Apple has been keeping the tech blogs busy with a few headlines of late. This week, Apple’s iOS 6 became available as an update for iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPod touch (4th, 5th generation), iPad 2 and the new iPad. The update was unveiled in line with the release of the Apple iPhone 5. The update will see 200 advertised enhancements, most of which are unseen changes and bug fixes.
Despite the 200 new additions to iOS, there are really only 2 new apps, Maps and Passbook.
Apple have decided to do away with the native Google Maps app, and replaced it with its own, Maps. Advertised as being “designed from the ground”, “Maps changes the way you see the world.” In truth, the app uses maps from TomTom, and also a partnership with OpenStreetMaps. Maps offers vector-based elements, tilt and rotate to view, turn-by-turn navigation, Siri-enabled, real-time traffic and bird’s-eye-view.
Another new app to iOS is Passbook. The app allows you to use your scan iPhone or iPod Touch (not iPad) to check in on a flight, purchase a movie ticket, check balance on loyalty cards and redeem certain coupons (and view when they will expire). Passbook performs similar functions to that of Android’s “Now”, and displays passes as events on the lock screen to remind you of flight times, movie schedules, etc. The passes are also location dependent, changing information, for example, when you enter the airport, giving you directions or alerting you when in the wrong terminal.
Unfortunately for iPhone users, the update was not met with all smiles. For many of the 15% that had already updated by the end of Friday, issues with the update included a malfunctioning Maps app (cities in the middle of the ocean, airports on farms, incorrect roads, etc.), unstable Wi-Fi connectivity, a host of smaller bugs, and even issues downloading the update itself. Unlike Android with a vast variety of OEMs, which make it difficult to update as quick, Apple has less than 10 devices to update. This, then, is a big disappointment in terms of the issues experience with the number of devices on which to test compatibility. In the same vein, it means that Apple will be able to release a fix before too long.
In the end, the update isn’t anything revolutionary, with the exception of Maps and Passbook; something that may frustrate even long-time fans. It’s also important to note that a number of the 200 features included in the update aren’t available to models pre iPhone 4S, making it even harder to question the need to press the “update” button. iOS 6, then, isn’t a major update, but rather Apple’s focus on refining and tweaking the OS.
- Apple designed vector based maps
- Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (2nd and 3rd generation)
- Real-time traffic information
- Flyover for photo-realistic, interactive 3D views of major metro areas on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad (3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation)
- Local search results with Yelp photos, ratings, reviews, and available deals
- Siri integration for requesting directions and finding places along a route
- Siri improvements
- Sports: scores, player stats, game schedules, team rosters, and league standings for baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey
- Movies: trailers, showtimes, reviews and facts
- Restaurants: reservations, reviews, photos and information
- Send a Tweet
- Post on Facebook
- App launch
- Eyes Free in supported automobiles
- Local search available in Siri supported countries (availability may be limited during initial rollout)
- Additional country and language support for Canada (English and Canadian French), China (Mandarin), Hong Kong (Cantonese), Italy (Italian), Korea (Korean), Mexico (Spanish), Spain (Spanish), Switzerland (Italian, French, German), Taiwan (Mandarin), US (Spanish)
- Supported on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad (3rd generation) and iPod touch (5th generation)
- Facebook integration
- Single sign-on from Settings
- Post from Photos, Safari, Maps, App Store, iTunes, Game Center, Notification Center and Siri
- Add location and choose audience for any post
- View up-to-date Facebook profile photos and contact information in Contacts
- View Facebook events and birthdays in Calendar
- Like content and see your friends’ Likes in App Store and iTunes Store
- Shared Photo Streams
- Share selected photos with the people you choose
- Friends can view shared photos in Photos app, iPhoto and Apple TV
- Friends can like and make comments on individual photos
- One place for boarding passes, store cards, movie tickets and other passes
- Barcode display for boarding flights, buying coffee, getting into movies and other actions
- Passes displayed on Lock Screen based on time or location
- Passes can be automatically updated
- Supported on iPhone and iPod touch
- FaceTime improvements
- FaceTime over cellular support for iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation)
- Receive FaceTime calls, sent to your iPhone number, on your iPad and iPod touch
- Phone improvements