Over the weekend I upgraded my IPhone 3GS to IOS 6. So here’s the low down on new features, and what you should and shouldn’t expect if , like i was, you are slightly hesitant in installing this software on the lowest spec possible device Apple now support. Actually on that point, why no original ipad update? The 3GS is older by nearly 6 months and surely the IPad must support most of the features. This is a device that has just had its 2nd birthday (April 2010) and now its persona non grata at the Cupertino dinner table. If Microsoft released a piece of hardware and then dropped it 2 years later, the Apple fan boys would of been hollering from the rooftops (actually they did with the Kin phones and the first batch of recent Windows Phones, but we wont go there ……………..).
The install was quite easy via Itunes (well as easy as a 850mb download can be), and then it just got on with it. I had no errors and all apps seen to be working from the get go, no lost passwords for mail, or loss of twitter accounts, etc. So far, so good. As an aside, my wife did hers on a 4S over the air, and with a good wireless connection, this went smoothly as well.
A quick scroll down the settings app flashed up some new features.
Do not disturb. This is useful feature especially if you are on the road in foreign climes and use your calendar frequently. I have been woken up in all sorts of places in the middle of the night to attend a meeting in the UK that is on my calendar. The Do not Disturb feature keeps everything quiet excep the alarm (tested), meaning , you can have the device as a alarm clock, without everything else keeping you awake.
Privacy. This is a new feature that is actually just a tiding up of what went before. Basically any apps that have requested access to other apps are listed in here. For example, under my contacts I have Skype. Any access can be switched on and off, so if you have said OK to something and then find yourself in a heap of misery, once all your contacts for work are spread across Facebook for example you can turn it off.
Reply with message. This lives in the phone settings, and is something that other manufacturers have had for some time. Basically the deal is as follows: You get a call, you cannot answer, so you swipe up the option to send a pre written message e.g, “I’m in a meeting, call you later”, or “Never call me again, thanks xx”, that sort of thing. Anyway it works fine, unless the person you are calling has a specific imessage setup , then it fails miserably by not sending the message, but worse still logs the message as sent and delivered. Now to me its just annoyance, to a person who earns their living on the phone, it could lose them money and business. I’m investigating it further and it seems to be if you have more than one receive address for imessage. I assume this covers anyone who has an ipad and an iphone, and likes to imessage across both.
Reminders. No new functionality as such but you can now switch on badges to display just how many outstanding tasks you have. If you are like me, and use exchange tasks linked to reminders religiously, then this is great (and disturbing at the same time, every time you look at the home screen !).
Twitter came on board in IOS 5. Facebook has now joined the party in 6. I cannot comment on this, as i do not have a Facebook account (not a long story, i just know a bit about IT security, case closed). Twitter works well though, although seems to take about 10 seconds to come on and update. This is a similar time on the 4s as well, so just bad code, but useable.
EDIT 07/10/2012: One really nice feature that has been added is that each mail account (i run 5 currently), can have its own signature. This is really useful, as I’m sure my friends find it a bit weird to get a reply with my full job title, etc, telling them i’ll meet them at the pub !
Maps. So here it is, one more reason that Steve Jobs shouldn’t have died. This crap would not of been allowed out of the gate. I get the anti google thing, and the money they must hand over to the big G, but really ? This app is just so poor, its laughable. Android is killing IOS in the states, and this will just keep that steamroller going. Turn by turn is a good feature (and been with google for some time), but the turns are only as good as you reaching the destination. I have seen shops missing and some a mile away from reality. Today I looked at my local train line (a mainline into London). 2 of the 5 local stations are missing. Did you know the only shop in Bluewater park is the Apple Store ?
Drawing accurate maps is one of the most technical tasks out there (ask Mark Thatcher), but programming the things takes time and money most companies don’t have, hence there is pretty much one player in town. And it ain’t Apple.
There is a reason google maps, the london a-z and OS maps all look similar, because that style has been perfected over many decades in both print and digital formats. Apple’s take on maps, is Fisher Price at best, with a hard to follow style, and with the current inaccuracies, hard to believe and therefore trust.
Played with an Iphone5 today, and it left me a little bit meh. Yeah it’s nice and all, but not £500+ nice. If i wasn’t so wedded to ITunes I would be on an Samsung 3 like a rash. I remember the last time I had to convert all the music, and if truth be told I cannot be bothered.
In finishing, a reasonable update, v.poorly let down by the mapping. An excuse to launch the phone in my opinion. Apologies to the fan boys, but some things are best left alone. I’m also sure there are a million other features that a 3GS cannot harness, and thats fair enough.