Look, I think everyone was expecting a little more from iOS 6. There are plenty of features Apple didn’t add to the latest version of its mobile operating system. I could literally go on and on about how there aren’t automatic app updates in the background, or how you still can’t access Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from the Notification Center (although Bluetooth is now on the first page of settings making it a little easier), or how apps are still represented by static icons instead of some form of widgets. The fact is, however, that just from using iOS 6 since it was available for developers yesterday afternoon, the entire OS feels even more cohesive, more thought out, and much tighter than anything Android has delivered.
The gap has widened even further between iOS and Android, and iOS 6 truly makes Android feel like some high school science project on acid that takes place in TRON. Apple’s mobile OS is meticulously thought out, and almost every small feature we’ve been asking for has been added — even ones we didn’t ask for.
Do Not Disturb is a life saver! My iPad on the dock doesn’t light up my bedroom every three minutes at night anymore. Siri on the iPad is an incredibly welcome addition, performing just as well (if not better) than the iPhone 4S. In fact, I’d even say that iOS 6 on the iPad makes the iPad feel more useful to me, and more desktop-like.
Turn by turn navigation is great and the new 3D maps are stunning, though they aren’t available in many places yet. Multiple signatures and VIP in Mail are welcome additions, and here’s something I just noticed earlier this morning… when you update apps from the App Store, the OS keeps you on the app page instead of dumping you out to your home screen — finally.
Safari’s iCloud tabs are incredibly useful, built-in Facebook support works great, and Apple has finally unified Apple IDs and phone numbers, making iMessage that much more useful as an IM replacement.
All in all, there are more than 200 new features in iOS 6 — here are a few you might have missed from yesterday’s keynote:
- Decline an incoming call with a pre-written text message letting the caller know you’ll message them in a few minutes
- FaceTime over cellular
- Offline reading list
- Ability to upload photos from Safari to websites
- Shared photo streams
- Insert photos of videos directly into emails
- Redesigned App Store and iTunes store
- Lost mode for iOS devices
- Personal dictionary syncs with iCloud
- Game Center challenges
- New features for China
- Improved privacy controls with permission to use contacts
- Custom vibration for alerts
- Ability to use a song as an alarm
- New sharing menu
- Location reminders for iPad