iOS 7 Review Roundup

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It’s been over three months since iOS 7 got its first unveiling at WWDC, and in just a couple of hours, it will be made available to the public. It’ll be completely free to download — no matter which iOS device you’re using — and Apple’s confident it will quickly become the world’s most popular mobile operating system.

iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the original iPhone, introducing a colorful new design for the first time, and bringing lots of new features — including Control Center, improved multitasking and Notification Center, iTunes Radio, and AirDrop.

So should you be rushing to download and install it on your iOS devices as soon as it becomes available, or can you wait until all the fuss has died down? Well, we’ll be bringing your our review in stages over the course of the coming days, but to help make your decision super simple, we’ve trawled through the biggest and best iOS 7 reviews out this week and put together a helpful roundup.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 16.21.46According to The Next Web’s Martin Bryant, iOS 7 helps Apple’s mobile operating system overtake its competition yet again:

iOS 7 brings Apple’s mobile operating system up to par with the competition in most of the areas that it had started to lag behind, and pushes it far ahead in others. There really is nothing that looks anywhere near as good as this out there. It strikes a fair balance between end-user satisfaction, the needs of developers and Apple’s own interests.

Sure, some will still prefer the flexibility of Android or the look and feel of Windows Phone, but Apple has its own, highly successful approach and it’s sticking to it. Users upgrading today will likely have the same negative initial reaction as many beta users did – the new look takes time to get used to but it’s a significant improvement over iOS 6. iOS 7 is a bold leap forward that puts Apple on the right track for the next few years as mobile devices become ever more important to our lives.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch agrees that iOS 7 “takes some getting used to,” but he also feels that it’s a vast improvement, and that it will enhance the user experience on Apple’s mobile devices:

There’s a lot more going on in iOS 7, including new sounds, dynamic wallpapers, changes to the design of Calendar, Notes, Reminders and more, but the big shifts that go beyond new design are those listed above. There’s no question that iOS 7 will be a dramatic change from the iOS many users already know and love, but on balance it’s an update packed with plenty of new features that make using Apple’s mobile devices easier and more enjoyable.

“iOS 7 brings Apple’s mobile operating system up to par with the competition in most of the areas that it had started to lag behind, and pushes it far ahead in others.”

Time’s Harry McCracken calls iOS 7 “the most sweeping makeover Apple has ever given its mobile software,” but he’s a little disappointed there aren’t more customization options for those who want them. In the end, though, McCracken feels this update brings lots of useful functionality:

Visually, iOS 7 is so overwhelmingly new that you might slip into the assumption that it’s short on substance. And as usual with iOS upgrades, operating-system junkies will have a list of features they’re sorry Apple didn’t add. (Me, I wish it allowed for more customization — such as the ability to pick something other than Safari as the default browser — and made the on-screen keyboard smarter.) Actually, though, there’s lots that’s new — none of it revolutionary, but much of it awfully handy.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 16.25.23You’ll notice that there’s a recurring theme here; most reviewers agree that iOS 7 is a little difficult to get used to at first, but they also concur that it’s most definitely worth it. Everyone loves the new features — particularly Control Center and the Notification Center improvements, as well as slightly smaller changes like the parallax wallpapers and the ability to pack over 100 apps into a folder.

Macworld’s Dan Moren loves how all these changes make iOS 7 feel new and unfamiliar again:

In my opinion, there’s a lot to love about iOS 7, even with its rough edges. As third-party apps start to be built around its new capabilities and embrace its new design, I think there will be even more to recommend it to users. But for now, it’s clear which way the wind is blowing, and even if you hold off upgrading to iOS 7 today (or this week), its arrival on your iOS devices is inevitable.

So, kick back and relax. Pump some jams from iTunes Radio, fiddle around with Control Center, browse through your photos and relive some memories. Because iOS 7’s greatest triumph is making the familiar feel a little unfamiliar to us, affording us anew that joy of discovery and wonder—and you rarely get a chance to experience something again for the first time.

Ars Technica is famous for its thorough reviews, and Andrew Cunningham’s doesn’t disappoint. You’ll find six lengthy pages that cover iOS 7 and all of its new features in-depth, and even check out its benchmarks. But to summarize, Cunningham feels iOS 7 gives developers a great chance to redesign their apps, and that it remains an “excellent operating system”:

iOS remains an excellent operating system. Day-one availability of the update for all supported devices remains unparalleled in any other mobile OS. Developers who want to start using iOS 7-specific features can begin using them much sooner if they can assume that the software will make it out to most current users in short order, and this will keep the iOS software ecosystem vibrant. Version 7.0 has some new-release wrinkles that are going to need to be ironed out (battery life, occasional iPad stability problems, and iPhone 4 lagginess are the biggest issues), but Apple is typically good about identifying and addressing these kinds of problems.

“After the iPhone in 2007 and webOS in 2009, I wondered often and out loud what would be next. It’s this. iOS 7 is what’s next.”

iMore’s Rene Ritchie also goes into great detail in his iOS 7 review, and concludes that while iOS 7 is “messy around the edges,” it’s still “damn good”:

I’ve been using iOS 7 since June, through all the betas, on all my main devices. I know from its messy. But it’s also damn good. Excellent even. It’s also computationally expensive in a way that will be non-trivial for the competition to match, especially when paired with the equally forward thinking new Apple A7 chipset in the iPhone 5s. That’s good for us, because when competition is hardest, the results are the best. Case in point.

After the iPhone in 2007 and webOS in 2009, I wondered often and out loud what would be next. It’s this. iOS 7 is what’s next.

So, there you have it. iOS 7 will feel a little strange at first, and it might take you a week or two to completely get used to it. But when you do, you’ll love its incredible new design and all of the improvements Apple has made throughout the operating system. You’ll also love it’s new features, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them for the past six years.

Whether you stay in tonight just to update your iOS devices, or leave it until the weekend, is up to you, but after reading these reviews and trying out iOS 7 myself for the past three months, I know I couldn’t wait a day longer to get my hands on it — it really is that good.

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About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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