10 Things To Know Before You Download iOS 6
Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6. According to Apple, the number of new features crammed into the software is somewhere north of 200. As is the case with all new operating systems, a large group of consumers are weary of making the switch, not convinced the new OS is worthwhile. Well, let us tell you that, yes, iOS 6 is worth the download. It's the most refined version of iOS to come out of Cupertino and boasts some really dope new features like the ability to take panoramic photos, and make FaceTime calls over your cellular network. There are new apps like Passbook that let you store digital coupons and tickets. Even Safari got a spit-shine, with new iCloud Tabs that let you take your browsing to any iOS device.
But there are some issues. A big topic of discussion was the absence of Google Maps and the lack of features in the new Apple Maps app. Even though we haven't experienced any, there were reported issues with Wi-Fi connections. Look, we get it. Your phone is nearly as dear to you as your girlfriend and you don't want to download something that you'll wind up hating. We hear you. For those of you that haven't yet made the switch, we went through and listed the 10 things you should know before making the upgrade.
Google Maps is Gone. Apple Maps is Good, But Not Great. Yet.
Yes, Google Maps is no longer a native iOS app. This shouldn't be news to anyone as it was announced back in June at the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. But in case you haven't heard: Apple has replaced the Google Maps app that it has rocked with since the iPhone's inception with its own, elegant in-house map app. How big of a deal is this? Well, it depends on how you used the Google Maps app.
If you live in a major city with a substantial public transportation system, the switch-up is a pretty big deal as the Apple Maps app does not have public transportation directions. What's more, unlike Google Maps, the new app doesn't even show you what public transportation is near you. So, if you're here in NYC and are trying to figure out which Subway station is closest to your current location, you're out of luck. The new app will tell that there is a train station near you, but it won't tell which trains you can catch there. When you attempt to get public transportation directions by clicking the "Train" icon, you're shown a list of apps that could do that for you instead. Google said it plans to release an iOS Maps app in the future, but in the meantime, you'll need to download a third-party app.
However, if you don't really rock with public transportation, Apple Maps is pretty damn good. First off, Apple has thrown a stiff arm to a number of app developers by incorporating free turn-by-turn directions. The best part? It actually works. There are some shortcomings, such as the inability to look ahead of your current point on the map, but for a free service, it's great. Using the service for prolonged period of time will drain your battery, but that's to be expected from an app that's constantly tracking your movements and speaking to you.
Apple Maps also handles business listings much better than Google Maps. When looking for a business, you're treated to a plethora of beautifully organized information that includes Yelp ratings and reviews, and photos. The app doesn't have as many businesses in its system as Google does at the moment, but that will surely change with time.
So, yes, Google Maps is gone and we miss it. We miss the public transportation directions and the Street View feature that helped us identify places we’ve never been. Apple’s 3D Satellite view is very cool and impressive, but doesn’t serve the same purpose. However, Apple’s Maps is a strong replacement that will undoubtedly get better.
But, if you really miss Google Maps, click here to learn how to get it back.
There's Also No Native YouTube App
If you haven’t noticed, Apple and Google are not vibing well at the moment. In addition to axing the Google Maps app, Apple also tossed out the native YouTube app. The good news is that Google has already released aYouTube app for iOS, and there’s also the YouTube web app which works just fine, too.
Apple Gets Serious About Your Privacy
Apple was called out in recent months when it was discovered that some apps were violating users’ privacy by accessing certain information without their knowledge. To amend that, Apple has implemented an entirely new Privacy menu under Settings that allows you to see which apps are accessing your location, contacts, calendars, and photos. If you don’t want a certain app accessing certain information, you need only to flip the switch to “Off.” It’s a simple and much needed solution to a problem that will only grow worse as more apps attempt to use your info better the user experience.
Facebook Gets the Twitter Treatment
When Apple integrated Twitter into iOS 5, allowing users to log-in at a system level making it easy to share pretty much anything on your device with your followers, everyone wondered, Where was the Facebook love? It shines through in iOS 6. All this means is that you will now see a Facebook icon in the Share menu, allowing you to easily post photos, links, and messages on the world’s largest social network. You can also decide who on Facebook gets to see whatever you’re sharing, which is a welcome feature.
Meet Siri 2.0
Siri has become a more able assistant in iOS 6. The service can now book restaurant reservations via OpenTable, give you business reviews via Yelp, and get movie reviews and showtimes. It can post messages to Facebook and Twitter for you and give you live sports scores and stats. The bigger news is that Siri is now available on the iPad and iPod Touch (fifth generation and up). Will it change your life? Is it better than before? Yes, definitely.
There are New Ways to Ignore Phone Calls
Hate talking on the phone? You’ll love iOS 6. Instead of having to simply answer or ignore a call, you can open a menu and either set a reminder to call that person back at a certain time or when you leave your current location, or shoot them a text message explaining to them why you can’t answer their call. Apple provides three replies: “I’ll call you later,” “I’m on my way,” and the awesomely shady “What’s up?” You have the option to add your own, if you feel those are too impersonal.
You Can Choose to Not be Disturbed
In addition to ignoring phone calls, iOS 6 lets you take a break from your iPhone with some self-imposed quiet time. Using the new Do Not Disturb feature you can schedule a block of time during your day when you receive no notifications at all. This means you won’t know if someone sends you a text message or calls your phone. You will get no email, Twitter, or Facebook alerts. There are some exceptions. Apple allows you select a group of people who’s calls will get through even during your Do Not Disturb period. Overall, it’s a great feature. Our only comment: We wish there was an option that allowed you to only accept text messages from certain people during this period.
Mail App Gets Minor, Welcome Upgrades
Apple’s native Mail app still doesn't match up to some third-party offerings, but in iOS 6 it gets two features that push it along. The first, and most prominent, is the new VIP List. It works pretty much exactly how it sounds. Emails from any person added to this list will be siphoned into a special folder, allowing you to only concentrate on, well, the very important people in your life: bosses, girlfriends, parents.
The other notable addition to Mail is the ability to assign separate signatures to each of your email addresses. This means that if you, like many people, have your work and personal email on your iPhone, you can now use separate signatures for each address. Finally, your co-workers won’t have to be subjected to your meandering signature that ends with some inspirational quote you picked up from BrainyQuote.com.
The App Store Got a Visual and Functional Facelift
If and when you upgrade, you will notice that the Apple App Store looks and operates remarkably different. Apple gave the store a much-needed visual refresh that lets apps breathe. This is most apparent when you conduct a search. Instead of a list of apps, each app that shows up in the results are now given a mini page that shows the rating and a visual preview of the app. To see more apps you simply swipe to the left.
One of the most annoying aspects of App Store, the need to enter your password each time you updated your apps, has been rectified in iOS 6. Now when you go to update your apps, all you need to do is push a button. Simple.
And the iPad Finally Gets a Native Clock App
One thing we never quite understood was the absence of a native Clock app for the iPad. We get that people use their phones as alarm clocks and timers, but it still seemed like an odd exclusion. Apparently the folks in Cupertino thought so, too, and have decided it was time for the iPad to get its own Clock app. It’s basically the same as the iPhone version; you can set timers, alarms, and check the time in foreign locales. Nothing super crazy, but a welcome addition. SOURCE