iOS 6 adds features, but loses Google Maps, YouTube – some Kiwis grumble
Apple has upgraded the software that runs iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. iOS 6 is available as a free update from today – and will also feature on the iPhone 5, released in NZ on September 28.
One key feature of iOS 5 is that it more tightly integrates iCloud, Apple's online storage and syncing service.
The second major element is that it partially "de-Googlefies" iOS 6.
Apple and Google were once close partners, but the pair have been drifting apart since Google's Android mobile software took off.
To wit, YouTube – preinstalled with iOS 5 is absent from iOS 6. To compensate, Google has released a YouTube app, which can now be downloaded from the iTunes AppStore.
Google Maps (and Street View) out, so-so Apple Maps in
Google Maps is also absent from iOS 6.
It has been replaced by Apple Maps, developed inhouse.
For US users, the change seems relatively seamless. But not all Apple Maps features are available in all countries. In New Zealand, we don't get street views.
And beyond that, some Kiwis have taken to social media to complain about Apple Maps general look and feel.
Auckland iPhone user Jonathan Tillick told NBR ONLINE the satellite imagery was less detailed than Google Maps, and that it was much harder to see streets.
On the plus side, he liked the turn-by-turn directions, and the always onscreen status bar.
Siri can be made to tweet
Another signature feature, tweeting via Siri, is not enabled for New Zealand users. An Apple rep told NBR the feature was not available for NZ, but that seems to mean simply not optimised for the NZ accent. Mr Tillick was able to switch Siri on in settings and she could tweet. Other early NZ downloaders report they have also successfully enabled the speech-to-tweet feature.
Siri's new business directory feature – allowing you to, say, ask her about local restaurants - really is unavailable here, with no local partner enlisted.
Other new features include:
- Remind Me Later and Reply with Message options if a call comes through when you're in the car.
- A panorama option for stitching together a 28 megapixel image from individual photos.
- The ability to make Facetime video calls over a cellular network (iOS 5 offered a wi-fi option only).
- The ability to save a web page to read later.
- Folders for important contacts in Mail.
- A more Do Not Disturb function. For example, you can switch off all alerts at night, but have a call come through if someone calls twice within three minutes. Specific contacts can also be let through.
- Better organised AppStore search.
Not all features are available for older devices. Apple has a compatibility list here.
UPDATE: Twitter has been flooded complaints from iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users who say they have been unable to connecto to wi-fi networks since upgrading to iOS 6. Apple has yet to respond.
Early Kiwi adopter Jono Hale said his iPad was fine but he had a wi-fi problem with his iPhone. However, it resolved itself after about 20 minutes.
Another, Rhys Lewis (an enterprise architech with Snapper), said was struck by the wi-fi problem too, but only for about half an hour. The fact it began working lends credence to report that Apple accidentally deleted a URL from its website that iOS pings to test wi-fi. The URL has now been restored.