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    The New Apple ios 14, Curious?



    ios,ios 14, apple, apple iphone,iphone,new

    I’d stumbled into the platform holy wars.

    Even though I’d been testing and playing with Apple’s iOS 14 update betas for months, I hadn’t offered much public commentary on the good, bad, or indifferent of the new iPhone operating system. In hindsight, I probably needn’t have waited so long. From the very first beta, iOS 14 was one of Apple’s most stable platform releases and I was confidentially running it on a phone that I could use every day, though it was not my primary phone.

    In any case, on release day, I downloaded iOS 14 on my primary iPhone, which gave me a chance to experience the OS anew. The great thing about it is, if you want to live in a familiar iOS 13 world, you kind of can. iOS 14 doesn’t force a lot of changes on the user up front but, if you choose, it can be one of the most significant cosmetic and functional updates in years.

    I know, I keep digressing. Sorry, I’m just a little shell-shocked.

    Going full iOS

    As I was setting up my primary iPhone with a final iOS 14 release, I set about adding the new home screen widgets by pressing and holding on the home screen until a “+” sign appeared in the upper righthand corner. Widgets come in two sizes and with a lot of options. They’re also stackable, which means that each widget can contain multitudes (News, Calendar, and Maps, for instance). Finally, you can drag and drop them to almost any position on your home screen (or secondary and tertiary app screens); the app icons respectfully scoot out of the way as you move the widgets around. I was having fun customizing. Ultimately, I chose two widgets (one for photos because I love how it helps me rediscover great images). On impulse, I recorded the screen and posted my activity and reaction on twitter.

    I tweeted, “Who knew a Home Screen could be fun? #iOS14” with my screen recorded video. With that, I broke the cardinal rule of platforms: never state your love or appreciation for one, because everyone assumes you hate the other.

    I got dozens of derisive comments and retweets, especially from the Android faithful who basically responded with, “Every Android user,” because Android’s had widgets for a long time. Windows Phones devotees, who still cling to the defunct mobile platform, also chimed in to remind me that Microsoft pioneered Tiles. And, yes, there were some who mentioned Blackberry and even Palm.

    Why did Android users, in particular, feel attacked because I expressed an honest emotion regarding a fresh mobile OS upgrade, and how did they construe that I was immediately dismissing all other operating systems? And what made them think that I’m some sort of iOS purist?

    Platform realities

    To be honest, most of the people who responded like that sound a little threatened. I think they worry that if iOS reaches parity in one area with Android, it could threaten Android’s global dominance. It’s a wrong-headed and extremely narrow or ill-informed view of the realities of the mobile OS global marketplace. I have no illusions about which platform is in the hands of more smartphone owners: Android has a roughly 74% global markshare.

    People also made a lot of gross assumptions about me, my intentions, and experience with mobile platforms. Many told me that Android has had widgets since 2008. Sure, but that platform was awful. It took years for Android to become as consumer friendly, useful, and consistent across devices as iOS. This isn’t hearsay. I sat at the T-Mobile G1 launch in 2008. The phone was promising but clunky.

    Android circa 2008 is isn’t Android today and, what most people who slammed me on Twitter didn’t seem to realize is that I’ve tried all the mobile OSes, and that I do own a Google Pixel 3 and use it almost every day. It’s even running Android 11, an excellent mobile OS with tremendous flexibility (and widgets, natch), though I still think it could learn a thing or two from iOS about ease of use and consumer friendliness.

    I have to wonder why platform enthusiasts insist on making this a zero-sum game. The implication is, “You cannot appreciate one without denigrating the other.” It’s like telling someone they cannot like ice cream and Italian ices, Marvel and DC, or Star Wars and Star Trek. Everyone must choose.

    But that’s not even how the companies that build these platforms see it. Apple Music runs on iOS and Android. Microsoft Office runs on Windows and iOS. Companies that make software and services wants to be wherever you are and, if they can avoid it, not make you choose.

    Why iOS 14 is great

    What people should do is step back and judge a platform on its merits. And iOS has many.

    Along with widgets, it now has an App Library that intelligently sorts and organizes all you apps into, little squares. You have to swipe through all your app screens to get to it, but it’s a useful addition.

    iOS 14 is one of the least modal Apple platforms in ages, finally letting you watch PiP video on top of your iOS home screen (it doesn’t work for YouTube, but it’s a start). It also lets you receive calls and ping Siri without either taking over the whole screen. In both cases, the services appear as smaller icons on top of whichever app you’re in.

    These are the kind of smart, subtle changes that measurably improve the platform experience without making it unrecognizable.

    I can finally pin my key contacts to the top of Messages, so I no longer have to go searching for our last correspondence (I put my whole family at the top of my screen).

    Maps, which I swear you can now trust, is a fantastic companion for your Apple Watch, and keeps getting better. I’m excited about the new bike routes which tell me, among other things, that my chosen route is “mostly flat” (now that’s good intel).

    iOS 14 even has something akin to a Star Trek Universal Translator (granted, it’s not as automatic or Universe-ally multi-lingual). You can use it in translate mode to auto-translate between, say, an English speaker and a Spanish one, or someone speaking Chinese (it has 11 languages). The system app handles translating, producing the proper text for each language on a landscape screen, and even speaks the translated words out loud. All you have to do is speak and listen (or read).

    iOS 14 is not perfect. In an effort to make the iPhone the most private and data-secure platform around, it now asks you about access to just about every bit of your data. Constant pop-ups from apps you haven’t used yet in iOS about whether or not it’s okay to access your photos can get annoying. All I can say is that, once you use the apps and OK this stuff, iOS 14 shouldn’t ask again.

    Now I get that not all of these features are brand new to the Mobile OS World, but they are new to iOS and iPhone users, literally hundreds of millions of people.

    Platform fans (or obsessives) believe that being first matters. If that were the case, Palm OS and even WAP would still be around. What matters is the relationship between existing users and platform developers and how the latter give the former access to new tools and features that will improve their mobile lives.

    For those of you who “read my bio” and were shocked or disappointed by my attitude, I say this: It’s exactly because of my 30-plus years of experience with tech products, services, and platforms that I think about platforms in this way. There is no one platform for all, nor would I want there to be.


    Lance Ulanoff

    Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.

    “iOS 14 is Great. Deal with it

    Now that I’m using iOS 14 full-time, I’m appreciating it more and paying the price for my pleasure”, Medium, Sep 18,2020 accessed on Sep 20,2020

    Phot Illustration: Alex Kuzoian

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