Thoughts on iOS 7...
So Apple released the final build of iOS 7 a week ago. Since then, a handful of people have asked me what I think about it, and whether or not they should update. This doesn't come as much of a surprise to me, because iOS 7 has been somewhat controversial ever since Apple gave the world a sneak peek several months ago.
The most polarizing aspect of the new OS is, of course, its new look. I have to admit -- when I first saw screenshots on Apple's site after it was initially announced, I had mixed feelings. And I still do. While I think that the new home screen icons could have been a bit more polished and consistent (hey, Mobile Safari, I'm looking at you!), I've begun to warm up to the rest of the overall look-and-feel. It feels much cleaner, especially once you move beyond the home screen into apps like Mail, Safari, Calendar, Weather, etc. Third-party apps that haven't been updated yet are already starting to feel old, crufty, and out-of-place after a couple of weeks.
Even moving past the visual changes, there's a lot to like in iOS 7. Quick access to commonly used functions like Airplane Mode, WiFi, brightness, etc. through the Control Center has already become an indispensable feature for me, and I've relegated the Settings icon to my last home screen since I almost never need it anymore. The new multi-tasking app switcher is a significant improvement over the little row of icons that iOS 6 had. Peer-to-peer file sharing through AirDrop is super-easy to use, and the only thing that baffles me about it is that Apple hasn't made it compatible with the AirDrop feature in Mac OS X (...a Mavericks feature, maybe?). The ability to natively block spam text messages and unwanted calls from telemarketers is another welcome addition. The new Mobile Safari app is so good that I haven't felt the need to re-download Chrome from the App Store. The list of improvements and little tweaks goes on and on, and it's actually fun to discover them as you poke around all the corners of the new OS after you've upgraded.
On the flip side, there are also annoyances (besides the aforementioned home screen icon blues). For me, the biggest one relates to poor use of animation effects -- I honestly believe that Apple went overboard with the fade-in effect when turning on the phone, and the icons-flying-in effect when the device is unlocked. It looked kinda cool the first few times, but now I just want the effects to get out of the way so that I can actually start using my phone faster. I really hope that Apple tones this down in the next update; it happened with the "genie effect" on OS X, so I'm hoping they'll learn from this mistake too.
So, should you update then? I'd say yes, absolutely, but realize that things may not be perfect. Give the visual changes a couple of weeks to sink in and let them grow on you. Once you're past that, the rest of it is pretty great. :)