iOS 7 on older hardware: you should wait

I upgraded my 8gb iPhone 4 to iOS 7 when it released.  In the few days since the upgrade, however, I have experienced some anomolies with the upgrade. First off, it seems the NASCAR app is not compatible as it locked up the phone. I had to reset it to use it again.  While this may not be an issue for you, bear in mind that there will be apps that may not work or work well with iOS 7.

Next, while trying to setup one of the gestures, the OS started ‘scanning’ the screen, presenting options at each widget. The screen then became unresponsive.  After holding down the power and home buttons, I was able to reset the phone. Unfortunately, the touchscreen became unresponsive after about ten to twenty seconds.  I decided to restore the phone, but, because I have ‘find my iPhone’ enabled, I was unable to reset it with out turning off that feature.  Now, will someone tell me why it is this way? Yeah, I suppose it is a security ‘feature’, but, if my phone becomes unresponsive, how the hell am I supposed to fix it? Go to an Apple store?

Anyway, after twenty or so minutes and repeated restarts, I was able to close a few apps and get the phone responsive again.  There has to be a better way.  This process was enough to make me want to pull a Scott Bourne and toss the phone into the river.

While some Apple supplied apps are a bit faster, overall, however, this upgrade is akin to running Windows Vista on a machine designed for Windows 2000 or early XP: you might get it to work, but it won’t be pretty. There are so many features in iOS 7 that simply do not work on this earlier device I have to wonder why they thought it was a good idea. 

I know there are millions of iPhone 4 devices out there and those owners would be ticked (I would, I know) but, sometimes, things are better off left alone, like iPhone 4.  I am glad that Apple finally put it to rest, they should do that to the 4S as well.

This experience has, more than anything else, made me want to ditch the iPhone altogether now. I won’t go back to Android, that’s for sure.  I had given a fleeting thought to a Blackberry Z10, but, with their recent news and woe, I want a Windows Phone even more now.

Desire aside, other issues with the upgrade, for me, include confusing settings, the control center-which does not always popup- and animations that are just in the way.

If you have an older iPhone, a 4 or 4S, you may wish to wait for the inevitable ‘point’ release, which, I am sure, will be soon.  If you simply must upgrade, do so with caution. Make sure you back up first. And, good luck!a

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iOS 7 Upgrade: good, bad and worth it

IMG_2469Apple released iOS 7 today and reviews seem to be mixed.  I downloaded and installed the new OS and, myself, have mixed feelings about it.  Overall, I like the changes, but some are a bit on the childish side, like the choice of colors on the home screen icons. However, the typography is outstanding. It is very Windows 8 like, which I like.

So, what’s changed? Well, pretty much everything.  From the unlock screen to the settings panels to the App Store. One thing that is better is that the interface is a bit more consistent than the original interface.  The fonts, which are now adjustable, are more consistent and are, well, gorgeous.  Some of the changes appear to be there for the sake of change, like the keypad keys being round. Serves no real purpose to make them round.

Installing the upgrade was a long and tedious task. Downloading it was IMG_2461easy, but the install was long.  I was forced, about a third of the way in, to restart it but, once restarted, it took about an hour. During that time, of course, the phone was useless (and five rounds of Call of Duty helped with the boredom.) Once installed, I had to go through the awful setup again.  Funny thing, though, some of the questions it was asking, it already had the answers for, so I was a bit confused as to why it was necessary. I suppose it was just part of the normal install process, but I would think it could have checked and moved on. Be aware, however, the install requires 2.9 GIGABYTES, which is quite a problem for those of us with 8GB devices. Thanks to Apple, though, I was able to remove some apps and photos, install the upgrade and then restore the apps and copy the photos back that I wanted to stay on the phone.

IMG_2473The Fisher Price like home pages are just awful, though I found making the background one of the gradients helps the eyesore a bit.  As I have an iPhone 4, I do not see the parallax animation that Apple made such a big deal about during the iOS 7 reveal. In fact, many of the cooler features are missing because the phone is a 4. 

As iOS 4 is a hodgepodge of ideas taken from other operating systems, there are a few things that stand out, such as the new task switchIMG_2461er/killer. The card concept, lifted right out of webOS, the best phone/tablet OS out there. This, along with the typography, is what makes iOS 7 worth the upgrade. To use the feature, double tap the home button and then flick from left to right to see the cards. Each card represents a running application.  To activate that application. tap the card. To kill it, flick it up and the app is killed. Simple.

IMG_2461The Apple supplied applets are vastly improved. The calendar is far more useful, mail is nicer and the App Store is very nice.  They all seem faster too, thought the speed increase could be due to the new OS install.

Overall, it is a step up but, like Windows 8, it is a dramatic change from previous iterations and will not be well received from many out there.  Like Windows 8, I think the biggest complaints will be for the home screens. I also think that by the time iOS 8 rolls, this will be a dated look and will be changed again and the haters will claim victory.

Go over to the Verge or CNET to read much more in depth reviews, complete with screen shots and video.

Tech Nerdvana: Xbox One, PS 4 and iOS 7

It’s been a big few days in the world of tech and for geeks like us.  Microsoft showed off more of the follow up to both Windows 8 and the XBOX 360, Apple unveiled iOS 7 and Sony shows off its me-too prowess with an unveiling of the PS4. Me too seems to be the prevailing train of thought for all three companies: elements of each other’s tech and that of other companies have made it into each of these products.  There’s even a nostalgic flare to some of them.

I have already talked about some of the changes to Windows 8, so I’ll talk about. No, I will talk about the XBOX One, iOS 7 and a little PS4.

First, however, lets get iOS out of the way. 

iOS7webOSMultitaskAs it is from Apple, it has already been ably covered here and here. However, I want to through my two and half cents in as well.  So…here goes…

First, from what I’ve seen, it looks fantastic. They have taken the better parts of the current flavor of iOS, mixed in some Windows Phone/Windows 8 and even a bit of webOS.  The operating system appears to be a little more customizable, though not much more. It has a flatter, cleaner appearance and, best of all, it is backward compatible all the way back to the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and iPod Touch gen 4.

One of the more frustrating aspects of iOS is its poor multitasking. Well, it looks like that has finally been rectified by borrowing a page from the webOS playbook. Multitasking is handled more like the ‘cards’ feature of Palm’s webOS. You get a horizontal scrolling view of the open apps and you can then flick through them from side to side and flick up to dismiss an app. This is pretty much how webOS handled it.iTunesRadio

One of the more vaunted services that Apple fankids have wanted (though they poo-poo the notion from others) is some kind of Zune like subscription service. Well, Apple unveiled its iTunes Radio, an ad supported free Pandora like service. It will be available on all iOS 7 devices. An ad free version is available to iTunes Match customers.

There are other interesting aspects of iOS 7, like some of the photography related features (filters, better panoramics and more. Hit up one of the links above to find out more. 

I have to admit, I am actually looking forward to upgrading my iPhone 4 to this version of iOS.

Apple also showed a bit of its ridiculously named OS X Mavericks.  Not much to say, other than the AirPlay capability of adding a large screen TV as a second or THIRD display via Apple TV looks pretty nice.  APPLE.COM has more on the new OS and the complete keynote by Tim Cook and company.

Now, onto the video games.

E3 started and, with it, the two big keynotes from Microsoft and Sony.  I’m going to be brief with both, especially Sony, but want to hit what I think are the highlights.

First, lets just get Sony out of the way.

They ‘revealed’  PS4 waaaaay back in FEBRUARY. However, they really didn’t say too terribly much and did not even show off the hardware. They talked games and showed the controller. This time, they were more revealing. The console was on display and…it’s very similar to the XBOX ONE. Yep. SO, it seems both companies have taken a page from the 1970’s consumer electronics design playbook (which lived well into the 1980’s) and came up with retro designs, sans the faux wood. Hey, that might make the PS 4 look a little better.

Ok, Ok, enough ragging on Sony (it’s so much fun.)  This time, however, PS 4 looks a little interesting. The style and the guts are, dare I say, pretty cool…

Inside, you will find a beast of a machine:

  • An eight-core X86 AMD Jaguar CPU ps4
  • 1.84-teraflop AMD Radeon graphics engine
  • 8GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Hard-drive storage (not SSD)
  • Blu-Ray drive
  • Three USB 3.0 ports
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • optical audio and analog AV out

Sony says there will be no restrictions on used games and you will not be required to ‘phone home’ like you will on XBOX at least once a day to play your games…the games that you bought either on disk or download.

The graphics from this monster look impressive and the game line up looks equally impressive. Oh, and the most impressive part? The retail price is going to be…$399.  Ummm…Microsoft…

Speaking of Microsoft

xboxoneMicrosoft unveiled the XBOX One several weeks prior to E3. The hardware looks great, the entertainment features look great, it is based on Windows and is, essentially, a beast Windows computer. Don’t let that fool you, this thing does not work like your standard desktop. Boasting three operating systems (XBOX OS for the games, Windows 8 kernel for the entertainment and apps and a controller to keep the two working together. It wants to be your internet appliance, your video game console and your entertainment and set top cable box. A bit ambitious, yes.

The games, like PS 4, look stunning.  Fluid motion, realistic water and fire (something that is difficult to do) and consistently high frame rates. But, with all of the goodness, come the badness…

The console requires that it be online at least once a day (in and of itself, not much of an issue since you will likely have it connected to your home network anyway) and the there are a ton of restrictions on games once you acquire them: can only be given away once, publishers get to decide if the games can be resold, etc. Rather draconian. And, then there is the price: equally monstrous at $499. And, with these two downsides (price, game restrictions) I think it likely that Microsoft just handy Sony the ‘win’ for the next gen consoles.

As much as it may pain me to say it, I’m thinking I might be inclined to get a PS 4 long before an XBOX ONE…if at all.