Latest underwhelming iOS update shows that customers deserve better

Dylan Grosser, Columnist

The yearly software update to Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS) is now out and ready to download for all iPhone users. Every September, the internet swells with hype over what features Apple will introduce in the new iOS, with disappointment inevitably following once the update actually drops. And this year is unfortunately no different with the lackluster iOS 13.

Although this update has featured a moderate amount of changes, the only ones either useful or noticeable for consumers can be looked at as mediocre at best. The prime example being the “Dark Mode” option Apple is boasting, where users can change the aesthetic of particular apps from white to black — supposedly to be easier on the eyes. While interesting and potentially helpful, Apple marketing it as the most outstanding innovation for the brand new system shows how little they have to offer these days.

Besides Dark Mode, only faint changes were made to apps such as Photos, Camera, Reminders and Maps, that don’t change much and largely improve even less. A full list can be found on Apple’s website.

In the midst of the superficial changes made in this update (Memojis, Animojis and Apple Arcade), Apple did manage to improve the performance of iOS somewhat to make things such as apps and sign-in go faster. Minor tweaks such as this, however, are more expected than they are new and exciting. And I can’t understand why consumers needed to wait a whole year just for these improvements either.

The worst thing I’ve noticed about the new update is the newly added search feature in the Photos app. Essentially, you can now use keywords to search through your photo collection to find a particular picture in your phone. Problem is, this is done without you assigning tags or other descriptors to your pictures to make them searchable. Your library is artificially scanned to offer you “Search Suggestions,” which is a less creepier way Apple tells you a computer went through your photos and decided what is in them for you. There is no clear way to turn this off.

It could be argued that even if the regular updates aren’t wonderful, they’re at least “free.” But unfortunately that’s not the case. Software, especially in the case of Apple, is one component in the package of any smartphone that drives up the price. You’re already paying for these dull, uninspired updates every new iPhone you pay for.

I gave up a long time ago expecting a radically groundbreaking product from Apple every year, as you can only reinvent the wheel so many times. But as a customer that has been loyal to the brand for years, I’m slowly being drawn to other intuitive, cheaper alternatives for smartphones so long as Apple continues to charge more for stagnant innotivaton and unimaginative design.