My Favorite Things About iOS 6

Having used every version of iOS and Android since inception, I am always very excited to jump on the latest and greatest smartphone operating system.  You see, operating systems say as much about a company and about the future as it says about what’s important now.  While this isn’t a deep analysis on OS mind reading, I wanted to share with you my initial thoughts on Apple’s iOS 6 for the iPhone and iPad.

There are elements about  Android and iOS that I like.  None of these operating systems is perfect, but each has things that I really like and is valuable to its different kinds of users.  iOS 6 is no different in that there are certain things I really like about it.

  1. Do Not Disturb: Ironically, my favorite thing about iOS 6 isn’t about what it enables me to do, but what it enables me not to do.  My phone is my alarm clock and it was very annoying at 2am when it would start buzzing due to someone in China posting on my Google+ wall or getting other notofocations.  Well, no more.. one button means bliss.
  2. VIP inbox: This is a special sort on important people.  Like many, I get about 200 emails a day but refuse to let it run my life.  The VIP mail “sort” enables me to instantly see the most important messages from the most important people, like my wife.  And clients, of course.
  3. Improved Message Sync– I have two iPads and my iPhone so iMessage synchronization is key.  iOS 5 was a bit spotty, but iOS 6 has been spot on so far.  Thank you Apple.
  4. Reply with Message: Like many, my work day includes bouncing between calls, desk time, and driving.  When I’m on a  call and a client calls, I want them to know that I will get right back to them.  With “Reply with Message”, its only two presses and I can SMS and message I like.
  5. Facebook Integration: Instead of opening the Facebook app to share something, it is now built into the core of the OS. This means saving time, clicks, and contacts integration.  Even though Android and webOS had this for a long time, it still doesn’t diminish it as a good feature.
  6. Shared Photo Streams- This will be huge in my family as almost everyone in the family has an iPhone or iPod and we love sharing pictures.  I will probably use this for more personal photo sharing versus pulling me away from Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
What about Maps, Siri, Camera, and Passbook?
Apple made some changes to Maps, Siri and added a new app called Passbook.
  • Maps- I use both an Android and iOS phone (sometimes Windows Phone) at the same time to always compare and contrast the experiences.  I’ve always been happy with the maps on Android devices as it had turn by turn directions that were very accurate.  The Apple maps function so far has worked so-so (my kid’s school missing) in my little town of Austin and I have a heard a lot of chatter about others having some issues. Steve Wildstrom does a good job of covering some of the Apple maps challenges here.
  • Panorama Mode- I’ve been taking panoramic pictures for a long time.  Before adding the feature ti iOS 6, I just used Microsoft’s Photosynth app that’s been available in the App Store  for a long time.
  • Siri- There has been a lot of research done that says on the whole mainstream consumers are happy with Siri.  In my n=1 research, I have never been thrilled with Siri’s ability to determine what I am saying.  I haven’t yet noticed a sharp improvement in this capability, either, but others, like Tim Bajarin, have.  My bar is set quite high as I am in the car over two hours a day and want to do a lot of voice texting and dictation. Because of Siri’s lack of accuracy with my voice, I am not planning on using the additional database capabilities like sports score, movie times and restaurant reservations.  But I am sure others will love it.
  • Passbook- Think of Passbook as the one digital place for all those annoying paper items or bonus and discount cards that I always manage to misplace.  Apple says you can put airline tickets, movie tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and more.  I am very excited about this feature as I am paperless.  Unfortunately I cannot get it to work, and as of this writing, I keep getting error messages.  I’m not the only one with this challenge as I have seen many Twitter posts on the same thing.I have researched this and don’t have a fix yet, but will update this as soon as I do.
All in all, I am happy with iOS 6 on my iPhone 4s.  No, it’s not “swing me around the room” amazing, but it didn’t have to be for me to still like iOS.  I prefer Android’s open content sharing mechanisms, notifications, and live pages more than what iOS has to offer, but not enough to switch my primary device off of my iPhone.