The Wrap: 12 June

The Wrap: 12 June

Hands on with iOS 7

One of the handy things about having an app in the Apple App Store is the iOS developer centre , which comes with early access to new builds of the operating system. After downloading and playing with the beta version of iOS 7 for iPhone I've come to the conclusion that Apple's made real strides to compete with Android, but has managed to get hit by the ugly stick on the way.

Most people consider Apple's design philosophy to be leading the pack. I've never been a fan of glass bubbles and brushed metal interfaces – which is why the move away from skeumorphic design (the end of digital leather calendars) is appealing. Not for any reason of great importance – I just like the things I use to look nice, is all.

The latest look for iOS is jarring. It's as if a unicorn barfed up on my phone after a night of eating Skittle burritos. The design feels unfinished and not in a charming artistic way. While this is a flat design similar to Windows Phone, Apple has included small visual cues such as the parallax effect background to to make the operating system feel anything but flat – these small elements are very attractive and help save an otherwise unsightly mess.

The most useful new feature I've found myself using constantly is the control panel, which swipes up from the bottom of the screen. As its name suggest, this menu controls the phone including wifi, screen rotation, music and brightness. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a toggle for turning 3G on and off like which would've been incredibly useful.

True multitasking is finally available with iOS 7. The 'previously used' apps menu (reached by double-tapping the Home button) now brings up a card flow-type display showing the last screen of the most recent apps you've used. Unfortunately only the stock Apple apps have the required software to make multitasking work, but by the time this software ships in Q3 I suspect all the major apps will have it too.

There are no longer limits to the number of apps that can fit in a folder. They go as deep and wide as your iTunes account allows it. And yes, you can finally hide away that unused Newsstand app in the junk folder. Hoorah!

Unsurprisingly for a beta the performance is still herky-jerky, hanging on some of the gorgeous (but unpredictable) new app animations. I haven't noticed a significant change in battery life.

Overall, I think if Apple can smooth out some of the performance issues by launch (which it will), and take another look at the design (which it might, but not likely) – it'll have another winner on its hands.

Privacy, shmivacy

"If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide." This old adage is spouted by apologists for those who seek to erode away our civil liberties, chief among them privacy from the intrusions of the Government.

The PRISM scandal in the US shows there's very little privacy to be had on the internet but it's not just a problem for the US. In front of the New Zealand Parliament is proposed changes to the GCSB Bill and TICS Bill which could be far worse than anything PRISM grants.

Tomorrow is the last day to make submissions for the changes and I urge you to send an email with your thoughts – whether they are for or against – to GCSB.bill@parliament.govt.nz.

Sony FTW!

At the E3 gaming conference in the US earlier this week, Sony not only cemented the PlayStation 4 as one of the hottest gifts for this coming Summer, but also managed to blow Microsoft out of the water for its boneheaded stance on digital rights management (DRM).

The Xbox One – or XBone if you're particularly furious – has received a lot of flak in the past few weeks for its tedious levels of DRM, which includes requiring the new Xbox to connect to the internet every day to continue playing and limiting which games can be shared or resold, and how.

The PlayStation 'instructional' video below is a bit of tongue and cheek from Sony about Microsoft's recent strife.