Today Apple announced a major update to it’s mobile operating system iOS. I’ve been using iOS 6 Beta for the past 3 months on my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 and I have to say it does improve upon some of the core apps that have shipped since the first iPhone. It also comes with one new app and many improved features.
The user interface (UIKit) has gotten an update in how it handles the color of the system and app title bar. Now when an app has a colored title bar the system bar gets a slightly darker shade of the same color.
For years we have had a Google powered Maps app. Now it’s powered by TomTom data and Apple’s new maps. With the brand new maps app, Apple has also included a navigation feature for getting directions. Having used TomTom’s own navigation app and MotionX, it’s a joy using Maps navigation. The refresh rate is almost un-noticeable because the animation is smooth. Although they still have to work on the data side of things (I did get lost in the country one time with it.), overall a great new version of the Maps app.
A nice improvement to Photostreams is also packed into iOS 6 for touch devices and AppleTV. I’m going to skip over the comments and notifications, I don’t think Apple wants to replace Facebook or anything with these basic features.
My main AppleTV has always been set to my Photostream, but with all the screen-shots and wallpaper I save to my camera roll the more gunk-ed up my Photostream gets. With Shared Photostreams I can finally make a screen-saver Photostream and put all the photos I want on it instead of the whole camera roll.
The new app in iOS 6 that will hopefully make your wallet fit in a Slimmy, clip or rubber band. Passbook is the first step to eliminating your physical wallet.
My first use case was at Best Buy, I was helping a friend out with a Mac purchase (there are no Apple Stores in Bend, OR) and I picked up some Sodastream flavors, once I got to checkout the guy asked for my rewards zone card, I quickly pulled out my phone and parked it on his register with my Rewards Zone card open in Passbook. He pulled out his scanner and tried scanning the bar-code on the card, but it was a different type of bar-code, so he manually entered in the member number. I think it will be interesting to see what Best Buy actually releases for an official Passbook card because I don’t think the regular bar-codes are supported.
Second use case was at the local theater. Same thing happened, bar-code wouldn’t scan and the employee had to enter the number manually. With that in mind, I think the world has some adjusting to do before we can all ditch our cards, but as long as the ID number is on your Passbook card you always have that to fall back on.
There are a couple things that will ruin your battery life with Passbook, location access and automatic updates for cards. For some reason I would use up a whole charge within 4 hours. This was enough of a setback for me to turn all that extra functionality off.
Would be useful if my carrier AT&T didn’t block over cellular. However it performs perfectly if it’s enabled.
Do Not Disturb blocks all those annoying calls and notifications at night, or whenever you switch it on. There was only one time where an unknown caller called me twice in my area after Do Not Disturb had been turned on, so I know it works great.
Attachments are more accessible inside the Mail app, something I’ve wanting for years. People just think that way about VIP contacts seems like a Google
This could be called the “back to our roots” update by improving the core apps once again, and by adding Passbook, which is a big leap forward even if the world isn’t ready for it, I suspect it will get more attention over the next year.