Old Gear Learns New Tricks

Apple trotted out some new phones recently. They’re very pretty. Most of the event was about the hardware. For me though the software was overlooked, or not emphasized enough for those of us with old hardware.

iOS 7 is the news, not a gold iPhone with a better camera or a funky color plastic back to be covered by an equally funky case. Fingerprints, as most biometrics, are an OK way to “keep honest people honest”. However, if the “real” bad guys, on a mission to get your data, pics of your pets, and grandma’s phone number, gets your phone away from you, then your screwed anyway if you don’t notice it’s missing and wipe it. Sure, all that stuff is cool. Don’t get me wrong. If my iPhone 4 ever dies before iPhone 6 hits the street I will most definitely plunk down $200 for a 5S instead of looking for a refurb 4 on Ebay. But as I started to say at the beginning, my biggest surprised was how well iOS 7 runs on my iPhone 4 (No, not a 4S. A plain, old 4).

The update process was, almost, too easy. I plugged the phone into the MacBook, selected software update and let it go. I answered a few questions, clicked “OK” a few time and then went to bed. When I awoke I was greeted with a new lock screed with round “Buttons” and a short intro. I upgraded the apps that support iOS 7 and after another hour or so, all was running. I’ve been using the phone, as always as my primary communicator and PDA over the course of almost a week now. While I had a slight learning curve on some of the features and movement of some controls, it realy wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I’m a pretty quick learner.

Speaking of quick, It seems the more I use it, the phone now seems to be “learning” how I use it and the applications. I’ve been observing longer battery life under almost identical conditions day/by day. I’ve read a few things that hint at more power management “smarts” built into the OS and I’m glad its a function that got trickled down to the older hardware. Also, there are some apps take a bit longer to load (especially the native iOS 7 ones, due to the slower processor. However once up and running, these new apps seem much “snappier” than their older bretherin.

How’s Siri’s performance? Don’t know. Don’t have it. I use Google audio search and the Voice command app. So I don’t mis what I never had. Likewise with the panorama function on my camera. I have the AutoStich app for that. My most favorite feature is the control center. That should have been done a LONG time ago…

Now sure, there are some features that I don’t get on my older gear, like some of the animations, and translucent colors. Better flash and filters before you take the pictures. But as I said before, I have apps for that, Camera+ as my primary photo app, for example, and AutoStich for panoramas, and that’s OK.

Bottom line, I can make phone calls, take pretty good pictures, be organized, use the cloud for synching (very cool) and do everything else my old iOS 5 (yep I double jumped) used to do. Best of all, the iOS upgrade was free! I put my phone in a brand new Otterbox case for $50 (my old one was pretty rough looking) and, except for the size of the screen, most casual observers cant tell the difference! So thanks to iOS 7 and new protection from sudden gravity bursts, I’ve got a “new” phone for less than a nice dinner (Open Table) and a movie (IMDB). HA!

BTW, I upgraded my iPad 2 as well!!

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