iOS 7 is official, but was it worth the wait?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| June 10, 2013

Apple's introduction of the newest version of iOS is over. The wait has finally come to an end, at least for the initial unveiling. Now the public has to wait until "this fall" to get the updated software on their devices. Until then, you'll be hearing about how early access users are getting along with the software, and what they think of it.

As I've already made clear, this year's Worldwide Developers Conference wasn't just another conference. It wasn't even just about releasing another version of iOS, like last year's event was. This was bigger. We could all smell it in the air. The fact that Apple clamped down so heavily on security, on leaks, on just about anything that could have outed the new version of iOS before they could announce it shows that they were serious. They wanted to keep the surprise, and release it on their own.

Now that the event is over, here I am, giving my thoughts on everything that went down. I'm still going over all the little details, still contemplating the "10 new features," and still debating with myself on whether or not this was the biggest event since the initial release of the iPhone and iOS way back in 2007.

I've already had several discussions about it, and I've seen through the looking glass of people on both sides of the fence, as well as those who are seated nice and firmly upon it. I've spoken with individuals who despise the Cupertino-based company, and hate iOS. I've talked with Apple loyalists, who see no reason to switch to anything else. And I've minced words with the folks who just don't care either way.

As you can imagine, the end result varied quite a bit.

Did Apple revolutionize the mobile industry? Did they change the game, and force everyone else to sit back and consider how they might eventually compete? Or, has Apple finally played the catch-up game with everyone else, and just now matched the feature set with those other platforms?

As I look at it? Apple didn't revolutionize the mobile industry, or change the game in any major way. Not for the other companies. Everything that Apple addressed today on stage for iOS 7 that relates to the other companies are things they've been working on for years now, and will continue to work on well into the future -- unless something drastically changes on their end. As far as I'm concerned, nothing drastically changed on the grand scale.

That's because it didn't need to.

This WWDC was about Apple. This wasn't like previous announcements or unveilings. This wasn't about how iOS can compete directly with other platforms, or how badly iOS needs to catch up with anyone else. Apple doesn't need to catch up to any other manufacturer. They sell millions upon millions of devices, and all those devices are running the same software so I think we can skip the diatribe and agree that they've succeeded where they've wanted to succeed.

This was the announcement that iOS sorely needed to refresh its feature set and look. It's look, more than anything else. The question before today's event was whether or not Apple would be able to change its mobile software on a grand scale, but still keep the functionality. Could Apple change iOS, but still make it work like iOS? This wasn't the time for Apple to change the way we use iPhones. This was the time to change the way they looked, all the way down to the settings.

And they succeeded. Just as they've done in the past, despite how many times you'll see the "Apple is failing" tag line or quote floating around, they've done what they set out to do. They did change iOS in a huge way, but make sure that you still use it like iOS. They did add new features that broaden the Apple ecosystem, but keep it all familiar. They threw in aesthetically pleasing features like depth on the home screen, so it looks like you can actually see behind the icons.

It's still just rows of icons, but now they aren't boring. Apple changed these things, while making fun of their past. They hacked and slashed at skeuomorphism on the system level, and they did it on the stage, too. They know that people were tired of the old, and they made sure to point out that they were, too. So they did something about it. Did it take too long? That's up to your personal opinion. But is it better late than never? Yes.

The truth is, I really like the new iOS. I think, as I said above, that this is indeed the change that the mobile platform needed. The "10 new features" were solid, even if a few of them didn't really speak to me. I think the changes to the aesthetics, both in typography, icons, atmosphere (with the wallpapers and what not), and just about everything else they changed is awesome. It was worth the wait. Why? Because they didn't ruin anything in the process. This is still iOS. Developers will still be able to make the apps they do.

They just made it better. And that's all we can really ask for, right?

But tell me what you think. I'm very curious to see what you think of these changes. Is it what iOS has needed all along? Or did Apple miss the boat by not throwing in other features, like being able to select default applications? Let me know where you stand.

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