Re: Why you shouldn't upgrade to iOS7 ...yet
So...in response to Peter's article, I (admittedly, with a minor touch of snark) commented that his argument seemed to boil down to, "Some aspects of the experience may be lousy at first," a contention which was more link-bait than "news." In response, Peter suggested I re-read the article, for there was "more meat on that bone."
I did. And, well...I still feel that the points Peter raises are, essentially, the cautionary points that most every user would do well to keep in mind before making any major change to a device they depend on. Which isn't to say they're not good points; but rather that they're not an indictment of iOS 7 specifically. Which makes it link-baity, in my book, for iMore to proclaim the article as a cautionary tale germaine to iOS 7 on the day before its public release. Just my impression; your mileage may vary.
That said, I can think of five actual reasons to reconsider upgrading to iOS 7, that are specific to the OS itself. For example, you might want to tread lightly and maybe not upgrade if...
1. You're still new to the world of smartphones or tablets. One of the most publicized changes of iOS 7's user interface is the emphasis on relentless minimalism. Many "unnecessary" visual adornments have been stripped from the OS in the name of purging skeumorphism. While many people who dislike stylistic skeumorphism (i.e., skeumorphism that doesn't add to the functionality of an app, such as the stitched leather on the iPad Calendar app or the green felt on the Game Center app) are enthusiastic about the stripping down of such elements, it seems that, at least in some areas, functional skeumorphism (i.e., skeumorphism that makes an app easier or more intuitive to use, such as clearly delineated virtual "buttons" or pages turning in a book) has been thrown under the bus as well. While many experienced smartphone or tablet users won't have too much trouble connecting minimalistic icons to familiar functions, users who are still getting used to the touch screen world or whose devices aren't a central part of their daily activities may find the flat, pared-down visual world of iOS 7 more frustrating to navigate than the friendly, 3-D visual language of iOS 6.
2. You have vertigo. iOS 7 is nothing if not dynamic. Perhaps more so than any previous or competing mobile OS, the components of iOS 7 behave like real-world objects subject to the laws of gravity and motion (which makes for an interesting contrast to the anti-skeumorphic philosophical bent of the OS, upon reflection). The OS is designed to simulate depth and weight, right there in your hand, and visually, it does so quite successfully. This might create a potential problem, however, for users who have a particular sensitivity to motion sickness. Our brains are constantly evaluating the hundreds of sensory cues around us to keep us standing upright, walking smoothly, and otherwise successfully managing our bodies and space in the physical world-- and iOS 7, in its rich, vividly realistic simulations of real-world physics, runs the risk of confusing the brains of some. This may not be a big deal for the vast majority of users, who aren't particularly susceptible to sea sickness or who don't engage with their devices for prolonged periods of time-- but if you have a queasy stomach, iOS 7 may cause a lurch or two after awhile.
3. You have eyes that are prone to fatigue. One of the consequences of iOS 7's emphasis on minimalism is that there now seems to be much more open space in some apps-- and Apple has chosen to make much of that space white. Really, really white. Blindingly white, actually, thanks to the Retina display. Combined with these swatches of white space are minimalistic design choices that, in their quest to make as many aspects of apps as "unobtrusive" as possible, make your eyes (and brain) do a lot more work to glean information than they had to. For example, the Calendar app, which used to have thick lines breaking up the screen into days and weeks, is now a desert of white with scaled-down numbers and letters dotting its landscape at intervals. I found myself squinting and imagining where the dividing lines would otherwise be in order to make using the app easier-- which, one may argue, is a minor inconvenience that I'll almost certainly get used to, but the point is that, in roving around the page looking for friendly visual cues about how to use the app, my eyes started hurting. That's the kind of tradeoff minimalistic, "clean," "unobtrusive" design choices mean-- your eye having to do more work, often while being assaulted by the glare of white space.
iOS 7 presents a similar problem with its use of that blurry, translucent "pane" effect in the Notification Center, Control Center, and elsewhere. The OS is essentially asking our eyes to refocus whenever we pull one of these menus up or down, as they would when switching our focus between objects close to us and farther away. After a few of these switches, the eyes start to get tired (try it right now-- shift your visual focus from the top of your computer screen, to whatever is behind it, back to the screen-- see how many times it takes to begin to irritate your eyes). I also find it somewhat difficult to read text presented on a "pane" behind which are blurred objects (one of the least fortunate website design decisions, ever, was made by Yahoo! Sports when it coped this effect in their recent site redesign-- now text is presented in front of a blurred "pane" of baseball fields, which is distracting and visually tiring). Users may or may not get used to this effect, or find it as bothersome as I do, but what strikes me about it is that it's a puzzlingly pointless change. When I'm pulling down my Notifications Center, I don't care about what's going on "behind" it-- I pulled it down so I could focus on my Notifications. It doesn't add anything to my experience to have my home screen, or the app that I'm using, blurred translucently in the background. Similarly, when I pull up the Control Center, I don't need to be distracted by the color mishmash translucently visible behind it-- my eyes and brain want to do the least amount of work possible to know what to adjust so I can get back to whatever I was doing. Adding to my eyes' (and brain's) workload is not a helpful change.
4. You're a control freak about app updating. iOS 7 features automatic app updating, thus, in theory, doing away with the hassle of having to go into the App Store app and manually updating apps when updates are available. iOS 7 will purportedly even do this in "smart" fashion, giving priority to updating the apps that get the most use. The thing is, while having to manually update apps can be a bit of a hassle at times, it also gives the user a lot of control over whether they want the updates being offered-- or whether they wish to keep the app at all. I know that checking on my app updates is often the only time I take to review the apps I have on my phone, and consider whether they're worth the memory they're consuming (and I know I've had a few instances of looking at an app update, and saying, "Oh, man, I still have that on my phone? Yeah, let's get rid of that."). assume automatic app updates will, at least at first, be an option for iOS users-- but I also assume that, if it catches on, Apple will probably make it the de facto update process in future versions. Which, in an ecosystem that is famous for affording users precious few options to exercise meaningful control over the OS, may rub a few people the wrong way.
5. Up until now, you've chosen iOS specifically because it didn't resemble Android or Windows 8. This is an admittedly personal, somewhat petty point. But I cannot express the frustration I feel whenever someone unfavorably compares the iOS interface or features to Android, and demands to know when iOS will "catch up" to the supposedly modernistic look, feel, or functionality of Android. When the news that iOS 7 would have a "flatter" look that iOS was greeted with such enthusiasm as a long-overdue design decision, my thought was, "...um, but I kinda like the 3D-ish, bubbly little icons. If I wanted a Windows 8 device, I'd get one-- hell, they're slashing prices on 'em all the time." Having gotten a better feel for iOS 7, I now no longer feel that the major thrust of its redesign is a mere lurch toward the visuals of Windows 8 or Android (in fact, I think iOS 7 is actually an amazingly distinctive, and, yes, INNOVATIVE beast, the potential of which we've only begun to glimpse), but it is the case that it largely does away with the instantly recognizable of the look and feel of previous generations of Apple devices. Personally, for me, I'm aware that it's a departure from the world of Steve Jobs-- not in philosophy or spirit, I understand, but it's literally the first UI in years that Steve would find unfamiliar if he were suddenly resurrected today-- and that carries a twinge of sadness. The point being, you may not want to upgrade to iOS 7 simply because it's very different in some (but certainly not all) respects from the iOS some of us truly came to love over the years. And that may be reason enough.
For what it's worth-- I'm going to be putting iOS 7 on my iPad Mini (a largely ancillary device for me) first, then probably my iPhone 4S (my primary device, which I plan to replace with a 5S on Friday), and I'll wait to get some reports on how iOS 7 does on iPad 2's before putting it on my iPad 2 (which I'll probably be replacing with a new generation iPad whenever they're announced).