This is just too easy this year. Apple has decided to break from historical methodology and allow just about anyone to get their hands on the latest and greatest with preview versions of macOS Sierra and iOS 10. Preview is how you say beta in 2016. I’ve been running both for about a month on an older Mac and older iPhone, respectively, and come to a basic set of conclusions.
Mac first. Rather macOS Sierra. This may be Apple’s most refined operating system to date, but the real fun is having Siri on the Mac. And it’s not the same Siri as you’ve known since the days of iPhone 4. This Siri is smart and with hooks to third party applications Siri will get smarter.
iOS 10 is where the mobile action is and Apple does not disappoint, and after a few weeks of tinkering around with it, upgrading to newer versions a few times, I’ve come to a two-fold conclusion.
The best and worst of iOS 10 is obvious after just a few minutes of use.
First up, iOS 10 is, well, for lack of a better word– snappy. It’s fast, or at least, it appears, feels, seems faster than iOS 9. The last two upgrades to newer preview versions have improved stability. A few third party apps have crashed but everything else has worked surprisingly well. Everything– so far, of course– just works, works well, and seems remarkably stable for what amounts to a beta release. That’s the good news.
iOS 10 is a work in progress and the improvements made since the first public preview version are notable. Battery life is very good, for example. iOS 10 is at once familiar and new and using it is refreshing– except for the Home screen and the Home button.
Button first. If you loved using Touch ID in iOS 9 you’re in for a surprise. Instead of getting to your apps with one simple touch to the Home button, two touches are required. Touch #1 makes the home screen visible so you can see alerts, notifications, and other goodies. Touch #2 gets you to your apps.
Why the change? Because more and more we’re using the Home screen to see what’s going on, Apple picked up on that trend, and started shoving everything onto the Home screen so we don’t always need to go to the apps to get things done.
That brings up what’s going on with the Home screen and it’s the worst of iOS 10. But don’t blame Apple. Yet.
The Home screen is where everything happens in iOS 10, often negating the needs to open a corresponding app after reading a notification or viewing an alert. In fact, the Home screen is swimming in information with big bulbous boxes that range from Mail to Messages and everything in-between– Facebook, Instagram, and more alerts than you thought possible, with many of them actuated using 3D Touch instead of going direct to the app. That saves a touch step or two, but it’s a bit disconcerting at first because the screen is awash in notifications that were mostly ignored in iOS 9.
For example, the Control Center box now has multiple panes; swipe left to reveal more settings. Some of the buttons are huge, contain a small icon, and require a description, while other icon buttons are small and don’t even have a name to signify what they are.
Yes. And apparently confusing enough that Apple tossed in a setting to let you go back to iOS 9 functionality. Progress is like karma. It can be a bitch sometimes.
You’re going to like what’s in iOS 10 but you’re also going to be surprised at the changes to the Home screen which makes the first view of iOS 10 seem cluttered and clunky.