has changed. iOS 7 B2 still has the same eye jarring UI and the overall bad and inconsistent UX. All of the earlier flaws in the UI/UX remain as they were. The Apple “maps” disaster also remains intact.
This time around, I updated the iOS 6 on my iPhone 5 instead of a fresh restore to check out what else I could find. To my surprise, Find my iPhone works from a secondary iCloud account even though there is no such option in that iCloud account under Settings.
Some more apps now work with B2. The text fitting issues seem to be fixed for the most part. I was able to receive a call on Skype right after the update, but, it crashed when the call ended and I have not been able to get Skype to work after that. A re-install fixed Skype. Viber lost it’s authentication for some reason, but, works after a re-authentication.
The panorama mode of the camera still works only in the vertical mode.
I can no longer update apps from multiple ID apps from the AppStore on the iPhone. It forces a switch to the other store before one can update. So, all is not as it seems with the Auto-Update “feature” as it breaks earlier functionality.
Notifications are still dicey. No push for GMail accounts so far forcing the use of another app just to get GMail notifications.
Still no photos in contacts, only in the favourites. The contacts still take up far more space to display the same information as before, not to mention the fact that the layout does look ugly by comparison.
The notes get synced, so, this is one bug fixed. The calendars remain as they were…un-usable. The “Slide to Unlock” with nothing to “Slide” remains as also the extremely bad colour combinations. The folders also remain as they were, showing a lot less and taking far more space than iOS 6. I also tried B2 on an iPhone 4 and it was exceptionally sluggish.
Overall, the major issues of the UI/UX and the so called Apple “maps” remain as they were. The control centre still does not have a “Home” or “Lock Device” button or any options to add your own controls and therefore a button-less experience still does not exist. On the other hand, a lot of attention seems to have gone into the enterprise side for better device management.
When people said that Apple has lost the talent or will to innovate, I often wondered if Apple lost only that. I think Apple lost the vision, direction and the leadership that brought it to the level where it is today. Innovation was just one of the components of the overall picture. A company identified and known for it’s design, comes up with the worst possible, eye jarring, “design” today.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that if Apple keeps coming up with multiple devices, the downtrend, along with all of the above points would be more than confirmed. So far we see only incremental updates and more devices. The iPad mini was the first such example. While this approach would carry the current momentum for some more time, it cannot really last. Apple already has issues with iCloud and iTunes. As the scale increases with the number of devices, one has to wonder if Apple can really keep it all working and retain the seamless experience.
Although we are still a few months and betas away from a formal release of iOS 7, given the state of B2, I still have hope and will reserve my judgement for some more time…perhaps, even till the formal release.