Gadget Guy: iOS 7 Review

July 20, 2013

I’ve been beta testing iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 since it was first announced in June. It has been great to be a beta tester, and overall, I’ve been very impressed with the new operating system. There are a few things I think Apple still needs to tweak or improve upon—like the background color of folders on the home screen—but for the most part, this is the best version of iOS ever released and it is certainly a dramatic change from the previous iterations. I’ve already adjusted to the new iOS. My wife is still on iOS 6 and whenever I need to use her iPhone for something it definitely feels like taking a step backwards.
Call Blocking
There have been several key changes and they have certainly been discussed and debated all over the blogosphere. I’ll try and discuss a few of the more hidden features that have been some pleasant surprises to me. The best “hidden” feature that I have found so far is call-blocking. I happen to really like myiPhone Call Blocking cell phone number—it was given to me over 10 years ago and in that time I have refused to change it. I’ve switched providers a few times and even had to wrestle it away from a corporate account when I left a company years back. The downside to showing that kind of loyalty (okay, maybe stubbornness) to a phone number is that a LOT of telemarketers seem to have discovered it. I get 2-4 calls per day from telemarketers. It has basically caused me to never answer my phone if I don’t know who is calling. With the new call-blocking feature though, I can easily block those numbers right in my call history page and never worry about hearing from them again. Since I started using this feature I’ve noticed a significant drop in the amount of unwanted calls I receive.

 iMessage Time Stamps
Another less-known feature I’ve used much more than I ever imagined I would is timestamps in iMessage. I love iMessage. I use it on my phone, my iPad and even on my computer. It’s very nice to be able to text my wife directly from my computer and then walk away and see a response on my iPhone. I’ve always loved the layout of messages in iOS and the way they present the history of your conversation. The downside is not knowing what time each message was sent. Past versions have provided a timestamp for a group of messages but sometimes that could span up to an hour. With iOS 7 it just takes a simple swipe towards the left and you immediately see the time that each individual message was sent. This will certainly prove handy when referencing conversations.
iMessage Timestamp
Panoramic Wallpaper
One other feature that I love—even though it provides no other value than just being really cool—is the ability to set a Panoramic picture as your wallpaper. The reason this is so much fun is because the phone will show the image in full size, which lets you move the device around in a circle and see the entire image move dynamically across your screen. It is very simple to do, just navigate to the “Choose Wallpaper” option in the Settings and select the Panoramic picture you prefer. I’ve found myself taking a lot more panoramas, and trying to find the perfect places to take them, than I ever used to just so I can update my wallpaper.
Panoramic Wallpaper
Overall this is the best mobile operating system I’ve ever used and I’m excited for it to keep getting better. Let us know in the comments what features you are most excited about using.