So What’s New on iOS6?

If you’ve got an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (lucky you), iPad 2, new iPad (3rd generation) or iPod Touch (4th generation) then you can (and may already have) download Apple’s new operating system, iOS 6.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it, or have already downloaded it but haven’t had the chance to explore it in detail, we thought we’d quickly point out some of the key new features for you.

Apple Maps App

Apple and Google, once bosom chums, aren’t getting along so well anymore and the latest repercussion of their fallout is the replacement of Google Maps with Apple’s own Map App.

There’s plenty of good stuff – turn- by- turn navigation (i.e. visual and verbal directions, like on your SatNav) and a rather cool 3D flyover mode – much better for finding your way round than those flat 2D satellite images.

However, the good stuff has been overshadowed by some pretty bad stuff, particularly in the UK. Much of the detail of the UK road systems seems to be missing, some of the satellite images are poor (particularly for Scotland), it’s not good for finding local businesses via search and, worst of all, there are some major geographical gaffes.  For example, Luton seems to have relocated to the Devon Coast (perhaps not a bad thing if you’re a Luton resident) and Stratford-upon-Avon has disappeared altogether.

It all shows a rather un-Apple like lack of attention to detail. However, we expect them to jump straight on it and fix the bugs – fast. In the meantime, you may be tempted to download another map app.

Social Media Integration

You’ll notice that Facebook and Twitter have been more closely integrated, which is a welcome improvement. For example, there’s now a status posting box in the drag-down notifications bar, you can share a photo from the photos app and Facebook events, contact info and birthdays are placed directly into the calendar and contacts apps. Very handy!

Passbook

Passbook is  designed as a digital payments and storage app for things like flight, train and movie tickets. It’s the primary reason that Apple decided not to include the mobile payment technology NFC in the iPhone 5.

Although Passbook looks like it may be a handy tool, there’s a lack of compatible apps to plug into it, so at present it’s not a very useful feature. However, airlines and other retailers are sure to be feverishly updating their apps to make them Passbook compatible so we’re sure this state of affairs won’t last long.

Camera Panorama Mode

Slowly turn your phone (whilst keeping the onscreen guide line as level as you can) and this application will stitch together the images into one ‘wide angle’ shot. Don’t get too excited if you’ve got an iPhone 4 or 3GS – this upgrade doesn’t apply to those models.

Safari Browser Tweaks

There’s a new full screen browsing mode for when the device is in landscape mode.  And you can now save web pages for offline viewing – handy if you’re about to head into a no signal area like on the Tube.

Siri Improvements

You can now ask Siri for more stuff, including things like movie info and football results.  For the latter in particular, Siri only seems to be conversant with Premier League clubs so for Championship and below you’re best heading straight for the browser.

Do Not Disturb

There’s a new ‘Don Not Disturb’ feature which allows you turn off alerts for calls and messages during certain hours (like when you’re asleep). There’s also a ‘Reply with Message’ mode which allows you to respond to a call with a text message.

That’s just the major stuff. There are plenty of other minor tweaks, designed to make your life even easier than it was when you had iOS 5. You can find a full list of them here.