iOS 7: Hidden Features

The day has finally come.  It’s time to toss on those black turtleneck sweaters, jam in that USB cord into the crusty, grimy hole at the bottom of your iPhone, and update away.  Since I shelled out the big bucks for the developers kit, I’ve become quite familiar with the little nuances hidden within iOS 7’s sleek new interface.  Here a just a couple of things those people at Cupertino have snuck into the latest operating system:

  1. Please Update Your iTunes

Though one of the more subtle touches from Apple, iOS 7 allows users to sit on his or her laptop for a half hour, trying to install the latest update to iTunes.  This beautiful touch is more aesthetically pleasing than anything, as a beautiful download bar appears in either Safari or the App Store.  While not exactly new to the Apple mobile operating systems, users are drawn into the absolutely gorgeous finishes new to the required updates, be it “Error code 101” or the ever popular “Error code 102”.

2. Luxurious Relaxation Times

Part of Apple’s move towards a more user friendly experience has focused on removing the “techy” aesthetics.  With this update, Apple has virtually removed any semblance of techiness with its new feature of “lengthy download times”.  Yes, iOS 7’s download time has been increased to such an enjoyable length that it will feel like you’re not dealing with any technology at all.  For several hours, this reviewer could have dinner with his family, go for a run, and attend a concert and it felt like the phone was hardly operable at all! We’ve truly reached the pinnacle of the digital age, my friends.

3. Could Not Activate iPhone

This was an update that hit really close to home, and will be quite useful for yours truly.  Apple has added the wonderful enhancement of not being able to activate iPhones (seen in picture on the right).

One of the many new features of iOS7 over which the public is salivating.

One of the many new features of iOS7 over which the public is salivating.

With the old operating systems, receiving text messages and phone calls, reading emails, and just generally being able to use my iPhone was cumbersome at best.  iOS 7 eliminates said trials, and allows me to stare at a white screen for forty five minutes while debating the drive to the nearest Apple Store.  A few things that may go unappreciated about this enhancement: the typeface, the simplicity, and the surprisingly helpful advice.  “This may take a few minutes,” the words proclaim.  No, I think to myself.  It’s only felt like minutes, but this “problem” has persisted for several hours.  Thank you, Apple.

4. Twitter Integration

What’s that? They added this before? Sure, they may have added what they called “twitter integration” before, but Apple has really stepped up its game this year.  iOS 7 takes the current reliance on social media and adds another level with what they call “Twitter templates”.  These templates are really quite simple; the moment a user attempts to download iOS 7, he or she immediately sends out a tweet asking other if they have been able to successfully download and install the operating system.  Genius! No longer are people required to “be patient” or “have original thoughts”.  Apple has recognized the need for redundancy within 140 characters or less, and has brought such needs into the technological era.

If you love constant bitching and poop jokes, follow me @TuckChuckWilson.  I’ll be using my twitter templates later today if the “Could Not Activate iPhone” feature still exists.

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Grand Theft Auto V: World’s First Review

I recently received an advance copy of Rockstar’s highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V, and have been given the opportunity to provide the game’s very first review. After playing nearly ten hours, I can safely say I am well-versed and able to deliver an extensive review. Unfortunately for gamers everywhere, this reviewer is dismayed and downright confused with fifth iteration of this classic franchise.

Allow me to preface my review with a little background; I grew up on the Grand Theft Auto games, traversing the regions of Liberty and Vice City, but was quite excited with the prospects of returning to San Andreas, arguably Rockstar’s deepest territory. V promises a return to the last generation’s parody of Southern California, and this is its first mistake. Gone are the beaches, hookers, and crime syndicates, replaced exclusively with racetracks. Don’t get me wrong; I love racing. Vehicles have always been a major focus of the GTA franchise. What irks this reviewer, however, is the focus on racing in V. After popping in the game for the first time and selecting a race from the main menu, I was asked to select my car then immediately thrown into a race. Where was the introductory video, the character development, and the traveling to/from missions?

“Relax,” I thought to myself. “Maybe this is something new.” Little did I know how correct I was. With the wave of the checkered flag, I was off to the races. But the race got fairly monotonous quickly, and I decided this mission was not for me. Bailing on the race, I decided to hit triangle on my dualshock. “Huh? No I don’t want to go in reverse. I wanna get out of this ‘rari and bash in some bangers!” I thought they had changed the controls, but I was dead wrong. In V, they’ve done away with extra-vehicular activity. You can no longer get out of the car.

“That’s fine,” I suggested timidly to myself. “Drive-bys will have to do.” Guess what, folks: no guns either. It seems Rockstar, in an effort to appease various media outlets and concerned parents, have completely altered the game to enforce family values. The most havoc I caused during my gameplay was throwing on the horn and causing a public disturbance, and still did not see any sign of a wanted level. It’s clear public pressure has transitioned the series from a “Mature” rating towards an “E for Everyone” (seen on the right side of this column).

Rockstar's new addition to its gaming lineup leaves something desired.

Rockstar’s new addition to its gaming lineup leaves something desired.

The positives? I guess the graphics were pretty solid. And Rockstar has arguably improved its racing mechanics. These improvements, however, pale in comparison to the vast demotions its developers have chiseled away. I, admittedly, did not so much receive the game directly from Rockstar as much as I walked into EB games and bought a copy early. I was curious why none of my friends were able to buy the game, and how nobody had written a review of the game. If there is one other thing to take away from Rockstar’s latest installment, we must appreciate the developer’s time-saving strategies. People used to complain how long it would take to drive back to a mission point should a gamer have died prematurely. GTA heeded said complaints, and certainly removed any chance of death during a race. They also, however, saved time in the game’s shortened title; “GTA” has apparently been shortened to “GT”, but its focus on “Auto” still reigns supreme in this video game giant.

In closing, those who loved the series will be in for a rude awakening. **/****

For more poignant observations, follow me @TuckChuckWilson