Beta software is often defined as unfinished or incomplete. Beta is usually reserved for developers, but there are times when companies have a beta release that is made available for public consumption. Either way, the beta sticker is letting you know that it’s not perfected. As a user of beta software, you should set your expectations accordingly. Apple’s iOS 7 is currently beta software, a developer beta to be specific. The final gold master could be released to the general public on September 10th. As of now, it’s not finished. That’s the reason why you haven’t seen any iOS 7 reviews that are worth reading. Both of which are incomplete. When it does ship, iOS 7 will be the biggest change in iOS software since the first iPhone. It’s a big deal. As with any major change, it might take some time for users to settle in, with some never finding a comfort zone with the operating system. Some reviewers will pan iOS 7, claiming it’s a big miss, one that would have never happened under Steve Jobs. Trolling is to be expected, but shouldn’t they at least wait until the software is finished?
“It Has Been A Bad Summer for Apple’s iOS 7” is the title of an article today by Dan Rowinski at ReadWriteWeb. The author claims that Ive’s success in developing the look and feel of Apple’s hardware “had not translated quite as well to iOS.” There is no basis for this argument, other than conjecture about the icons being “amateurish and cartoon-like”. Having read the article, it’s unclear if the author has actually used iOS 7. To dismiss iOS 7 as a failure based on the icons is shortsighted. I’ve hurled my fair share of criticism at the icons. Some in jest and some genuinely hoping that Apple would make changes. With each beta release, that seems more and more like a long shot.
Another argument suggests this version of iOS has more SDK packages and has been generally more buggy than previous releases. One can only guess that he missed Tim Cook’s introduction of iOS 7 where he called it,
“…the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.”
Previous iOS releases were iterations, usually offering hundreds of new features of which Apple would spotlight a few of the bigger changes. iOS 7 isn’t simply a makeover, there are big changes under the hood that will change how we use our iPhones. The result being that developers will also have to work hard to ensure compatibility. I’ve heard many developers rejoice at the new SDK, claiming that iOS 7 presents real opportunity. You can sense excitement in parts of the developer community.
Rowinski suggests that iOS 7 was “rushed into production and became flawed.” This under the headline which reads, “The End Is Near”, a reference to the end of the beta period or should we take that as a not-so-subtle reference to Apple’s demise? While there might have been some areas that were rough around the edges, the June release was for developers and not consumers. Were there aspects of the release that were rushed? Perhaps, but show me any software tagged beta that’s near final? Are we ready to dismiss iOS 7 because of it’s brightly-colored iconography? I cannot think of a bigger mistake. Change is hard, especially one that has been incredibly polarizing. Was I crazy about the icons on day one. Definitely not, but as a developer, I’ve been using iOS 7 since it was released and my opinions have changed. Using the software has that affect.
It’s beta. It’s unfinished and it shouldn’t be reviewed yet. When it does hit Apple’s servers and we all flee to hit the update button, there will be plenty of time for reviews and fact-based opinions. Anything else is trolling and it’s even too early for that.