It is pleasant to receive a major software update on a two year old smartphone. Keeping my iPhone usage / affordability philosophy, I am happily using a good old 2010 iPhone 4 model for a year now. I picked it up from a friend for a good discount and thus got the magnificent glass built iPhone 4 in my budget. Having used a LG made Windows Phone device before this, I feel much comfortable with the design and media skills of my current iPhone.
Coming back to the software update, after thinking of skipping the update or perhaps wait for reviews to pour in, I got tempted to hit the upgrade button and 30 mins later, I have iOS 6. Nothing has changed with the iOS 6 when you look from a distance, but as I spent a few minutes this morning with the OS, I realise that there is plenty to explore. So here I begin the exploration called iOS 6.
Note: I may not have all the features that iOS 6 offers, since I have a phone that is 2 generations behind the current iPhone 5, also I am in India.
I was hesitant to upgrade to iOS 6
There are two primary reasons for me to think of avoiding iOS 6. First, with older hardware (mine with a A4 processor) the chances of new OS slowing down performance scared me. While I had heard good reviews from 3GS users who upgraded to iOS 5, old memories haunts me. At the same time, It is now a well known fact that Maps app on iOS 6 is work on progress. In India particularly it is far from useful, I can’t search for directions!
Knowing these two risks, I still decided to upgrade and phew, at least the phone hasn’t slowed down. It works as smooth as before if not better. But Maps, I didn’t think it would be such a disappointment. More on that coming up.
Few new features that I Love!
There are things in iOS 6 that I immediately fell in love with. Or rather, things that I wanted since Long.
I have been a big user of the twitter integration on the iPhone. While I have mainly used this integration in iOS 5 for tweeting out images, it now allows me to compose tweets from the Notifications Center. That is a big plus! Add to that the Facebook integration. I am still exploring it, but it allows me to share any article I am reading right from Safari. So no need to jump into the dedicated FB app every now and then.
One thing that I have been asking for ages from every smartphone out there is a ‘way to ignore the phone’. To have the phone not interrupt me when I am texting or replying an urgent email. iOS 6 doesn’t implement it a 100%, but at least it gives an option to ignore the call, set a reminder to call back or just revert with a quick busy sms template. I guess we are getting there in sometime.
But what Apple manages to do with Do Not Disturb is a feature not many users wanted explicitly, but everyone feels a need for it the moment they hear about it. It is typical start-up style listening to a problem and coming out with a solution. I hate being disturbed with phone calls when I am asleep, yet I don’t want to miss any important calls. Do Not Disturb lets me avoid any notification for incoming calls, but if the same contact calls more than once in a 3 min interval, it would alert me. That is fair enough and works for me in most cases. If you haven’t tried Do Not Disturb yet, please do so. It works. You can also choose to ignore the Do Not Disturb sign for numbers in your Fav list of Contacts list, again useful for avoiding spam / marketing calls when you are busy.
Features like PassBook I doubt has any utility in India and camera add-on like Panaroma mode doesn’t work on iPhone 4. There are hacks available that work after Jailbreak, but I decided some years back to stay away from that. So it is a no go for me.
I am a heavy user of iPhone Maps, right from the very first iPhone I started using. For someone with a road sense as good as a fish, Maps is often a life saver. With Apple’s own maps on iOS 6, I am left with no directions at all. Forget poor or inaccurate info, in a city like Mumbai if I am unable to trace route between two popular locations, whats the point?
I do like the usability of the Maps App, it is somewhat easier to input locations, navigation the settings, but it fails to work. Apple seriously needs to get its act together when it comes to Maps on the iPhone. Till then it is maps.google.com via the browser for me! Google Maps on Safari works well for me, here is a screenshot:
First few hours with the iOS 6 have passed. The reality has sinked in. What else should I try on iOS 6?