iOS 8.0.2 – Extremely buggy and slow – Best Avoided for now…

Apple has pushed out yet another un-tried and un-tested release for iOS 8. There are too many issues to list out here. 8.0.1 worked better on the iPhone 5.

For starters though, FaceTime appears to be quite broken in different ways and combinations. Extremely laggy on the iPad 3, not that iOS 7 was a speed demon. The only way to fix the intermittent issues seems to be to reset the device, and the issues come right back after sometime. These are results from a clean restore of iOS 8.0.2 since 8.0.1 had issues when upgrading (according to Apple).

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Apple iOS 7 – GM & iPhone 5C and 5S

Well…after trying to come to terms with the “nothing” Apple event of September 10th and a day with the GM of iOS7, I can probably echo the thoughts of many Apple device users and the stock market…Apple has lost it.

While most people would agree to the fact that Apple has some of the best talent in terms of developers and designers, they alone, cannot really do much. The current Apple “leadership” has to shoulder the responsibility for this.

They legacy that they (Apple) inherited is so strong that the momentum will continue to make money for some years to come. Given the fact that the other mobile OSes are not really anywhere close to the iDevice ecosystem, the current Apple “big guns” will continue to make money while the company faces a downtrend.

In an earlier post, I had mentioned the fact that if Apple brings out another cheap variation of the iPhone, then, we could be sure that the company had lost it.

When the rumours of the iPhone 5C (I still call it cheap, even though it’s not) surfaced, it was disturbing. Then, there was the thought that…why not? People who had not used an iPhone because of the price barrier, would probably go for it. The drawback might be that Apple might not be able to deal with the massive traffic caused by a cheaper iPhone variant.

Alas, that was not to be. The Apple “leadership” had other ideas. The iPhone 5C is not cheap by any standards. Then, one has to wonder as to why the 5C was even created…? Logically, it would seem that the 5C was created to make a lower end iPhone 5 so that the 5S would look like a premium option. If we compare the iPhone 5 and 5S, I have serious doubts that the majority would pay a premium for the 5S. To be honest, I would wonder why people would pay a premium for the 5S since the 4S would be free on contract. If all I wanted was a faster device to play games, I would not be purchasing a phone.

Again, I already mentioned in an earlier post that for the majority, a phone is a phone. People who go after the latest and greatest will pay for the 5S, but, people who use the iPhone as a “smartphone”, will probably skip it.

If we look at the track record of Apple since Jobs, it has gone just one way…down. The iOS 6 and the so called Apple “Maps” disaster continues even in iOS 7 GM. iOS 7 itself, was a disaster to begin with. Although somewhat toned down to be just about usable now. The UI might be acceptable just because it needed a change, the UX remains terrible. The built-in apps are completely inconsistent in terms of UI and UX. The calendar app remains unusable. The choice of colours is absolutely atrocious, specially in the case of calls.

While some people, myself included, would have accepted any incremental change in the UI simply because it was needed, the iOS 7 UI was not it. It lags iOS 6 in terms of usability and consistency.

While Apple claims to have added “n” number of “new” features, they forget to mention the fact that all of these “n” number of features existed in the 10+ year old Nokia phones. Of course, the usability of these “new” features is questionable. For example, none of the lists in iOS 7 GM are indexed even now. You can keep scrolling up and down even in the notifications under settings and spend a lifetime there. The block list is scattered across 3 different locations with no navigation/grouping or anything to make it usable…not even stats of blocks! Pathetic!

The entire history of Apple devices, since Jobs, reflects the same pattern. The same applies to the laptops and OS X. A company, once known for it’s attention to detail, design and innovation, seems to be going off on a tangent now.

For example, take iTunes. Even though the iOS 7 has reached GM, there is not even a beta that supports the folders in iOS 7. Never before, in the history of iOS or iDevices, has this happened.

To summarize, given the fragmentation of Android, the state of affairs of BlackBerry and the similar state of the Microsoft-Nokia combine, the iDevices and iOS, despite their faults, will continue to rule the premium segment for sometime to come. The only hope of something better, might come from Microsoft, if at all. Of course, there is a slim chance that it could come from a completely new source.

Lastly, like most iDevice users, I can only hope that there is some serious re-jig at Apple which would change it’s current direction and go back to being the company we all admired and invested in. Not a company that goes into selling leather jackets/covers and docks for devices just to try and make some more money…

Apple iOS 7 – First impressions on iPhone 5

After using iOS 7 for almost one full day, I would not really call it a beta release. It seems more of an unplanned pre-beta. Unlike some of my friends and colleagues, I always do a fresh install and never restore from a backup. This gives me a far better idea as to what is actually happening.

In short, my summary of the current iOS 7 beta is that it is a step forward in terms of the technology and required feature sets, but, the UI is terrible and the UX inconsistent at best. Let’s hope someone at Apple wakes up before the UI/UX of iOS 7 make it an even bigger disaster than the iOS 6 “maps”.

For those interested in the details of my experience with the iOS 7 beta in a day, here it comes. Keep in mind this is a first beta and bugs are expected. Just ’cause I mention some of those, it does not mean that those will remain in the final release.

Starting up

So, right after a fresh restore of iOS 7 on my iPhone 5, I saw the all too familiar “slide to unlock” text. The problem was, there was nothing to “slide”. There is no slider and the default colour scheme makes it almost impossible to figure out anything around the message.

Okay, so I “slide” nothing anyway and get to the home screen. The first thing I wanted to look at was settings so I could set up my other email accounts and tweak settings to suit me. The moment I started the settings app, the brightness went down and I could not really see anything. No problem, a reset of the phone fixed the brightness issue.



Then I went into the mail settings to set up my email accounts so that email would start off while I configured the rest of the settings. To my surprise and dismay, Apple had removed the options that made my family setup  perfect. I use a common cloud account on all devices on which contacts, find my phone and bookmarks are shared, otherwise, all devices have their own Apple IDs as the main iCloud account. In iOS 7, when you add a second iCloud account, you no longer have access to the “Find my iDevice” or the “Safari” bookmarks in the second iCloud account. Effectively, you cannot control shared stuff from a common, shared, iCloud account anymore.

Anyway, I set up all my different email accounts and noticed that GMail accounts had contacts as well. Not that I need or use them, it is an addition. Unfortunately, there are still no notifications for GMail, at least, not in this beta. This is one of the most required updates for a large number of people. The other issue is that if one has to use a different app just for GMail, then, the unified experience of the email on the iDevice does not exist anymore.


Once I was done with the email setup, I started to look at the other options. The first thing that struck me was that there were no “buttons” or “frames” to visually mark out any of the “touch/click” points. It was just an angle bracket and text at the top of every option to go back, for example, “< Settings”. This literally threw me back to the good old console days with no graphics when we would do similar things. Either number options or use brackets, mostly angle brackets, to signify something different. It seems like the design team at Apple is trying hard to make the iOS UI a 17th century one just like OS X which has never been updated.

Although Apple designers seemed to have learned the use of gestures, the overall implementation is quite inconsistent. For example, although the slide-in gesture works in Settings and Mail, it does not in Photos nor in Contacts and maybe more. The overall colours and contrast make it very difficult to read and visualise apps and folders, unlike iOS 6.

So, instead of looking at more settings, I decided to set my passcode and wallpapers first. How I got the wallpapers is a separate issue since there were none on the phone, so, I just downloaded some of my white dog, a Lhasa Apso, and set the lock and home screen to 2 different photos. Then, I locked the device and guess what…I could no longer see or read the “slide to unlock” message since the wallpaper was also white and there is no “slider”, so, you cannot see anything! Very impressive “design”….

Control Center

The all new Control Center has only one option. Display on home screen or not. You cannot customise anything on the Control Center itself. The 2 options that I would really like to see on the Control Center are a “Home” button and a “Lock Device”. This would make the overall UX buttonless and take away the reason for a large number of Jail-breakers. Of course, this is only the functional part. The UI part for the Control Center can only be termed pathetic at best. It’s positively ugly and in-consistent with the rest of the UI. Compare this with the jailbreak tweaks/toggle apps like SB Settings etc.


This also adds an option to allow or dis-allow the use of the microphone. Always good to have these kind of options and more so you know which apps needs to access what functionality.


This has a couple of really required options. One of those is only partially implemented. You can now see photos of contacts in the favourites list, but, not in the contact list. This is really a half hearted option.

The other, more important, is a “Blocked” list. You can add numbers that will be blocked for all FaceTime and Normal calls as well as Messages.

Although this “blocked” list will probably be a favourite for most, including myself, the design part has not really been thought out. This same option and list exists in 3, yes, 3 different places in settings. Extremely redundant and confusing at best.


Think most of the world would agree that we simply skip this one. Apple “maps” only exist in their dreams. With no option to change the default maps app, all location apps remain more or less dead since iOS 6.

iTunes & App Stores

One feature that needs to be mentioned is the ability to auto-update apps when on a WiFi network (default). Although I would never use this feature, but, it is a major step forward for the vast majority of iDevice users.


The two new services that are now integrated in iOS 7 are Flickr and Vimeo. Vimeo??? Where is YouTube? The divide between Apple and Google shows. Apple discards the best service in their interest, not in the interest of the iDevice users.


This has a new option to control the true multitasking offered by iOS 7. Most people would probably never need to fiddle with this one, but, it’s there.

Another interesting option that has been added is “Text Size”. As and when apps support dynamic text sizing, this will come into play.

Installing Apps

If you are like me, you would not waste time and bandwidth downloading apps on the device directly and arranging them manually. To my surprise, iTunes 11.0.4 is clueless about iOS 7 and there is no beta update for iTunes that understands iOS 7.

Although a buggy experience, but, you can install apps using the current iTunes. Don’t try creating folders for more apps than what iTunes think it is meant for. It cannot even deal with the normal number of apps in a folder on an iPhone 5 running iOS 6.

This was just one of the reasons why I said that this iOS 7 is more of an unplanned pre-beta. Do not be surprised if your phone boots/re-springs at random, specially when using iTunes. Actually, the re-boot will happen even when doing nothing. Given this is a “beta”, it should be expected.

The simplest way is to install all the apps, music etc you want, create and organise the apps into folders as much as iTunes allows you, then arrange everything else manually and do not sync with iTunes again. If you sync with iTunes after putting in a bunch of apps in a folder, it will pull all those apps out onto pages. So, till we get an iTunes update that works with iOS 7, sync with iTunes only once to install all the stuff you want. Do not sync again after you have arranged your apps in folders.

After installing some apps and arranging them in folders, I discovered the fact that I could see far less in a folder than I could in iOS 6. Once again, the UI/UX leaves a lot to be desired.


Well, after all, I am looking at iOS 7 on the iPhone, so, the favourites need to be setup first. Once again, I run into the same “slide to unlock” nothing scenario. There is no demarkation for the search entry field unless you really push up the brightness to an un-usable level, or, you are used to the iPhone and therefore get by.

This major UI drawback can actually be seen in quite a few places. You would be very hard pressed to figure out where a text field actually is and which one is the active one. Pathetic!

If that was not enough, try to look at any contact details, absolutely ugly layout. There is absolutely no way any designer could actually do worse. It takes up 2-3 times the space to show the same details as iOS 6 and adds absolutely nothing excepting to make it worse by the choice of colours and icons.

Lastly, the phone keypad. I have serious doubts if people have actually seen a more pathetic choice of colours and design than what exists in the current iOS 7 beta. The same applies to when you actually make or receive a call. I will have a comment on the overall UI/UX a bit later…

Control Centre

The all new Control Centre provides some of the much needed functionality, the UI could not be worse than what it is currently. Talking up almost the full screen on the iPhone 5, it’s quite ugly and inconsistent with the rest of the UI. I still hope that the design team at Apple looks at stuff like “Auxo” and “SB Settings” and try and come up with a better design.


One of the great new features of iOS 7 is true, supposedly intelligent, multitasking for all apps. Although there is a new UI for the multitasking apps, it falls well short of the current jailbreak tweaks in terms of functionality and design. There is no kill-all apps functionality and since it also shows the home screen, it is also in-consistent in design.


This needs to be mentioned since I could not see any visual indication of any even in the current iOS 7 beta. If this is by design, then, it’s absolutely pathetic like the rest of the UI/UX blemishes I have already mentioned. If this is just another bug in the current release, then, let’s see what the next beta comes up with.

App Stores

I mention the App Store for two reasons, a) It is quite buggy at the moment and b) it retains the button like appearance instead of using “angle brackets” for installing apps.

Battery & Charging

Although bugs are expected, I was surprised to see that it took my iPhone 5 almost seven hours to complete a 100% charge. Not sure if the indicator is the issue or something else. I also noticed that the battery drain in this beta is quite high. I should know more in a couple of days as to what the real issue might be.


This is a new app added to the iOS 7 iPhone beta. Although this makes it consistent with the iPad app and more accessible to users who had difficulty in figuring out how to FaceTime on the iPhone, it retains the lame issues of the iPad. Even though all registered FaceTime users are known along with their registered IDs, the app shows all contacts with all IDs. So, no real help excepting yet another redundant app since the Phone contacts would also show exactly the same information. Once again, we have a basic design issue.

Overall Technology and Features

Excepting for what Apple calls “maps”, the overall improvements on the technology side in terms of features and implementation seems to make iOS 7 a worthy successor of iOS 5. Personally, I am happy that I got the “Blocked” list and even the “Flashlight”.

Overall UI/UX/Design

This part requires some understanding. There is drawing and there is design. Both of these, combined with experience and technology go into the making of the terms UI and UX. In my opinion, the current iOS 7 needs UI/UX, what we have is just plain and simple drawings, flat, black and white, with no visual/graphical cues. The overall effect of this iOS 7 beta is absolutely pathetic.

Although existing iOS users would be able to figure out the UI, this would not be simple to figure out for new iDevice users.

Keep in mind that demos are demos are demos. They are carefully chalked out to present the best as they did at the WWDC keynote. The numbers in millions, billions and trillions mentioned at the keynote were not because of iOS 6, they were despite iOS 6 and the “maps” disaster. If the current iOS 7 beta is a real indication of where Apple is headed, then, it is a recipe for disaster. The momentum from the original iDevices and their UI/UX, the in-ability of Google or Microsoft/Nokia to consolidate, would probably continue this momentum for iDevices for the next few years, but, the trend would be downward.

As an individual, having invested a lot in Apple hardware and technology over the last few years, I would hate to see it all go waste. I can only hope that someone at Apple wakes up fast and takes concrete steps to arrest this downtrend.