Back in jail with iOS 7

Unless you’re one of these people, you’re probably aware that the entire Internet slowed to 300 baud modem speeds Wednesday as millions of First Worlders (We’re number one, hey!) hammered Apple’s cold fusion-powered data centers in hopes of being one of the lucky five to download iOS 7 or, as a consolation prize, a personalized scowl from Jony Ive. I was not one of the five.

Which was okay. Really.

I got through the disappointing day of no iOS 7 by trolling eBay for TI-99/4A speech synthesizer modules while occasionally working at my real job. And it was my birthday. Which would be more exciting if I had turned 21 and not 41. But at least I’m younger than Damage and Dr. Evil. Months count, people.

Anyway. In truth, I could not update to iOS 7 during the day because my iPhone 5 and iPad 3 were jailbroken. In their glorious and righteous benevolence, the Inquisitors of Cupertino wouldn’t even let my devices recognize that an update existed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: why on earth would I give up my sweet, sweet jailbreak for some skinny-fonted new iOS that will force its will upon me like some cool will-forcing metaphor I can’t think of? Good question. The easy answer is that iOS 7 has incorporated enough features that used to only reside in the jailbreak community that I no longer feel it’s worth the effort to maintain jailbroken status just for the couple of features I’ll lose.

Also, skinny fonts, dude!

I was never a hard-core jailbreaker. I didn’t download themes and abuse Winterboard like a 12-year-old from 2008 trying to decorate her MySpace page just right with the hearts and kitties. I liked SBSettings and Activator. And TV Tube Sleep, which made it look like my iPhone was an old CRT being turned off because I’m old-timey like that.

Did I ever use a tethering program? The world may never know. But if I did, it was only a couple of times a year, so no big loss.

To un-jailbreak a phone, one has to do a full factory restore of the scofflaw iDevice in question. When I did this to my iPhone, instead of upgrading it to iOS 7, iTunes upgraded it from 6.1.3 (the last iOS with an untethered jailbreak) to 6.1.4. Why? Because, I believe, I’m an idiot. I didn’t upgrade iTunes to 11.1 before doing the restore. Since 11.1 is required for iOS 7, I got 6.1.4 and the chance to download 2.2 gigabytes of iOS data instead of just 900 megs. Glad I have the SuperTurboFireBlazerExtreme Internet package at home. However, restoring 360 apps via USB 2.0 is slow. So slow that I went to bed and finished updating the phone in the morning.

And then I had it: iOS 7 in all its mildly parallactic glory. And it was good.

Now that I’ve lived with the design for a couple of days, I must admit to really liking it. Cyril gives the new design a hearty "meh," but I’m a touch more enthusiastic than Mr. K.

While I agree that this new iOS doesn’t break new ground in the seismic way the original iPhone/iOS combination did, I think that’s expecting too much at this point. The original magic of the iPhone wasn’t just what it did or that it did things simply—it was that it did such cool stuff on frickin’ phone you carried around with you. I don’t think any company is going to recapture that level of "Sweet Moses!" excitement without completely rethinking and reinventing the smartphone as we know it. I would suppose Apple and Samsung and Google are all heading down those paths, but who succeeds first (if at all) is still up for grabs.

Until then, we have iOS 7 (and the new iPhone 5C and 5S that I’ve yet to see in person). And it’s better than what came before. More incremental than inspirational perhaps, but that’s a bit like complaining your wife’s new haircut only made her into a hotter version of her existing self instead of a Leather Goddess of Phobos.

From a usability standpoint, I’m enjoying the new elements like Control Center and swipe-mid-screen to search. The UI feels plenty snappy to me on my iPhone 5, but I do sense some lag on my iPad 3. Not surprising given the new level of graphics layering going on. Of course, I wish Apple would give us the option of turning off such things (you can turn off parallax in the Accessibility settings). Considering I’ve been railing against the lack of OS 9 window-shading in OS X for the past dozen years, I’m not holding my breath on this one.

I have run into a couple of odd niggles: While you can finally put as many apps into a folder as you like, the folders will only show nine apps at a time on screens that will clearly hold many more. It’d be nice if you could merge folders instead of having to move apps one-by-one to consolidate. Things like that.

In the realm of Apple Giveth and Apple Taketh Away, iOS 7 finally includes the option in Mail to mark all messages as read. Only took the seventh iteration of the OS to get there (this lack of functionality was another reason I jailbroke my iDevices). But to counter this, Apple removed the preference to limit your mail accounts to only showing the latest 50/100/200/etc. messages. At first I though I was just missing where the setting had been moved to, but the message boards told me otherwise. Silly.

All in all, I dig it. Of course it’s not as magical or fantastical or orgasmic as the videos at Apple.com would have us all believe. But the new, unified look and feel is a winner. And the death of skeuomorphic tomfoolery has to be reason enough for some to upgrade. Although they didn’t re-skin Find My Friends. I know it’s not a built-in app, but still. The ghost of Scotty F. has yet to be exorcised.

For those wondering, I did not peck this out while in line at an AT&T store trying to snag a 5S. That’s what interns are for.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    I thought the main attraction of an iPhone is that, unlike most Androids, it’s perfectly usable out of the box.

    I guess post-Jobs Apple is becoming just-another-phone-vendor.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 6 years ago

      Jellybean is mature enough to be considered “useable out of the box”…. assuming you didn’t buy one with too much preinstalled bloatware.

        • trackerben
        • 6 years ago

        I also assumed JB would fix things but I ended up having to replace my phone’s launcher and add a task manager and cleaner/diagnostics to stabilize it, just like with Windows. I’m satisfied now as I get much fewer crashes although the dialler still hangs. Perhaps with 5.x Google will enforce basic standards. For now only a Nexus has a decent level of useability OOB.

          • Chrispy_
          • 6 years ago

          Yep, JB is getting there, but since flashing my Samsung ROM to a Nexus ROM, I’ve missed things that I’d have considered essential, specifically a client to connect to windows/samba fileshares on a WiFi network (Samsung Kies, as lousy as it was….), a task manager, and a better calendar app.

          Tinkering is still required, even on 4.3.

            • trackerben
            • 6 years ago

            The irritating calendar app bloatware “Le Calendar” was one reason I installed Nova launcher, that and to mimic “stock” JB. Funny but server connections via Wi-Fi are less of an issue on iOS. I run filesystem-enabled apps like GoodReader or FileAppPro to connect to samba shares on my Win8 desktops. Perhaps you can find the same or similar apps on Google Play. I use fixes like Advanced Task Killer, App Cache Cleaner, and System Tuner from Google Play, these bring back the old WinXP admin’ feelin’. I wonder if WinPhone requires similar tools, my long experience with iOS is that normally it doesn’t.

            • Chrispy_
            • 6 years ago

            There are plenty of “connect to share” apps for Android, I’m just saying that they should be included in the Nexus ROM by default.

            Especially since the Nexus has no SD slot, the ability to easily move content off and onto the internal memory should be mandatory.

    • eloj
    • 6 years ago

    [url<]http://istouchidhackedyet.com[/url<] I knew it'd be a convenience-over-security feature, but if CCC can just repeat an attack from 2004 and have it work... sheesh. [url<]http://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2013/ccc-breaks-apple-touchid[/url<]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      Well, that took a long time.

        • Chrispy_
        • 6 years ago

        It took [i<]minus[/i<] nine years. In other words, Apple pushed out a security feature that was publicly proven as worthless almost a decade beforehand.

    • ryko
    • 6 years ago

    wow…just updated and found out about the mail app downloading all messages. how utterly stupid. i now have a big red 365 for the amount of unread emails in my inbox. before at least i could limit it to 50 so i could actually go through them in a reasonable manner and not get too overwhelmed.

      • internetsandman
      • 6 years ago

      The one thing that bugged me was the auto update option. It’s either on or off, constantly, whether you’re on cellular or wifi. I didn’t know it was on, and my battery indicator was at 50% by the time I finished lunch, usually it’s at 75% at that point. Not only is it a drain on the battery, but I’m glad I have a 6GB mobile data plan, or else I’d have been royally screwed on the bill

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]The one thing that bugged me was the auto update option. It's either on or off, constantly, whether you're on cellular or wifi.[/quote<] Guess you didn't notice the "Use Cellular Data" option in the iTunes & Apps Store settings which has been there ever since they offered auto updating.

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      If this is the case, then iOS7 may be a non-starter for me. Does this apply to email such as Yahoo and Gmail?

      My phone and iPad are always stuffed to the 64 GB max and I don’t need email causing me storage shortages.

        • peartart
        • 6 years ago

        Maybe it’s just downloading unread mail? I have a couple of very large gmail accounts that are “updated” according to iOS, but I don’t leave mail (marked) unread and Mail is only using 35 mb of storage.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]Did I ever use a tethering program? The world may never know.[/quote<] The NSA knows.

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      NSA is there to protect you from the evildoers

        • GrimDanfango
        • 6 years ago

        The NSA is the least likely thing that can protect us from the NSA 🙂

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          Well played, sir!

    • windwalker
    • 6 years ago

    The jailbreak developers, not Apple disabled the OTA update and notification.
    They did it because too many people were losing their jailbreaks like that.

    The OS is too hacked up during jailbreak to safely support updates, so a clean restore is needed to get back to normal.

    It’s interesting how certain you were that evil Apple was to blame for all of this.

      • Aliasundercover
      • 6 years ago

      Apple was to blame for it when they put users in jail in the first place.

        • windwalker
        • 6 years ago

        Of course.
        Apple is always to blame.

      • adisor19
      • 6 years ago

      This man speaks the truth. Stop down voting him.

      Adi

        • windwalker
        • 6 years ago

        Who cares about the truth when people have their opinions?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        Yes, and start downvoting adisor19 instead!

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          PREACH

      • dashbarron
      • 6 years ago

      Er…as truth as this may be, wasn’t Apple once-upon-a-time initially releasing updates with snippets to basically retard the phones until people updated to the new IOS?

      So…Apple is still kicking small animals like puppies, but just not kittens. And who cares about kittens, so they’re still evil.

    • Kalgash
    • 6 years ago

    To disable the frosted translucency go into the settings and use the High Contrast mode. It sets a basic transparency instead.

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