iOS 8 Whoa’s & Woes

iOS 8 has now been available for the public to download for a couple of days now, and I’ve spent some quality time with the latest iOS version on a couple different devices. If you don’t want to read my detailed experience below, here’s the gist of it:

Your enjoyment of and attitude toward iOS 8 will vary greatly depending on the device it’s running on.

iOS 8 on the iPad 2 (WiFi only)

Because I work for a finance software company, I have access to the latest developer previews of Apple software and operating systems. I had downloaded and installed the iOS 8 GM version on my 16GB iPad 2 (WiFi only) a good week or so ahead of the public release. If you aren’t familiar with GM, it’s the abbreviation for Golden Master, and it’s typically identical to the version that gets released to the public (but those with Apple Developer accounts get to see and have it first).

My initial reaction to iOS 8 on the iPad 2 was that it really didn’t look all that different from iOS 7 (and I wasn’t expecting it to since iOS 7 was a major UI overhaul). I was most interested in checking out the new Health app in iOS 8, and was disappointed that Apple chose to make it an iPhone-only app.

Once I started using various (stock) apps on my iPad 2, such as Safari, it became overwhelmingly clear that this initial release of iOS 8 was significantly crippling the functionality. Just trying to enter in a URL in the address bar of Safari was painful because of the massive lag and lack of responsiveness of the on-screen keyboard. To make sure this was a fair assessment of iOS 8, I made sure to keep a little over 5.5GB available on my iPad 2 and only run one app at a time (force-quitting them immediately when done using them). In addition, I limited the apps I did test to only those for which iOS 8 compatibility updates had been released (and there are a lot of apps that are not iOS 8 compatible yet).

Aside from the extreme sluggishness when trying to use iOS 8 on the iPad 2, there are also several new features in iOS 8 that will not be available on older hardware such as the iPad 2.

  • Health app (only available on iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 plus; iPod Touch (5th generation)
  • Continuity–Handoff features (only available on iPhone 5 or later; iPad (4th gen.), iPad Air; iPad Mini (1st gen.), iPad Mini with Retina Display; iPod Touch (5th gen.).
  • Safari full-screen view and tab view (iPhones only–4s or later; iPod Touch (5th gen.)
  • AirDrop (only available on iPhone 5 or later; iPad (4th gen); iPad Mini; iPod Touch (5th gen.); requires iCloud account
  • TouchID

For me personally, not having those features available for the iPad 2 isn’t an issue. I’d much rather be without certain features as long as the version of iOS doesn’t cripple my device.

The iPad Mini (1st gen.) has the exact same processor as the iPad 2, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer that I won’t be upgrading to iOS 8 on my Mini either. If I had an iPad Mini with Retina Display, I probably would upgrade to iOS 8 because that device has the same processor as the iPad Air, and shouldn’t have any issues running the latest release.

It’s possible Apple may include various patches and tweaks for older hardware in a future update to iOS 8.0 so it runs better, but until then, I’ve actually reverted back to iOS 7.1.2 on my iPad 2.

Verdict: Woe 

iOS 8 on the iPhone 6

There’s really not much to say about this one–if you have or are getting an iPhone 6 it comes with iOS 8 (all of the new features work) and you get the added bonus of the snazzy new hardware abilities too. I upgraded from a 4s to the 6 (and was lucky enough to score one on launch day without pre-ordering) and while the larger phone size will take some time to get used to, I’m glad I jumped for the 6 over the 5s. I’ll be writing a separate blog post that discusses my own experiences with the iPhone 6 and will add the link to this entry for those that want to read it.

Verdict: Whoa

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