There’s a certain obsession with bleeding edge software. It’s so new! It’s so shiny! It’s so going to change how we all live and breathe and… oh, wait. It doesn’t work? Well, that’s the problem. Most of these new! shiny! apps don’t actually work. I’ve downloaded dozens of these (new! shiny!) apps over the last few months to discover they are buggy or don’t work as promised. With Apple’s announcement of iOS 5 yesterday at WWDS, every Apple fanboy (and girl) is hot to jump on iOS 5. The problem is that iOS 5 is still in beta for developers, and isn’t scheduled to be delivered to consumers until the fall. Which, in terms of gadget-speak, is practically forever.
So what did all these Apple gadget geeks do until the break of dawn this morning? Figured out a way to download iOS 5, of course. Many worked with friends with developer accounts to sneak an official beta onto their iPhones to test out iCloud and the new notifications — but others, as noted in Gizmodo, found an entire workaround with “simple” instructions for those too broke (or without connections) to use iOS 5 today. Just find an illegal file, torrent it down, swipe here, click three times, and you’ll be home… with iOS 5. Sounds almost as scary as moments of Wizard of Oz was.
And it should sound scary. It’s easy to brick an iPhone or iPad trying to “upgrade” to the latest beta of iOS – and then end up losing the next six hours of your life trying to recover the device just because you didn’t have enough patience. Already, people are experiencing errors when upgrading to the iOS 5 beta (yes, even with the developer version). Personally, I like my phone — which is what the iPhone is, in case people forget — to work. Emergencies happen, and although I might make a phone call on average less than once a day, I want to make sure it works in case I need to answer the phone, make an outgoing call, or receive in important incoming text. I can’t risk bricking my iPhone by upgrading to an unfinished OS just because I want better notifications. I don’t thrive on instant gratification at the expense of having a phone that actually works.
But perhaps I’m just not geeky enough to have backup options. I’m sure those of you taking the plunge have other phones and methods of communication so that whether or not iOS 5 “works” is actually irrelevant. As for me, I’ll stick with what I know works — and I’ll see the rest of you with iOS 5 on my iPhone in the fall.