iOS 7 on iPad 3 Review
Earlier this month, Apple rolled out the iOS 7 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, an update that replaced the iOS 6 update that arrived last September with the iPhone 5. And after spending quite a bit of time with software and the subsequent iOS 7.0.2 update, it’s time to offer our final thoughts on the iOS 7 update for Apple’s iPad third-generation, also known as the iPad 3.
Back in June, Apple announced the iOS 7 update, an update that it said would be coming to many of its older mobile devices later on in the year. Specifically, in the fall. The company delivered on that promise, pegging the iOS 7 release date for both iPhone and iPad for September 18th. On September 18th, the iOS 7 update rolled out and the iOS software that arrived back with the original iPhone, changed forever.
iOS 7 represents a big change from the previous iOS updates in that it delivers a brand new look to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners around the world. Like past iOS updates, it brings new features along with it, chief among them a new Camera app, Control Center and new Notifications, but it also brings a new look with it as well.
The user interface is now much flatter, the colors more vibrant and the icons vastly different than the ones that were found within Apple’s older iOS software. The icons aren’t the only thing that has changed either. The core Apple features have also changed, some for the better, and they offer up a brand new experience for iPhone and iPad owners.
After a bit of a rocky start, thanks to a sever meltdown on Apple’s end, we were able to get iOS 7 up and running on the iPad 3, Apple’s third-generation iPad. Our initial thoughts on the iOS 7 update for iPad 3 were, overall, positive. But has that changed?
Here, we take a final look at the iOS 7 update as a whole, including the iOS 7.0.2 update that just arrived a few short days ago.
While iOS 7 has been performing rather admirably on the iPhone 5, the performance on the iPad 3 is a notch below that thanks to user interface lag that dilutes the experience. The lag doesn’t make the entire operating system choke up every time it happens, though that has happened more than a few times particularly within iMessage, it is an annoyance that really hinders the overall experience with iOS 7.
When opening up a folder, iOS 7 often skips and struggles to open the folder. The lag is more prominent in the new multitasking where the UI often fails to keep up with my swipes. Sometimes, when in iMessage, tapping around causes the UI to lock up for a few seconds before it’s able to snap out of it and carry on.
Applications often stammer open as well. These are seconds of lag that we are talking about here, sometimes milliseconds, but the experience is just not as smooth as iOS 6. I know of several other iPad 3 owners who are experiencing these issues so it’s not just my iPad that is suffering from slow down.
My hope is that Apple is able to iron out these issues and better optimize iOS 7 for iPad with future updates. Remember, iOS 7 for iPad didn’t spend as much time as iOS 7 for iPhone did in beta. Perhaps Apple just needs some more time to work out the kinks.
One of the bright spots of iOS 7 has been the battery life. I’ve had good luck with iOS updates over the years in that they haven’t delivered major battery drain to my device. The same can’t be said for others, even with iOS 7, which apparently is draining the battery life of some iPhones and iPads owners.
For whatever reason, I was never able to replicate the security flaw issue that caused Apple to roll out iOS 7.0.2. I have also been unable to replicate the security flaw issue found in iOS 7.0.2. Those represent the two biggest bugs found in iOS 7 thus far, but they aren’t the only bugs that users have discovered.
There is an ongoing list of iOS 7 problems that users are dealing with and the list continues to grow. Fortunately, I haven’t run into any major or minor issues with the iOS 7 update on the iPad.
No random reboots, no iMessage issues – that seems limited to the iPhone, no Wi-Fi problems, no app crashes though Netflix continues to under perform and act wonky, nothing that screams out “this needs to be fixed immediately.” Well, except those lag problems.
iOS 7 Features
+ UI Changes
It’s going to take some time before iPad 3 users, myself included, get used to the new look and layout of the iOS 7 update. However, after spending a great deal of time with the software, I’m becoming more adept and I’m growing to like it even more than I already did.
Simply put, I think it looks better than iOS 6 and below. iOS 6 just started to look and feel outdated and iOS 7 injects fresh air into the software. It’s not perfect, software rarely is, but the new icons and new colors are an improvement. I personally like how things like the color of the passcode screen change depending on the background color. It’s a nice little touch and one that I, like many others, will take for granted soon.
And no, the parallax effect of iOS 7 has yet to make me sick. In fact, I rather like it.
+ Control Center
While I’ve only had access to it for a few weeks, Control Center has quickly become my most used feature within iOS 7. Had it arrived with iOS 6, it would have been my most used feature in iOS 6.
Control Center is the menu that is accessed with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen, offering up a handful of useful toggles like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. More importantly, it has quick access to Screen Brightness, something that we are often adjusting on the iPad when watching shows in bed at night. I also use the flashlight and calculator on occasion.
It’s been extremely easy to work into my daily routine with the iPad and it’s a feature that should have been inside iOS a long time ago. I’m just glad that it’s here now with iOS 7.
Multitasking is vastly improved in iOS 7. The lag is there, as I mentioned, but it’s still much better than the functionality in iOS 6. Now, instead of holding down icons to close them out, I can simply double tap the home button and see a collection of cards depicting what I have open. Then, I can very easily swipe them away to get rid of them.
It would be nice to have those cards update in real time to show what I saw last, but that’s for another day. For now, I am thrilled with how much more efficient, how much cleaner this experience is particularly on the 9.7-inch screen of the iPad.
+/- Camera App
I absolutely love the new Camera application in iOS 7. It’s a much improved experience over the one found in iOS 6. However, the best camera application on earth couldn’t drive me to start taking photos and video on my full-sized iPad. It’s awkward, it’s inconvenient, and I’ll never grow accustomed to it. So I love that I have the option to use it, but I’ll probably never open it again.
+ /- FaceTime Audio
Another feature that impresses me is FaceTime Audio, Apple’s calling feature that allows users to make audio calls over Wi-Fi or cellular connection provided the other person has an internet connection and FaceTime and iOS 7. Those who can place calls over Wi-Fi can avoid data charges and eating into minutes.
Often times, the service will work as advertised. Conversations go interrupted and audio quality is solid. Others, audio quality suffers from stuttering and static. The issues occur while on a known Wi-Fi network, right next to the router so there is no excuse.
Great feature, I just wish the execution was a little better.
+ /- iTunes Radio
The few times I’ve used iTunes Radio, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s basically Apple’s version of Pandora and it does a great job recommending music to me. Problem is, while it may have replaced Pandora, it hasn’t replaced Spotify. And I don’t think that it will.
With iOS 7, Apple added a handful of new features for Siri, the company’s heavily promoted personal assistant. And while some of the features are nice, the service still has trouble figuring out what I am saying and it still isn’t as quick or practical as performing some of the functions myself. Until it’s one hundred percent accurate, one hundred percent of the time, until there is a killer feature or two, I can’t see myself using Siri.
Yes, the new interface is nice too but cosmetic changes aren’t going to win me over.
- UI Lag
For me, this is the worst part about iOS 7. I haven’t been able to escape the UI lag on the iPad 3 and the iOS 7.0.2 update brought zero relief. I’m hoping that Apple makes it a point to address this issue in future iOS updates.
iOS 7 is a solid upgrade for iPad 3 owners. The new look and the new features, particularly Control Center, make it easy to overlook the lag issues that are affecting my iPad, and the iPads of others, around the world.
Some of the new features like iTunes Radio and FaceTime Audio may have a hard time finding their way into your daily use, but with iOS 7 being a free update, it’s worth finding out.
It’s a highly recommended upgrade but remember, once iOS 7 is on board the iPad 3, there is no going back to iOS 6 or below.