With each passing day, my unfinished writeup of thoughts on iOS 7 seems less and less like it’s going to happen. Hopefully in the next week sometime.
Meanwhile, here’s something I discovered in iOS 7 last night: if you pull the speech bubbles in Messages to the left just slightly, the interface reveals time stamps for each individual message. There’s also a subtle but noticeable color change in the blue bubbles, drawing attention away from them towards the new information coming onto the stage. Fantastic.
When I mentioned this on Twitter, some folks complained that, clever as it is, it’s not very discoverable. Normally, hiding this feature in this way would seem somewhat user-unfriendly. But I think this is an elegant solution to a long-running but minor complaint about this app.
Since its inception, Messages has only selectively displayed time stamps, usually after a long lull between exchanged messages. I admit having wanted to see the time stamps on plenty of occasions, but not so much so that it broke the experience of using the app for me. In fact, I think that Apple made the right call originally: only show time stamps where they add meaningful value; anything more is superfluous. I still regard these time stamps as superfluous; but this new availability is the best of both worlds: the time stamps are there, but they add no visual clutter until the user actively calls for them.
I still take issue with iOS 7’s many glaring imperfections, but I admit that I’m finding it really enjoyable too. Stuff like this, small as it is, counts for a lot.