Am I the only one astounded by the lack of iOS7.1 at Apple's event last week?
As we all know, iOS7 was a pretty hot landing for Apple, with a huge visual redesign, several new features, and wealth of new APIs. Much of that work (certainly the aesthetic) was developed at a breakneck pace following the departure of Scott "Outcast" Forstall last October. Rerouting the iOS roadmap so significantly, in such a short amount of time, was no trivial exercise. What they achieved in the available time was quite remarkable if you think about it, and I for one was happy to tolerate a "grace period" for them to tidy up the rough edges.
But its almost November now, and "good enough" is no longer good enough. On the iPad in particular, iOS7 is seriously rough around the edges, with a plethora of bugs and several apps flat-out unfinished. I mean, has anyone looked at the album/artist/song view in the Music.app on iPad?! A single-column list view, surrounded by an ocean of empty white space. That cannot conceivably be a deliberate, minimalist design decision. It is simply unfinished. Aside from looking rough, it is a usability disaster - scrolling though even a modestly-sized music collection (let alone a full iTunes Match catalogue) is hopeless. Is a damning example of "stretching a phone application to a tablet". The irony that Apple should be guilty of such a charge is not lost.
I fully expected an iOS7.1 tidy-up, and was convinced that it was coming at the October event. It would have made perfect sense:
- iOS7 must have been locked by the very end of August in order to burn it onto in-production iPhone 5s/5c devices for the 20 September launch.
- That would have given the developers a full 7 weeks to work on iOS7.1 in time for the 22 October event.
- There's a reason that Apple didn't demo iOS7 on iPad at WWDC. The iPad build has always been a good few weeks behind the iPhone in development (hence no iPad beta for several weeks after WWDC). A demo at the September event was out for the same reason of incompleteness, but also for the more obvious reason that there was no iPad hardware being unveiled at the event.
- If iOS7.1 were going to arrive this year, it really needed to make the October event - not least because Apple HQ is completely shutting down over Thanksgiving, meaning that any point release really needs to be out in advance (long enough to still leave time to squash any new bugs that leak through...).
The October iPad event was therefore the perfect opportunity to deliver iOS7.1 - the version of iOS7 that iPad should have had from the beginning, had time and resources permitted. They would have had a platform to demo all of the improvements and to show a polished, tailored build of iOS7 for iPad that was no longer scaled up iPhone software; this would, in turn, have allowed them to reinforce their refrain about "hardware, software and services working in harmony".
But Apple didn't do that.
If you think about it, it really is quite remarkable that Apple could launch two major updates to its iPad line, and yet not deliver a single demo of them in use!
So... whither iOS7.1? Now that I have been proven spectacularly wrong in my prediction that it would land at last week's event, when do you all expect it to arrive?