My Brand New Phone

Apple gave me a brand new iPhone yesterday, and charged me nothing.

No, I didn’t get an actual new physical iPhone, but after updating to iOS 7, my iPhone 5 feels like it’s a completely different device. It’s so different that it will take me awhile to get used to it, but I don’t mind the learning curve. I have heard a number of people complaining that their phone has changed too much with iOS 7, and they want to go back. Yet, that is, and always will be, how a certain percentage of people react to change. Change is uncomfortable at first, but people always adapt. I predict anyone who uses iOS 7 for more than a few weeks will never want to go back.

That’s not to say iOS 7 is perfect, as it still has its flaws. I think the animations for closing and opening apps are too long and slow things down. I think some of the icons still look terrible – Safari, Settings, Game Center. I also think some parts of the interface are too minimalist, and the lack of buttons makes navigating a little confusing. Yet, there were flaws in iOS 6 and every other previous version of iOS. It is the massive improvements in iOS 7 that make any flaws simply minor annoyances.

The ultra-modern design, more coherent interface, and simple beauty of iOS 7 all stand out to me. It feels as close as Jony Ive could come to starting from scratch and recreating what iOS would look like if it was designed in 2013 instead of 2006. Every app that hasn’t been updated to iOS 7 looks old and cruddy now, and the apps that have been updated look more beautiful than their previous versions. It’s a new beginning for iOS and a welcome change in my book.

I could write many more words about iOS 7, but there seems to have already been millions of words written about it in just the last 24 hours. There is only so much that can be said on the subject. The bottom line is, Apple has given millions of people, some who bought an iPhone over three years ago, a brand new experience… for free.1 While many will experience iOS 7 through the new iPhone 5S and 5C, Apple hasn’t artificially limited it to just those phones. It has gone out of its way to give as many as possible an entirely new iPhone by simply updating their software. Apple always strives to delight its customers, and I think iOS 7 ultimately achieves that goal.

1. The oldest iOS 7 compatible iPhone is the iPhone 4, which was released on June 24, 2010.