Assessing iOS6

So how good is iOS6 really?

It has now been a touch over a week since iOS6 was released, time enough for us here at Dog and Bone to have had some hands-on time with the new features, and see how they really stack up. We have canvassed feedback from clients and industry contacts, and matched these with our own impressions.

The Good

Speed – Users of the iPhone4 or iPhone 3GS will remember the impact that installing iOS5 had on their phones last year. Everything became much slower. The good news is that iOS6 has not had quite the same effect, at least on the iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 (I’m yet to meet an iPhone3GS user brave enough to take the plunge). The exception to this seems to be the new Maps app, which some users find very slow, although this isn’t specifically an issue with the OS itself.

Siri – Most users are satisfied that Siri, almost a year after it was initially released, now boasts the functionality that was promised initially, namely the ability to ask for recommendations for local businesses and other location-based services. Of course, Australian users have always been able to ask Siri for the nearest Italian restaurant. It’s just that now she will give you a useful answer. This represents a great leap forward. iPad users are also pleased to be able to use Siri. Nevertheless, while it’s nice that Siri is now smarter and more universal, most users concede that they use Siri far less than they initially thought they would.

New Call Functions – The ability to decline calls with a text or a reminder is pretty much universally liked.

Safari – The capacity to save webpages to be viewed offline is seen as a real plus. No one I spoke to had anything much to say about the new iCloud functionality, whereby you can synchronise your web-browsing across multiple devices.

Mail – Several users have said they find the new-look Mail app easier to use. I agree.


The Bad

Maps – Opinion was actually divided on this one, with some users liking the new interface, and other simply hating the new app. Delving a little deeper revealed that those most opposed to the new Maps were the ones who actually used it. This therefore places it in the Bad category. Common complaints were the grinding speed of the app on the iPhone4 or lower, the non-intuitiveness of turn-based navigation, poor route-planning, and myriad problems with public transport integration. The best news, it turned out, is that the old Google Maps is still available from the App Store. Which brings me to . . .

The App Store – The new interface, in which you can only view one app at a time, was given a unanimous thumbs down.

Youtube – People liked the Youtube app. Now it’s gone, because Youtube is owned by Google, and Apple has decided that their hermetically sealed ecosystem wasn’t sealed quite as tightly as they would have liked.


The Meh

Passbook – Users say they can see the use of this, but haven’t actually found it to be of much use to them yet. I suspect that this kind of functionality is not as prevalent with Australian businesses as overseas.

Facetime – Most users were nervous about using Facetime across 3G (and 4G) due to nervousness about wireless data usage. As such there was no feedback.