In Sept, Apple upgraded its iPhone OS with a new release that is more of an evolution than revolution, but did offer a handful of improvements and new features. Some of the important key features in the iOS 6 upgrade include a more intuitive Siri, the ability to use Apple’s FaceTime video conferencing over 3G as well as shared Wi-Fi networks, more flexibility in taking and sharing digital photographs, and the addition of the PassBook digital wallet.
On the flipside, some features were also included in the release that seemed to be not quite ready for primetime, such as the Apple Maps app that replaces Google Maps on the iPhone.
TechnologyGuide assistant editor Mike Wall spent some time with the new OS and filed this video report on what works and what still needs some work in Apple’s iOS 6.
Welcome to the first look of iOS 6 for iPhone. So, the iOS 6 upgrade is kind of strange. It doesn’t really have that many unique features it’s bringing to the table. Of course, there is the notorious Apple Maps, which has already been criticized numerous times for being inaccurate, and it certainly does have those flaws.
Unfortunately, it’s really tough for us to show that to you because it’s really just a bunch of different minute inaccuracies. It’s not like these overarching problems can easily be highlighted. In our area, specifically, when I was testing out iOS 6, it actually worked quite well. That’s not to disregard that there are some serious problems with this application. If you want to find out everything that’s wrong with it and what you should be concerned about, be sure to check out our full review where we highlight in more detail what’s wrong with Apple Maps.
Kind of getting past, though, just Apple Maps and talking about iOS 6 in its entirety, it actually brings a lot of what you would want to an upgrade. I think the most understated thing that this brings to the table is increased performance.
Everything that you’re going to do on your iPhone is going to feel faster and it’s going to feel smoother. Launching applications is much faster. There are almost no load times now. Using specific apps, such as Twitter, there’s a noticeable difference. When I used to use Twitter, I’d wait a while to kind of update my tweets. It would take a long time for them to load. But now even if I have 100 tweets or even more in my backlog, I simply just swipe my finger and instantly they’re all there.
Also, going to websites and stuff like that from Twitter is much easier. So, using things like that and Facebook, in particular, are going to feel much smoother. But really, across the board in all applications, the device just feels cleaner, smoother, and has more utility. Honestly, the experience just feels better, and I think that’s probably the major thing of what anybody should be looking for in an operation system upgrade.
So one of the new functions that comes with iOS 6 is pretty welcomed as it actually allows Siri to interact with all the apps that you have on your phone. So, if you wanted to launch Pulse, for instance:
[Speaking to phone: Launch Pulse.]
Siri reply: It doesn’t look like you have an app named Pulse.]
Of course, Siri still has the terrible speech recognition that she does, but try one more time. [Speaking to phone: Launch Pulse.]
There you go, nice and easy. I can instantly get into anything. If you’re hands-free it’s a lot easier to do than simply clicking. Additionally, Siri will also be able to access certain types of information on the fly, such as sports games, movie times, and even help you make reservations at restaurants. While this isn’t a great depth of information, these nice little features actually come in handy.
[Speaking to phone: What was the score of the Packers game?]
Siri reply: The Packers lost a close one to the Seahawks yesterday. The final score was 14 to 12.]
It doesn’t really capture everything that happened in that game, but still you can see you get the basic information rather quickly.
Okay, so in the same light of a photo stream, users will also be able to take panoramic pictures. Again, this is something very simple, but it is quite satisfying, and it’s a feature that they didn’t have before. So, while Android has had it for a while, it’s still a joy to have and I think iPhone users will be happy to have it.