I've been using an iPhone5 for almost a year to the day and I've been more than happy with iOS6 up to this point. It's snappy and responsive and everything works as it should, for the most part. This will be a direct comparison review of iOS 6/7 and it's goal is to sway you to upgrade without a second thought.
The update process was pretty straightforward, update iTunes 11 to 11.1 and restart for changes to take effect. After plugging in my iPhone, it immediately prompted me to download and update to iOS 7. The download took a little while, about 45 minutes, which I suspect is because EVERYONE and their dogs are trying to download it at the moment. The whole process took about an hour, I didn't lose any data, contacts, music, apps, etc...(As an aside, you COULD download iOS 7 OTA but it requires 3gb of space to do it, screw that!)
When you first boot you're greeted with a punch in the face of streamlined colours, where everything seems to fade in and out of sight, VERY smooth and VERY modern looking. You'll immediately notice that your home screen looks quite different, several major apps have different icons including Messages, Camera, Weather and Safari. The bottom bar is also floating on a grey bevel of sorts and there isn't a hard edge in sight.
Efficiency was definitely the name of the game here, slide up and you're surprised to find several frequently used apps: Clock, Calculator, Camera and the new Flashlight (ABOUT TIME!) From this menu you also have music control, brightness, wifi, bluetooth, basically anything that you used to have to go into Settings in order to toggle now is a single swipe away. This reminds me a lot of Android OS and that's a GOOD thing. Slide down and you'll meet the new notification center, no longer a garbled mess like in iOS6. You can sort by today's notifications, missed notifications and all notifications. Everything is bigger and clearer to read, I always found myself squinting to see all the missed alerts I had received over night.
Every native Apple app has been overhauled; you open Weather and you'll see the active weather in your area, animated in a very cool way. Everything is clear and easy on the eyes. Information like wind speed and chance of rain has also been added. I don't see a need for any 3rd party weather app which is a big plus for saving the limited space I have on my 16gb iPhone, in fact several native apps seem to have effectively removed the need for repetitive 3rd party offerings.
This takes me to the much anticipated Camera app revisions. I have a confession to make, I have 4 folders of photography related apps, FOUR. The funny thing is that when I want to take a quick pic, I simply swipe up from the lock screen and use the native camera app. It wasn't AMAZING but it got the job done. Several cool new features have been added that make things smoother for one hand operation: swiping from camera to video to pano to square, added filters and one touch HDR. The iPhone5 and iPod Touch 5th Gen can live preview 9 simultaneous art filters and let you choose these filters after the fact as well, this is obviously VERY influenced by the increasing popularity of Instagram and other photo sharing sites. These upgrades extend into the gallery as well, which now displays your pics in a very clean and organized way, allowing you to view pictures based on their location, a very cool feature as you travel around.
When I swiped off the first page of apps I was quite surprised to find how iOS 7 handles folders now. Before, I had several folders neatly titled and arranged by type: Photography 1, 2, 3, 4, Games 1, 2, 3, etc... but they have now done away with maximum icons in a single folder, so I can actually have a Photography folder with ALL photo-related apps, and a Games folder with all games. I'm still not sure if I prefer this method over the previous method, I'm worried I'll be scrolling through tabs upon tabs of games to find the game at the end, but time will tell how this works out. The folders only show a 3x3 grid of 9 apps at a time vs. the 16 apps that it used to show all at once. It'll take some time for me to tweak these new folders to my liking but should condense a lot of wasted space.
I'm not sure if this is new to iOS 7 or not but the Settings seem to have a lot more relevant stuff to configure now as well. Banff just recently went LTE but I've noticed a massive battery life hit over the last week or two and I blame this transition, to be honest I don't need the LTE speed and I noticed in iOS 7 I can toggle LTE off. I'll run some battery tests and see if it makes a whole heck of a difference. On that note, I don't know what to think about battery life with iOS 7, I've only had a battery life issue recently but hopefully iOS 7 is a little bit more optimized for LTE and other such new fandangled features.
When I bought my iPhone there was one feature that I didn't think I would ever use but found to be quite cool, and that was Siri. I can't think of an appropriate analogy to describe how much BETTER Siri is this time around, but try it a couple times and you'll see it's like night and day. Every question I could think of it had a fast and accurate response for, need to know the weather, a phone number, the answer to a skill testing question, Siri knows it. I asked it a few questions and there was no hesitation, it blew me away. Some have said that iOS 7 has finally brought Siri out of beta and they were right! And if you don't want to activate Siri by holding the home button you can toggle it to activate when you hold it up to your ear like a real phone call, very clever.
There have been reports of keyboard lag from some iPhone4/4s users but I haven't experienced any of this, it fact there are noticeable speed increases in general use and especially in Facebook, everything seems snappier, no hesitation at any point. Some users have also reported that their iPhones still indication that 6.1.4 is the latest version, to them I say please be patient as today is the first official release date of iOS 7 and it's worth the wait.
Thanks for reading.