iOS 6 rode into town two days ago and the social networks, news websites and lots of other people have not stopped talking about it since. The Apple haters have visited every website that discusses iOS 6 and made comments like ‘it’s so old fashioned’ or ‘usual rubbish from Apple’. The Apple loyalists have also been out in force; ‘Apple Maps is great’ or ‘OK, Maps isn’t brilliant, but it will get better. Honest it will.’
Anyway, I immediately went off-topic there so will get back to the reason I wrote this. What is iOS 6 like and was it worth waiting for? The short answer is yes and the longer answer is yes, but Apple still needs to work out some problems. Let’s look at the main changes-
Let’s be honest. Siri has been unreliable, limited and just plain useless for the past year. A novelty that failed to catch on and one that was often more frustrating to use than the alternatives. Enter Siri on iOS 6 and it is much, much better. You can now open apps, ask questions and receive genuinely useful answers and so far it has connected every time or me. There are still some quirks, however, such as when I asked it to put in a calendar appointment for 4PM on Sunday and it managed to place one that ran from Thursday to Monday. Also, the sports side is somewhat weak in that it only seems to cover big teams. I asked if Chelsea won last night and the answer came through. I asked if Bournemouth won its last match and the response was ‘Would you like to search the web for Bournemouth etc.’ No doubt more substance will be added to the database, but until then it is a little hit and miss.
Overall, however, Siri is now a very functional assistant and one which may feature more in my life from now on. There are no guarantees for me because I still find that this type of feature is rarely practical, but I have to say that Siri now is a much better solution than it ever was before.
The App Store
I love the new App Store design because it feels much more modern than the previous effort. However, I can understand the concerns developers may have because less apps are shown on screen now and much more scrolling is required. Everything somehow feels as though it fits better on the iPhone and it really works for me. Despite the occasional connection glitch, I am more than pleased with what Apple has done here. Roll on the desktop version.
I don't need to add much to what everyone else has said except to confirm that it is not good at all. Here are some links explaining the problems.
Apple Maps service glitches: what problems have you spotted?
And so on...
Do Not Disturb
This is one of those 'others did it before, but Apple did it best' features that immediately proved useful to me. The settings are simple and so anyone will be able to understand them and once set, you are good to go. It sounds like something so minor, but never having to mute or disable data on my iPhone is a refreshing change. Love it to bits.
There are numerous other small changes in iOS 6 of which many are visual. The Clock app is stunning now, especially on the iPad which seems to have a direct copy of a classic railway clock in it, and there are other tweaks to notification centre (post to Twitter and Facebook), the Phone app and others. And then there is Passbook which is destined to become the next Ping.
Overall I am very impressed with iOS 6. It is fast, looks good and really does feel like a new version which I didn't expect following the lacklustre announcement. It is just a shame that Apple has completely screwed up the Maps app and managed to overshadow everything that is good about it.