I’m sure it’s pretty well known at this point that iOS 7 is here. It was released at 10 AM Pacific time today, though there, at the moment, some reports of trouble downloading it. Undoubtedly, the servers are being hammered by people trying to upgrade their devices.
Before I get into my own thoughts, I have found that there are a lot of good reviews out there, which, I feel, will provide a great deal of information to folks interested in knowing what is in the update as far as accessibility and VoiceOver goes. So, I am going to first present some links to resources I think are great resources.
First, we have the review Josh of the Maccessibility network posted earlier today. I think this is quite comprehensive. Please
go here to read the Maccessibility review of iOS 7.
Next, Scott Davert of Applevis posted
this great review
that I highly recommend.
We also have a blog post from Luis Perez on iOS 7 as well that can be found
Another person who does great demonstrations and reviews is Ricardo Walker, and he has information worth listening to as well. You can listen to his
iOS 7 walkthrough here.
Last, but certainly not least, Jonathan Mosen’s book on iOS 7 is now available. This is a great resource for both the beginner and experienced user. Details about the book can be found
As for my thoughts, I am not going to basically write about what is already out there. However, here are some of my own observations:The download is quite large and took some time to occur on my iPhone. As of this writing, I have not upgraded my iPad 3rd generation yet. I will do that later on today.
The setup once you complete the update should be familiar to most folks. There are some basic screens you must navigate before you get back to your home screen. This includes signing into iCloud, deciding to turn on Location Services and another item or two. Frankly, I just breeze through that process, but be aware you do have to deal with it.
From the teacher’s perspective, I am glad to see that the unlock button on the lock screen and the power off button when you want to turn your device completely off does not say, “slide to unlock” any longer. This was confusing to a lot of new users, and I have always taught people just to use the double tap gesture to unlock or power off their iDevice.
Also from the trainer’s point of view, besides the fact that Accessibility has been moved up in its location in the General settings, there is now a gesture to get one directly to the VoiceOver practice area. Now, one does not have to navigate the settings screens to locate it. Use four fingers and tap the screen twice, and you will be in VoiceOver help, which is the practice area for gestures. When you are finished, use the two-finger scrubbing gesture to close the practice screen.
SIRI has a new sound, or, to be precise, two new voices. This is a male and female voice to choose from. Now, these voices are not available for VoiceOver, but, at least, when you use SIRI with VoiceOver, you receive responses from the SIRI voice, instead of the VoiceOver voice. You can choose between the male and female voice in SIRI’s settings.
As pointed out by Josh and in other places, a lot of the core applications do have a new look to them. It is worth taking the time to explore and review all of your apps after you do the update. For instance, the Calendar app has changed quite a bit, and to me, again with my trainer’s hat on, it’s for the better. I think the new layout is much easier, and the process for manually creating an event has been made a lot easier for the user. This also goes for the Reminders application, which also has become a bit more simplified and less intensive to try to utilize.
To me, the Control Center is a great new feature. It makes it easy to get to the most important settings, such as WiFI, BlueTooth and Do Not Disturb and Orientation Lock.
The Notification Center also has a different look out of the box. This might be a little disconcerting at first, so carefully explore the screen to get a feel for what you are being shown. You can, if you wish, restore the look to something more like the iOS 6 version by manipulating some of the settings in the Notification settings area. I haven’t entirely experimented there as of yet, but I am told that one can return the Notification Center to how it appeared in the past there.
As someone who did learn how to print characters years ago, the handwriting feature very much interests me. I am well out of practice, but I am amazed by just how good the recognition seems to be. It will certainly take some practice for me, but if you have written by hand in the past, this is a great option for inputting text on your iDevice, and you are not using the other alternative keyboard applications that are available.
Finally, as a note of caution, be aware that not all third party applications are iOS 7 compatible as of yet. I have found that most have made the jump, but there are some that may not open or work properly. Just be aware of this fact as you start to try out your familiar third party applications.
Overall, from what I have tried and used, I think iOS 7 is a great update. I’m sure there will be bug reports and other warning that will come out as time passes, but I certainly have no regrets upgrading my iPhone and will do so to my iPad later today.