Last night I held a dinner party at home to celebrate the introduction of iOS. It arrived at 6 pm London time, a tad early to eat but needs must when Apple drives. Around the table were five iPhones and three iPads and we started the installation process dead on six. Several Lightning cables were snaking around the condiments. We had a mixed starter of results, however. My iPhone installed and was up and running within ten minutes. The iPad, on the other hand, downloaded the new OS very, very slowly. Then, when it got to verification stage it bombed out.
I read on the newsfeeds that this was a problem at Apple’s data centres so didn’t worry overmuch. Still, my iPad mini was refusing the verification process all evening and it wasn’t until this morning that I was able to get iOS 7 running. My guests had better luck but with varying speeds. Some devices took an hour to download and install, others just a few minutes. None of this is unexpected, particularly bearing in mind that this is almost certainly the biggest attempted synchronised download of an operating system in history.
By the pudding we were all stabbing away at the new control centre, the notifications and admiring the new icons. Two guests were very disappointed (they don’t take kindly to change at the best of times and especially not over cheesecake) and asked if they could go back to iOS 6. I advised patience and by the time coffee arrived all but one guest had embraced the new OS.
For my part, I knew what to expect. I’ve seen several demos over the past few months and I was ready to love iOS 7. I do love it. To me, it is just as exciting as getting a new phone or tablet. Apple has performed a conjuring trick in making what is essentially a new device available to hundreds of millions of users without expecting them to spend a penny. It’s no wonder Apple’s servers were overloaded at launch hour but over the next few days we can expect massive uptake of the new system.
This military style operation, despite the delays and glitches, is a vindication of relying on the Apple Eco-system. No other hardware manufacturer can offer such an instant upgrade to the operating system and expect a near-universal uptake within days.