Sunday, September 22, 2013

All This Technology Goodness


Oh yes! That, my friends, is a look at my iPad home screen now that IOS 7 has been installed.  And to many of you, you may want to skip this post because it won't really mean a whole lot.  Especially if you're sitting there asking yourself what on earth an IOS 7 is.

And that's not a dig at anyone lacking technology knowledge, it's simply stating that if you don't own an Apple product, you might have no idea about what I'm going to talk about.

So, for the first time since owning an Apple product, I'm extremely excited about the fancy new make-over they've decided to give to their gadgets.  It's user friendly, sharp looking, and extremely helpful when trying to be organized.

I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning while my iPhone and iPad updated last night.  I'd seen posts start to appear on Facebook about others getting their new toy...and I wanted mine.  And I sat, kinda patiently, waiting for it to happen.

When they were done, I was ready to start exploring.

So, I guess if you haven't already figured it out, this post is basically just going to be my first impressions of IOS 7.  Here we go...

My first encounter came from a tutorial giving me a heads up on the new security features that have been installed.  I had the option of setting a passcode before, but now it's become suggested that I use one.  So I set one up.  I had to enter in my Apple ID and was informed that NO ONE would ever be able to use or change any settings on my phone or iPad without that password.  That's also very handy for the Find my iPhone/iPad feature that's installed.  Without my password, there's no way to turn it off.  Which is really nice if someone decides to take off with either of them....or if I misplace one of them, which is probably a lot more likely.

Once I got through the security steps, I was greeted with my new homescreen.  And I think it looks pretty fancy.  The folders are now all like mini home screens.  I no longer need three folders just for games, because all of my games can fit in to one folder...there's NO limit to how many apps I can put in to one folder.  That's a huge incentive for me... because I have A LOT of apps on my iPad, and I'm one of those people that likes to be able to find them and not dig through several folders until I locate the one I need.

I also discovered that I can now access most of the settings right from the home screen, without having to go in to the Settings app.  It looks like this...


With just a swipe of my hand, I can see that fancy little tool bar pop up on the bottom of my screen.  And from that tool bar, I can control the volume, the brightness, turn on Bluetooth, Airplane mode, and Wifi.  I can also put my device to sleep or lock the screen.  And those are really handy on my iPad, because I use a case that basically turns my iPad in to a laptop...and I usually have to take the iPad out of the case in order to access the lock button.  Not anymore!!  I also have instant access to my photos/camera and the clock app.

On the iPhone, on the same tool bar, they have included the calculator app and the flashlight app.  That's really smart.  I don't know how many times I've had to figure out where my flashlight option is, in the complete dark.  Or having to go through folders to find my calculator.  Now, it's right at my fingertips with a quick swipe from the home screen.

The other big update that has gotten me super excited is the release of iTunes Radio.  I played around with the new feature last night, and I found that it's almost identical to Pandora.  Yet, I can do a few extra things with the iTunes version.  Apple wasn't stupid when they put this feature together.  There are hundreds of pre-made radio stations to choose from that cover just about every genre of music.  And when a song plays, you get to see the album art and are given an option to buy the song with just a few taps on the screen.  Smart.  No more having to search through iTunes to download that one song you love..the minute you hear it, you can buy it.  And if buying it right then isn't what you want to do, you can add it to a Wish List for later purchase.

The added features that make me think I might prefer this option over Pandora are the "Do not Play this artist" feature and the "Play more like this" feature.  

When a song comes on, you get a couple of options.  You can request that more songs be played just like it, or you can ban the singer from showing up again on that station.  Hubby got all giddy with that option, because he can type in the words Justin Bieber and know that he will never have to worry about being tormented with the one singer that makes him want to dig his eardrums out.  And I'm pretty sure he'll be adding Miley Cyrus and One Direction to that list as well.  

While the radio has TONS of pre-made stations to choose from, you also have the option of creating your own stations.  Just like Pandora, you type in an artist and set up a station.  You can also add different artists to the same station, if you want a station that will play a variety of music.  

I use Pandora quite a bit at work.  My work station is Enya radio.  It plays soft melodies that help me stay focused while working, and I play it while my kiddos are taking a test of reading quietly.  It seems to help them focus, too.

I do have a couple of Pop and Rock stations on Pandora, but I don't like to play them when the kids are in the room because Pandora will sometimes play songs that aren't censored.  Now, with iTunes Radio, I can customize a station where I won't have to worry.  I can ban certain artists from showing up, and there are lots of "kid friendly" options available in the pre-made stations.

In fact, as I was playing around with the radio last night, I wondered why on earth I'm paying $15 a month for Sirius radio in my car.  And then it hit me that Sirius comes through satellite, where as my phone has to be connected to 4G to be able to play.  That wouldn't be so bad, except half of my drive to work is through a "dead zone" and so the iTunes Radio wouldn't really help me for my morning and afternoon commutes.  Maybe if cell service becomes available in those areas, I might ditch Sirius altogether and just use the free iTunes Radio.  OK, they have a few commercials here and there, but one 30 second commercial every 5-10 minutes is livable.

All in all, I'm really happy so far.  I downloaded all the App updates that went with the new operating system, and they all seem to be a lot more streamlined and user friendly too.  Facebook looks completely different, once again.  But, it seems to be a little easier to navigate through it.

I'm sure, as the days go on, I'll discover new tools and maybe even discover a few flaws...but for the time being, I'm just going to take advantage of what IOS 7 has given me and figure out the best ways to put the features to good use.

But, right now, I have to think about getting ready for some grocery shopping...or we won't be eating this week.

Have a great Sunday!!


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