2016.10.11iOS 10 and the iPhone 7

I think Apple generally does a good job with their incremental improvements to the iPhone platform and firmware. So when I heard that iOS 10 was being touted as the biggest upgrade to iOS ever, I didn't have tremendous expections.

Then I watched the reveal event. And I got excited.

But that excitement was nothing compared to how it actually performs.

I've owned an iPhone ever since the iPhone 3G was introduced. I dumped my Windows OS Smartphone because I was really getting sick of having to use a stylus to dial the unit. "Why couldn't we have a smartphone that has buttons and controls actually designed for our digits?", I wondered. Then the iPhone hit the market. Bye-bye stylus. So long, itty bitty buttons. Apple started from the ground up with its phone -- with an object you can hold in one hand and operate with your thumb. The examined the typical range of motion, and designed the keyboard to reflect it. Apple's knack for beautiful and functional design has never left them. And their newest offerings certainly reflect that.

My wish list for iOS 10 was comparatively short. Perhaps my biggest pain point with the previous versions was the crowded and tiny interface for playing music. So I am thrilled with the interface redesign in iOS 10. Finally the controls for the player are easy to read and easy to use.

The new OS worked very well on my iPhone 6 Plus, but the addition of haptic feedback (introduced in the 6s) adds a new sensory dimension for the user -- even ringtones and alert tones have haptic counterparts. And the long-press, is fantastic -- using them, I can be more productive by having common functions for various applications all available right from the Home Screen. Perhaps the most useful example I can offer is how the long press is applied to message replies. In the past, you could reply to the message from the lock screen, but you couldn't see any embedded images, and were limited to typing text on a mini-form that was flown in from the top of the screen. In iOS 10, your reply now brings up the entire message -- including images, and you reply from an interface that more closely resembles the full messaging interface. It's much more complete and far closer to the full experience. The only drawback to the long-press gesture is that the system seems to get confused now when my intention is to rearrange icons on the Home Screen.

Live photos are fun. I think they're cooler to have than they are to display on the Lock Screen, but the Lock Screen feature is certainly eye candy for the prospective buyer.

There are so many nice upgrades in iOS 10 I couldn't hope to mention them all. . . but iOS 10 really is an absolutely fantastic upgrade, even without the iPhone 7.

And the huge wow factor on the iPhone 7 Plus is the camera. It simply takes beautiful photos. I took a picture of the shelf cloud of a storm sweeping through town one night last week, and posted it to Facebook right away. I had someone tell me that she HAD to buy the iPhone 7 based on that photo. Also useful (but personally untested): the unit has been redesigned to make it water-resistant.

In summary, I'm feeling a LOT of love for the new version of iOS -- way more than I have for other upgrades in the past. Many of these upgrades are evident in the course of my normal use of the phone, and I can't help but be impressed.

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