You don’t need to be too astute to hear that Apple has released its long-awaited iOS6 – the latest version of it operating system for it mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone. It was released yesterday and we were one of the many frantically competing with the Apple servers to be one of the first to download and take a look…and we love it a lot but there are some interesting quirks!
Before we begin – a note on upgrading….If you’re not doing it through iTunes, you’ll need to clear 2.5GB of space temporarily on your device (to holds the install files) so it’s usually easier to do it through iTunes where your computer hard drive can be used instead.
Once it’s finished downloading and installing (which can take a while), you will be presented with a brief set up screen, much like the one when you first got your device – but all your data and apps are behind here, so worry not.
After running through the setup wizard, you can begin exploring new features. We will go through the main ones in turn depending whether we like them or not…so here goes:
Passbook: Passbook is a tool that allows you to store travel itineraries, entertainment tickets, loyalty cards and coupons, in one secure location. We’ve not tried it yet but apparently it will open up the relevent item depending on time (if you board a flight for example) or if you have location services enabled, it will know when you walk into the right shop and display the voucher – clever huh!
Facetime via cellular: It’s been on the wanted list since it came out but now you can use Facetime through your cellular network (we mean 3G etc and not just wireless). Never miss bath-time when you’re working away, again! Just be careful of roaming data charges!
Shared photo streams: Instead of sharing your photos with your own iCloud account, which is an excellent means of backing things up, you can now share selected photos with family and friends – whether you’re a gap year (gap yah) student trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro or newlyweds on your honeymoon, you can quickly and easily share your photos, regardless of whether your friends have Apple devices.
Enhanced Mail features: Mail has always been excellent on the iPad and iPhone but one thing I’ve
personally missed is efficient use of flags. Apple have listened to the users and created a very clear category, irrelevant of how many mail accounts you have set up – no excuses for not actionning them now! There is also a VIP list for emails from addresses you really cannot miss. There is a simple swipe-down feature to refresh your emails (much like on Twitter or Facebook apps) and adding in photos and videos is a delight in comparison to iOS5! Welldone Apple.
Phone features: Can’t take a call right now? Don’t want to be rude…worry not, Apple has built-in some handy features. You can still decline or answer a call, but as well as the basics, you can also opt to ‘remind me later’ where a reminder will be set in your phone or you can ‘reply with text message’ which will give you the option of replying the call with one of your preconfigured text messages in settings. A ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature has been created too – and you can even add exceptions to the list, so your boss can still get through.
Safari improvements: How complicated can a web browser be? Not very, is the answer, but it can be very helpful to have extra features to hand. For example, all your tabs will open on each device, if you switch devices that are part of the same iCloud login. So if you’re on your iPad and need to switch to your iPhone, you’ll see the same tabs right in front of you! Cached web pages from your history is saved in Reading List now too, so if you’re offline you can still finish reading that article that you started earlier. Some websites are compatible with in-app photo uploading too now and a full screen option is available if you want to browse without any distractions.
Accessibility features: For those with hearing, visual or physical difficulties and those who want to protect children from certain things, the accessibility features have had a vast makeover, making protection better, and interaction with the screen much easier to use.
Panoramic camera:Those of you with an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 will be able to take panoramic photos now, which we think is great!
Find my iPhone: This feature has been around for a while but it has been made part of iOS6 by default – we think its really useful. You turn the feature on, and then if your device is lost or stolen, you can track it, as long as it’s connected to a data network. You can even remotely wipe it or track down where it is, to go and fetch it!
Smaller but equally good bits of iOS6:
- Facebook and Twitter integration throughout menus;
- Easier to print over a network from Safari and email;
- Enhanced privacy settings;
- Searching facility in Safari – hooray;
- Updated look and feel to App Store, iBooks and iTunes.
Maps: We all loved Google Maps for iPhone – it included Street View, directions, search functions and location settings as well as high quality graphics at an overwhelming zoom level…all in all it was pretty awesome. Today we mourn the loss of Google Maps and instead witness what can only be described as a catastrophic failure in its replacement – Apple Maps. They have already taken an ear-bashing from the critics and we are here to add to this. Apple – what on earth are you thinking? There is no street view, the satellite mode isn’t anywhere near as details as Google’s and the location settings – well don’t get me started. I live in the UK and looked for directions to a village in the north, from my current location. Had I followed Apple Maps, I’d have ended up in America! There is also no ability to search for public transport times either. I wouldn’t like to think what the odds are that Google will have their Maps app out pretty quickly!
Find my Friends:
I think some may disagree that this should be categorized as ‘bad’ but in our opinion, there are limits to what can be useful and this we think, is taking things to the limit. Projecting your whereabouts to whoever you agree with can be great, if you’re waiting to meet someone, but what if you’re out buying christmas presents, or at a job interview that you don’t want to broadcast – this could have pretty serious consequences. There is a feature to turn your whereabouts on and off, but who will remember to do this on an as-needed basis?
YouTube app: It’s playing hide and seek with us – literally! Apple has removed it from it’s iOS install, BUT, it’s available for free download from the new-look app store.
Siri updates: For those of you on iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, you will see an apparently remarkable update to Siri, your personal assistant. It’s no doubt that it wasn’t brilliant when it first arrived last year, but it was the topic of amusing pub conversations (literally in some cases)! Well, Siri will apparently talk you through your day from hereon…only time will tell. In theory – a brilliant invention…in practice…we will wait to decide!
So these are the key changes between iOS5.1.1 and iOS6 but there is plenty more to discover…some fantastic innovations and overall we think it is excellent – but there are a few down sides. What do you think? Get in touch...