iOS 7 GM (Gold Master) On iPhone 5 – Early Impressions

All the talk right now is understandably centered around the two new smartphones that Apple will be unleashing to the world on September 20th. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were officially unveiled by Phil Schiller at Apple’s Cupertino Campus yesterday, and the two will no doubt be hugely popular with buyers next week. While the hardware is certainly catching the eye, the new handsets are more than just some new specs or fancy plastics. There’s iOS 7, too.

I’ve been using the beta releases of iOS 7 from day one, and I’ve been keeping you all apprised of how they have progressed from iOS 7 beta 1, right through to iOS 7 beta 6 that I was running till this morning. Now though, my iPhone 5 is running the latest, and last iOS 7 version that we will see – iOS 7, Golden Master.

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The final build of iOS 7, and bar any last minute changes the version that will launch on September 18th, the GM should be as stable as stable gets, and there shouldn’t be any surprises as far as features are concerned when the big release comes. Apple is still Apple though, so we won’t rule out anything at this point.

So, iOS 7 GM download went live after the event yesterday, and I’ve been using it for a few hours now. What’s new? Well, not a lot, really. You’ve probably already seen the new wallpapers that have been added, with the majority clearly aimed at the new, more colorful iPhone 5c handsets that will go on sale next week. They’re nice and all, but they don’t tend to sit too well on my black iPhone 5 – especially the bright red one! Still, if you’re really fond of bright colors, or indeed color blind, then you may well like what you see.

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There are new ring and alert tones, too. Mostly you’re going to notice newly revamped versions of all the classics, which is nice. The new tones especially get a big thumbs-up, but it’s not exactly going to make anyone rush out to buy an iPhone over the competition. Still, anything new is a bonus here.

As has been the case with other beta releases, the biggest change is the speed at which things happen. Animations seem to have been cut shorter once more, and things are again snappier than with previous betas. Apple seems to have been tweaking things throughout the beta process, trying to find a happy medium between speed and having fancy animations to show off. I’d rather things work quickly than have to sit and watch something slide around my screen before I can do anything, but maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way.

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We’re now just a week away from iOS 7 being something that everyone can get their hands on, and I think people will like it. Once the jarring icons have settled into everyone’s consciousness and they’re all used to the new colors, I’m sure they will come to admit that iOS 7 feels more modern, more alive than previous releases of Apple’s mobile OS. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

And you can’t ask for more than that!

You can Download iOS 7 GM for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from iOS Dev Center.

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