iPhone

A week with iOS 6: What's good, what's bad

Wil Limoges has been putting iOS 6 through its paces. While there are some cool new flourishes and features, there are some problems too. Here's what you need to know before downloading the new OS on your device.

I’ve been living with iOS 6 now for about a week and some change. I felt that once iOS has had some time to be delivered to the public that there might be some minor changes and so I’ve waited to weigh in completely on the OS. Now that I’ve had a day or so to use it since it’s been fully released to the public, I’d like to share my thoughts.

iOS is polished. Honestly, it seems that I notice more of the minor changes to the OS than I do the major additions. For instance, notice that the music app received a visual overhaul and some tiny but amazing new touches. Try tilting the app in multiple directions while listening to a song, and you’ll see the details I’m referring to as the new volume and track knobs will animate. Or turn on Do Not Disturb and watch the animated crescent moon icon appear next to the time. It’s these small and subtle additions that have made using iOS 6 such a pleasure. For the most part I’ve had few complaints with the new OS. It’s very much an evolution, which I’ve both become accustomed to and appreciate as the OS matures.

Check the features that will work on your Apple device

So the question stands, is it a worthy upgrade? With out a doubt if you are on an iPhone 4 or 4S, then yes. But lets talk about what you don’t get and what really didn’t feel polished this time around. Apple provides a list of features on their iOS 6 page found here: http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page, Apple lists the features that are available and for which devices. I'm including it here because it may help you avoid some headaches if you know exactly what will work on the device that you own. Here is the list:

1. Turn-by-turn navigation is available only on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad 2 or later with cellular data capability. Flyover is available only on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 or later, and iPod touch (5th generation). Cellular data charges may apply.

2. Siri is available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad (3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation) and requires Internet access. Cellular data charges may apply.

3. FaceTime video calling requires a FaceTime-enabled device for the caller and recipient and a Wi-Fi connection. FaceTime over a cellular network requires iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, or iPad (3rd generation) with cellular data capability. Availability over a cellular network depends on carrier policies; data charges may apply.

4. Offline Reading List is available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.

5. Made for iPhone hearing aids require iPhone 4S or iPhone 5.

6. Panorama is available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation).

7. Find My iPhone and Find My Friends enable you to locate iOS devices only when they are on and connected to a registered Wi-Fi network or have an active data plan.

iCloud requires iOS 5 or later on iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch (3rd generation or later), or iPad; a Mac computer with OS X Lion or later; or a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 (Outlook 2007 or 2010 or an up-to-date browser is required for accessing email, contacts, and calendars). Some features require iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion. Some features require a Wi-Fi connection. Some features are not available in all countries. Access to some services is limited to 10 devices.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with the permission of MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Starbucks pass is coming soon.

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas. Click here to see complete list.

Siri is available in Beta only on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad (3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation) and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.

What's up with Maps?

Aside from all of the other new features, there are two new items that are getting a lot of coverage from other reviewers. The first is Maps. Maps is taking a beating due to the lack of transit information and missing data. Though neither of these things will affect me personally, it truly is an issue, and one I suspect Apple will address rather quickly. I can’t imagine Apple not working aggressively to bring their map implementation up to speed with Google. This, however, may be a make or break issue for some, but also keep in mind that Google is working on a separate Maps app to take the place of the one Apple removed.

PassBook gets a pass

The last App that I would like to discuss is Apple’s PassBook. Sadly, I believe Apple missed the mark here. The App itself appeared to be a simple and useful utility for keeping all of your value cards in a single place. The experience, thus far, has been poor. For most of you, I suspect you’ve not even had the opportunity to add a card to your PassBook. On launch of iOS 6, there is a bug that prevents you from being able to access the correct Apps for adding cards from the App store. There is a fix which requires you to turn off automatic update of time, change the time and date on your phone, access PassBook, launch the App store from within the App -- and then return to the time settings and change it back to update automatically. Once you’ve gotten past the fix you are then able to download what appears to be the available cards. After clicking to install, however, you’ll find instead that it downloads an app associated with a card that requires you to sign up and configure in order to obtain your cards. This complicated procedure does not seem, in the slightest, the Apple way of doing things, which makes the App seem incomplete. We can hope that Apple updates the App in such a way that the complication is no longer in the way of using the App.

About

Wil Limoges is a Louisville, KY freelance web designer and Digital Savant at the vimarc group. He has had the pleasure of working for Apple as a Genius, loves science, and aspires to make great things!

6 comments
joachim_s
joachim_s

No it's available on iPhone 4 as well.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

So you can't use turn-by-turn on an iPad that's accessing via hotspot on a phone? Is there a technical reason why not, or is it a licensing thing? Just curious, doesn't affect me.

kavanaghk
kavanaghk

Youtube is now an app you need to get from the app store. Just searched on it and it is there

Sean Morgan
Sean Morgan

I have yet to see any value add from the upgrade on my "new iPad" (stupid name). And one my favorite apps is gone, from the device and from the store. Sure I can use Safari to go to YouTube, but the app had some nice navigational buttons. This is NOT what I expect from an upgrade. Between that and the maps fiasco, I'm telling people not to upgrade!

Dyalect
Dyalect

Why people would make such a big deal over a brand new phone filled with bugs and software you have to jump through hoops to configure. Don't get me wrong the iphone is nice, but to camp out days for it? Then have numerous big issues off the hop. Zealots.

rhonin
rhonin

Good overview type article. One aspect I would have added is a warning up front; if you rely on your iDevice maps, don't update till you can verify the new maps will work for you. Once you update, there are no simple ways to downgrade back to 5.1.1

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