The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS6 is finally upon us! The free OS update is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the iPod touch (4th generation) and the iPad 2 and the new iPad. Of course the iPhone 5 and the new iPod Touch (5th generation) ship with iOS6 pre-loaded. (lucky people!)
If you’re one of the many who don’t yet have the iPhone5 and have to download it, its easy to update just by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update directly from the device itself (or plugging the device of choice into a PC/Mac). Once connected you’ll see a ‘Download & Install’ button, provided you have enough space for it, the download process should be fairly easy, despite perhaps slow with all the other Apple fans eager to upgrade. For those of you willing to wait a few days, as tempting as it may be to do it immediately you may find the wait painful and the download process will be quicker in a few days.
There are 200+ new features but here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most prominent new OS key features:
Facebook, like Twitter on iOS 5, is now an integral part of the Apple OS experience. Users can post locations to Facebook directly from the maps app and also post photos on Facebook directly via the photos app. Users can post Facebook statuses from Siri by voice (pretty cool feature!)
ios6 Map Review:
After Apple ditched Google Maps for their in-house maps, there is definitely some chatter on whether this was a wise move. The new maps have a voice navigation feature and “flyover” three-dimensional images taken by helicopters hired by the company to fly over major cities. Apple maps is creating a lot of buzz on Twitter right now with some saying the new feature is awesome while others canning it in harshest of terms. The maps will also features snippets of reviews for restaurants etc from Yelp.
This is one feature that will make sure you don’t get an alert every time you receive an email. Apple has redesigned the Mail interface for easier reading and writing, in iOS 6 and also given users the option to set up a VIP list.
Safari also got a serious upgrade. Users can now saves web pages — not just links — in their Reading List even when they’re offline. Users can also take photos and video without leaving Safari.
Once again this option will give users more control about what calls they want to take and when. Users can set reminders if they don’t want to call back right away. Also “call when you leave” feature that reminds users to call back while they leave a building etc.
This is Apple’s answer to NFC which can be used by shoppers instead of the old credit card, but at the moment doesn’t allow users to sync their credit or debit cards with their iPhones….yet. It allows users to collect all passes – movie tickets, airline boarding passes, supermarket coupons, store cards from Starbucks – in one place. Google wallet on the other hand does support credit and debit cards syncing.
Whilst we have made plenty of gains, unfortunately Apple have dropped two well known features: the pre-loaded Google Maps and the YouTube app. Apple have replaced Google Maps with its own in-house 3D mapping solution and the YouTube app is still available, but as a download within the App Store, not pre-loaded on the home screen as it was originally.
For us here in the UK we can now use Siri to search for information about local businesses, restaurants, and reviews. Don’t expect to be able to book a restaurant reservation though – these most advanced features are still only available in the US, Canda and Mexico.
Maybe that’s something to look forward to in the iOS 7 upgrade – sigh. Not that we’re being ungrateful about our brand spanking new OS 6 features….
Its now been a few weeks since the hype of iOS6 started to mellow, and we’ve had a real chance to explore the flaws, problems and downright controversial following the fallout between Apple and Google. Let’s take a look at some of the features which have caused the most stir!
iOS 6 Maps:
The topic of the iOS 6 Maps has been up for heavy debate in recent weeks, and this is the story summed up by a reporter. In short, Apple announced that it was ditching Google Maps with iOS 6, opting instead to use a homemade offering as the default maps application on iOS devices.
Little did we know at the time, but Google actually had a year left on its contract to be the default app for Apple. Apparently, the relationship disintegrated due to Google’s unwillingness to relinquish turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation to the Cupertino giant. In any case, Apple announced that iOS Maps would have turn-by-turn navigation with Siri, transit directions via third-party (semi disguising it as a feature), and a 3D “Flyover” mode.
It was thrilling, and we couldn’t wait to play with it ourselves. Until we played with it ourselves. And we all got lost. And learned that Berlin was actually called “Schoeneiche.” In essence, it was a very bad day. To make matters worse, Google mentioned that it wasn’t going to do anything for the time being, and that it hadn’t submitted a Google Maps app to the Apple App Store.
Officially, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the following:
“In my opinion it would have been better to retain our maps. It’s their decision, I’ll let them describe it.” So, in the end, we’re left with a Map application that we can’t trust, and no alternative.
This has led to the first ever drop in customer satisfaction from iOS 5 to iOS 6 (in the video, I mixed up iOS 5 and iOS 6, but you catch my drift). In the meantime, hackers are trying to port over Google’s iOS 5 maps to iOS 6, but it’s proven relatively difficult. Ryan Petrich, however, has made it work, though it’s still too buggy to release his method to the public. In related news, the NYT reported that Google is in fact working on a Maps app, but that the company wants to take it a step further than mere accuracy: 3D.
To do this, much of the Google Maps code would have to be re-written to incorporate Google Earth, an entirely different app. That means we’ll be lost for months.
There’s even been a tumblr about it!
iOS 6 Problems:
As with any major software upgrade, iOS 6 has had its fair share of problems (aside from Maps!) Ranging from bugs, to afflicting battery life, or WiFi, there are a host of reasons for consumers to hesitate downloading the new OS. While many, if not all, of these issues will be quashed within the coming weeks and months.
- Disabled Wifi/Bluetooth
On both the iPhone 4S and new iPad, a fraction of users who download iOS 6 notice disabled Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. According to AppleInsider, the problem nixes the device’s ability to “pair or even recognizes other devices,” and occupies the screen with an indefinitely spinning wheel. The site notes that others can turn on Wi-Fi in the Settings menu, but are still unable to connect to any networks.
- Music Library Issue
Users who are fond of their music libraries should be aware of a glitch that renders audio files unavailable. “Music libraries had suddenly vanished. Playlist, Artist and Album names all remained, but the tracks themselves” refused to play, writes Mashable. “A spinning wheel in the upper left corner of the device’s screen indicated that the Music app was trying to access something, but the songs remained stubbornly invisible, even to Siri.”
- Short Battery Life
MacWorld reports that iPhone 4 and 4S devices upgraded to iOS 6 are occasionally afflicted by a battery depleting glitch. The site’s suggested remedy asks users to “launch he Settings app and navigate to General -> Reset. From here, tap Reset All Settings.” Another fix requires “killing every app listed in the multitasking bar.”
- App Store UI Problems
One of the more minor offenses of iOS 6 is its limited App search feature. TechCruch states, “the search results [in the app store], which come up one at a time on iPhone and four at a time on iPad, are not a step forward for discovery. I can see the logic: present one good result with ample context as to why it was returned, with the idea being that quality beats volume. But in practice, it makes looking for apps with some, but not an exact idea of what you’re looking for, more difficult. While this feature of iOS 6 is unlikely to top Apple’s priority list, an option to filter search results in varying quantities could easily remedy this problem.
iOS 6 Feature List
Here’s a great chart created by TechCrunc