After months of waiting, Apple finally released iOS 6 to the masses Wednesday morning. The new operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as promised, comes with more than 200 new features for users to use and discover, including an all-new Maps application, the Passbook for organizing and using coupons, movie and transportation passes and gift cards, new enhancements to Siri, and so much more.
With improvements made in almost every application across the operating system, iOS 6 may seem like a no-brainer. By now, thousands of customers are surely hooked up to their networks downloading the new software as we speak, but users may want to hold off from downloading iOS 6 for a couple of key reasons:
Early Birds Get The Worms: Every time an operating system makes a major leap to a X.0.0 system, the update is always prone to bugs (see: OS X Mountain Lion). While iOS is one of the most secure operating systems available, the new release of iOS 6 is likely subject to errors like automatic app shutdowns, slow loading times and incompatibilities. After trying out each new feature on the phone, the features seem to work okay, but they do work a little bit slowly. If you’re worried about the performance of your phone after updating to a new operating system, it may be a good idea to wait until Apple releases more secure updates across the platform.
The Death Of Google Maps: After texting and calling, the Maps application might be the single most used iPhone application. Traditionally, the application was always powered by Google, but that’s no longer the case in iOS 6. For the latest upgrade, Apple decided to build its own proprietary Maps application, built from the carcasses of three mapping companies it acquired over the past few years.
If you assumed Apple would make a Google Maps clone, you assumed wrong. The new Maps application has many useful tools like turn-by-turn navigation, 2D and 3D maps and a beautiful Flyover mode, but it’s missing several key functions from Google Maps, including transit times (sorry citydwellers), but more importantly, local search (sorry small business owners). Not only is search limited to locations registered with Yelp, but discovering new places isn’t so easy either. Users must search with exact titles and spellings to find locations, which unfortunately leaves out a vast number of otherwise-applicable businesses. For instance, in iOS 6, when searching for “pizza,” you better hope the restaurant you want has “pizza” in the name or you’re out of luck.
Google Maps wasn’t perfect, but it was significantly better at helping users find what they need to find and go where they need to go than what Apple has delivered in iOS 6. Apple Maps will surely get updates from Cupertino and third-party companies pitching in, but as of launch day, it’s nowhere close to full readiness (see why here). Apple Maps could be the one key reason to stick with iOS 5.
Besides these two main issues – bugs and maps – users have few other reasons to wait to upgrade. However, if you are afraid of these issues – and you should be – you’ll wait out until Apple releases a fix or two to the mobile platform.
Having played with iOS 6 for several hours now, the system works as promised for the most part. Applications are enhanced and polished, Siri has gotten wicked smart, and the additions of Passbook and deeper Facebook integration are certainly welcome. There are so many other features to discover, but if the features we most rely on (location services and overall usability) can’t work, then it’s important to be cautious when upgrading. iOS 6 is a brilliant platform, but there is nothing really wrong with iOS 5.